The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has called on Nigerians to vote wisely, choosing good and capable candidates at all levels.
According to them, “our votes are precious; we must use them well.”
The CBCN made the submission in a communiqué issued at the end of their 2023 first plenary meeting held at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja.
The document was co-signed by the President of CBCN, Archbishop Lucius Ugorji, and Secretary, Bishop Donatus Ogun.
“This is now the time to reject evil, greater or lesser, and wisely choose good and capable candidates at all levels. Our votes are precious; we must use them well.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria also warned that any candidate in the forthcoming general elections with questionable character would not work for the common good of the electorate.
According to the Bishops, politicians with evil intentions could in no way possess a good intentions for the people and the development of the nation.
The communique said, “These upcoming elections provide us with yet another opportunity in our national history to choose leaders capable of governing for the common good.
“We encourage all eligible citizens to come out en masse to vote for God-fearing, honest, vibrant, and transparent leaders for a better Nigeria.”
The clerics called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its officials to ensure that the newly-adopted technologies for accreditation, transmission and collation of results, are not manipulated to give false results.
“We equally call on the law enforcement agents, whose primary duty is to enforce law and order and ensure the protection of persons and materials during the elections, to efficiently and professionally carry out their responsibilities without fear, favour, or partiality.
“In the same manner, we advise our youths not to allow themselves to be used as thugs and agents of disruption and violence before, during, and after the elections.
“We, at the same time, enjoin voters to ensure that proper counting is done before the transmission of the results,” the communique read.
The Bishops also condemned the practice of vote-buying and selling; noting that it is aimed at frustrating and compromising the free choice of the people.
“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 said.
The CBCN also told all judges and lawyers to see themselves as ministers in the temple of truth and justice, and work to make the judiciary the ‘last hope of the common man’