Consider candidates’ track record, Catholic bishops urge Nigerians
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The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has urged Nigerians to vote for people of impregnable integrity, who have the good character, capacity, and track record to solve the country’s socio-political and economic challenges irrespective of party, religious and ethnic affiliations in the 2023 general elections.
The bishops, who said “it is through the right political choices that our current situation can be ameliorated”, lauded the National Assembly and President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), “for enacting and signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022”.
They also hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission “for its innovations, especially in the area of technology to ensure free, fair, and credible elections. We, however, enjoin the commission to ensure that this technology is transparently deployed to increase the confidence of the people in the electoral process,” the bishops stated.
The CBCN said these in a communiqué issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Sacred Heart Pastoral/Retreat Centre, Orlu, Imo State on 16th September 2022 signed by its President, Most Rev Lucius Ugorji, and Secretary, Most Rev. Donatus Ogun.
According to the resolutions, made available in Ado Ekiti, on Sunday, by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Rev Felix Ajakaye, the clergymen advised the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to shift grounds to resolve the ongoing strike, saying, “We believe that a resort to courts may not be the best and fastest way to solve the problem”.
The bishops, who lamented the poverty and hunger in the country allegedly due to mismanagement and a failing economy with an ever-increasing debt burden, called on governments “to make adequate policies and provide the enabling environment for the creation of more jobs by both the government and the private sector. This would surely reduce the level of poverty, insecurity and unrest in our land”.
On the 2023 elections, the CBCN said, “Politics is a noble vocation. We, therefore, encourage all politicians to uphold the values of integrity and decency. We strongly condemn as unlawful and sinful all forms of vote selling and buying and advise all politicians and voters to refrain from doing so.
“While it is not our responsibility as religious leaders to dictate to political parties the choices of their presidential, vice presidential and other candidates, we have the duty to advise the citizenry to bear in mind the implications of these choices while electing the next set of leaders.
“We, therefore, renew our call on all our faithful, laity and clergy alike, to come out en masse to vote for people of unassailable integrity, who have the good character, capacity and track record to lead our nation out of the present socio-political and economic doldrums, irrespective of party, religious and ethnic affiliations”.
They also urged Buhari to step up efforts in the fight against insecurity, saying “attacks on travellers and worshippers in churches and other places of worship have become too frequent. An instance is the recent mass shooting and bombing attacks on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, in which 41 worshippers were killed and 70 grievously injured.
“Regrettably, the government has not lived up to its duties with regard to security. We observe that even when suspects have been arrested, there is no even diligent prosecution of the culprits of these nefarious acts, thereby leaving the citizenry helpless and despairing”.
“While we continue to call on civil authorities to stand up to their constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of Nigerians, we enjoin all to strengthen security measures in their homes and institutions. We call on all citizens to be law-abiding, vigilant, and to shun all forms of violence and criminality,” they said.