Cardinal in Nigeria Cautions Politicians against “any form of manipulations” of 2023 Polls

John Cardinal Onaiyekan. Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

John Cardinal Onaiyekan has cautioned politicians against any attempts to manipulate the results of next month’s general elections to their favor “if not voted for”. 

In a report published Sunday, January 8, Cardinal Onaiyekan also said the polls that are scheduled to take place on February 25 will “not be business as usual as Nigerians have high expectations.”

“As regards the results of the elections, politicians should desist from any form of manipulations to their favor, if not voted for," Cardinal Onaiyekan has been quoted as saying during Holy Mass to celebrate his 40th anniversary as Bishop.

The Cardinal added, “All those who are planning to play games and scheme to rig in order to frustrate the desire of the decision of the people as regards the results of the elections, should desist from such.” 

He further expressed the fear that any form of election malpractice would jeopardize peace in Africa’s most populous nation. 


The Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 1983 as Auxiliary Bishop of Nigeria’s Ilorin Diocese underscored the need for all parties to uphold the integrity of the elections, saying, “All of them, whether they are in government or not, should desist from rigging or causing violence; they should not do it; they should allow this election to run in a free and fair way.”

“For the sake of peace, there will be serious repercussions if anybody doesn’t allow free and fair elections. It won’t be business as usual, anymore,” he said during the January 7 event, and added, “With the current yearnings of the people for a better country, the election will no longer be business as usual.”

In the January 8 report published by the Nigeria Catholic Network (NCN), the Nigerian Cardinal is said to have called upon the people of God in the West African nation to speak out against any election malpractice.

“I want Nigerians to know that they can no longer keep quiet all the time, hoping that things will change; that God will work miracles,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said. 

He said that his message sought to make politicians understand that the current mood of Nigerians will not condone rigged elections.

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He urged politicians in Nigeria to fear God as they practice politics, saying, “Even if no one asks questions, God will ask questions and He has His way of asking questions.”

In September last year, 18 candidates vying for Presidency in Nigeria launched their nationwide campaigns ahead of the general elections that will see the electorate in Africa’s most populous nation also vote for members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar, and former Vice President and Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, are among the candidates vying for the Presidency.

The election of State Governors in the West African nation has been slated for 11 March 2023.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.