Vote to “engender true progress” in Nigeria: Catholic Bishops ahead of General Elections

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Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) are calling on the people of God in the West African nation to turn out in large numbers and vote in the forthcoming elections to realize the country’s “true progress”.

In a Tuesday, January 31 press conference, CBCN members said the February 25 general elections provide “a very opportune moment” that Nigerians need to use, and that better life awaits them if they do the right thing during the polls. 

“It is only with the power of the ballot that we can engender the true progress we need in this country,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said at the press conference that was organized by the National Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN).

CBCN members said that if the election is effective, the nation will have a government that will not only improve the living conditions of Nigerians but also address security challenges.

They called upon Nigerians to exercise integrity by rejecting bribes and desisting “from selling their votes.” 


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.

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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.


They reminded political parties and their respective Presidential candidates of the peace accord that they signed last September committing themselves to peaceful campaigns and urged them to call on their supporters to reject violence and thuggery.

“Elections are not a do-or-die affair, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria further said, adding, “Only a peaceful election can guarantee peaceful Nigeria we desire to live in.” 

They said they found it regrettable that the judiciary, which has grave importance to the electoral process, has experienced “many well-advertised cases of abuse of judicial power and office.”

The Catholic Bishops said it was shameful that “judicial corruption has risen as politicians seek to importune judges with unprintable sums of money to overturn the will of the people in a fair election.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council (NJC) should make an example of those judges who have abused or will abuse judicial powers in the course of this election cycle. The fate of the elections may depend on this,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said during the January 31 press conference. 

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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.