Compassion, Discipline, among Qualities of Eligible Governor: Nigerian Christian Leaders

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Christian leaders in Nigeria’s Niger State have, in a collective statement, outlined qualities of political candidates eligible for the position of governor, including a demonstration of compassion and discipline as well as “a credible lifestyle”. 

In their Monday, March 13 collective statement, members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Niger State say that eligible gubernatorial candidates need to be able to “guarantee internal security, religious neutrality, and enforcement of fundamental rights” and ensure fairness “in appointments”.

They outline the time for the polls that were postponed by a week, from March 11 to March 18, saying, “The Governorship and State House of Assembly elections will take place this weekend and we want to enjoin everyone not to be discouraged by the outcome of the February 25th polls but to come out this week to vote in the Candidates who have respect for the Body of Christ.”

CAN members in Niger State add, “The candidate must be compassionate, disciplined and live a credible lifestyle; must not be cultists, religious fanatics, or involved in illicit drugs and must not have a relationship with bandits and thugs.”

“Candidates to be voted for should also be those who would ensure development and the peaceful co-existence of the people,” Christian leaders in the Nigerian State further say, adding, “We enjoin everyone to vote for candidates of your choice, who must ensure quality education and free healthcare for the people.”


The leaders of the Christian entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) further say, “The preferred candidates must be those who can guarantee internal security, religious neutrality, and enforcement of fundamental rights and will be fair in appointments.”

They also call upon the electorate in Niger State to “vote for the candidates who have shown a sense of belonging to all faith in the state, because this is the time to look out for those who have respect for the body of Christ as a show of equity, fairness, partnership and peaceful coexistence in the state.”

On March 8, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the postponement of the country’s March 11 election of new governors for 28 of the 36 States, citing challenges in logistics, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“This decision has not been taken lightly but it is necessary to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections,” INEC spokesman, Festus Okoye, said in a statement referencing the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines that were used during the February 25 voting for the President and members of the National Assembly, and the need to reconfigure them.

The election of governors that is part of Nigeria’s general elections for four-year single terms for major political positions in Africa’s most populous nation is to take place on Saturday, March 18.

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In a statement issued March 10, CAN members in Kaduna State and Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) noted with concern that just days before “the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections, the political atmosphere is overheated even much more than we experienced in the run-off to the February 25, 2023 elections.”

The Christian and Muslim leaders in Kaduna State called on the electorate in Nigeria to participate in the March 18 gubernatorial poll, to “freely decide our common destiny as far as leadership of our state in the next four years is concerned.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.