Catholic Bishops, Priests in Nigeria Commit to Creating Awareness ahead of 2023 Elections

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Credit: CBCN

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and those of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA) have jointly expressed their commitment to creating as much political awareness as possible at the grassroots level to encourage full participation of the electorate in the country’s elections slated for 25 February 2023.

In a set of resolutions that the members of CBCN end NCDPA came up with at the end of their September 9 interactive meeting at the Sacred Heart Pastoral/Retreat Center in the Diocese of Orlu, the Priests and Bishops underlined the need for Nigerians to fully participate in political issues for the country’s “present situation” to change for the better.

“We shall work to increase the level and quality of political awareness among our people so that all may realize that only through right political choices can our present situation be ameliorated,” the members of CBCN and NCDPA say in a statement that was shared with ACI Africa on Friday, September 16.

The Priests and Bishops whose deliberations were guided by the theme, “Political Consciousness for Effective Choice of Political Leaders in Nigeria”, also asked novices in politics to take up political positions in the country’s political elections, and not to leave all seats to those they described as “career politicians.”

“Given that politics, properly understood, is the pursuit of the common good of the citizenry, we commit ourselves to encouraging every adult Nigerian to participate actively in it rather than leave it to career politicians alone,” they said.


The Catholic Church leaders in the West African nation also pledged to use the Church’s resources and structures, including the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), and the Catholic Social Teaching to mobilize everyone, especially at the grassroots to fully participate in the country’s electoral process.

They also resolved to stand with the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation in their bid to choose the right leaders, and in their duty to hold such leaders accountable.

Expressing their closeness with the Nigerian youth, the members of CBCN and NCDPA said, “We shall continue to do all we can to reassure our youth of our closeness to them. While we understand their anger, share in their concern, frustration and disappointment, we appeal to all to eschew violence both in words and action.”

In the set of resolutions that were signed by the Chairman of CBCN’s Church & Society Department, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, and Fr. John Bosco Ezehi who is the President of NCDPA, the Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria note that they would work towards ensuring that divisive politics has no space in the West African country.

“We shall constantly remind our people to look beyond divisive issues and political affiliations and choose rather people with records of integrity, honesty, accountability, selfless service, judicious management of public resources and closeness to the people,” they said, and added that they would also ensure that the sacredness of the pulpit is guarded against use for political campaign.

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The members of CBCN and NCDPA acknowledged the provisions of canon 287 & 2, which prohibits Priests from participating in partisan politics, and underlined, however, the need for members of the Clergy to ensure that the faithful are well educated and guided to fulfill their responsibility in the political arena.

Highlighting the centrality of prayer in the country’s electioneering period, the Catholic Church leaders said, “We shall continue to uphold prayer and fasting as our ultimate source of strength and as the tools for the realization of the above resolutions and the betterment of Nigeria. We invite the people of God to do the same.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.