“We vehemently continue to condemn this practice and urge all politicians and the electorate to avoid this unlawful and sinful practice and embrace the values of human dignity, integrity, and decency in order to have free, fair, and credible elections,” they say.
The Catholic Bishops in Nigeria acknowledge with appreciation the planned involvement of both national and international observers, saying their presence will safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.
They urge the observers to take note of “every trace of bias and partisanship in discharging their duties.”
CBCN members also urge the Nigerian Judiciary officials to be vigilant in executing their duties and shun abuse of power and office in the event of electoral cases. They say that judicial abuse of power erodes confidence in the Judiciary.
“We, therefore, encourage all judges and lawyers to, once again see themselves as ministers in the temple of truth and justice, and work to make the Judiciary the last hope of the common man,” the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.
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In their statement signed by CBCN president, Archbishop Ugorji and Secretary, Bishop Donatus A. Ogun, CBCN members urge the media practitioners and owners not only to seek but to speak the truth with a clear conscience.
They caution the media against sensational journalism, which they say is “presently being promoted, largely through fake news, violence, inflammatory and divisive remarks.”
“We also urge all citizens to be very discerning and circumspect about news being peddled in the social media,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say, and add, “We call upon Governments at all levels to ensure free and independent media that will help to achieve good governance and responsible citizenship.”
They say that the fact the elections will happen within the Season of Lent is an opportunity “to repent of our sins, to retreat from our evil ways, and to amend our personal and corporate lives.”
“Prominent in the Season of Lent is the demand for more intense prayer, and fasting not only from food and drink but also from the evils that destroy human and social life,’ CBCN members say.
They implore, “We pray God to bless us with leaders with integrity and nobility while we hope and work for a brighter, more peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria.”
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.