Nigerians need to “vote in accordance with their conscience and good judgment, ensuring that only candidates that will improve their lives are voted into power,” the Catholic Church leaders said.
They went on to caution the young people against the lure of a section of politicians who use them as thugs, assassins, and electoral violators.
To ensure maximum participation, the Catholic Church leaders in Nigeria called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “to eliminate the obstacles of high transaction costs associated with collecting the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) all over the country.”
They urged INEC to guarantee the safety of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), a process they say “will engender transparency and ensure trust in the electoral process.”
“In order to guarantee a level field of participation for all voters, INEC has a huge burden to guarantee that BVAS will work on election day in all the 176,846 polling units across the country, as well as the efficient electronic transmission of results from the polling units,” they said.
The Catholic Bishops further urged the INEC to investigate credible allegations of manipulating the electoral register in different parts of Nigeria.
“We implore INEC to investigate these allegations diligently and to ensure that to the extent that they are well-founded, anyone implicated is brought to account in a timely fashion,” they said, adding that multiple registrations happened alongside “willful and incorrect entries of voters’ information”.
They urged INEC to ensure that the necessary due diligence is observed in the accurate documentation and the cleaning up of the voters’ register.
At the January 31 press conference, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria also called on political candidates to keep off vulgarity characterized by the use of intemperate language, the issuance of threats, character assassination, and the spread of misinformation and outright falsehood about their opponents during the campaigns.
“We urge all Nigerians, especially politicians, and their agents, to be civil, decent, and respectful in their utterances as they canvass for votes and debate the country’s future,” CBCN members said.