The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate allegations of manipulating electoral register in different parts of Nigeria to ensure it is well established adding that anyone found guilty should be death with accordingly.
The secretary-general of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi, made this urge during a Media meetings with the CSN community in Abuja yesterday.
The Catholic Bishops also implored the INEC to guarantee a level field of participation for all voters,the commission has huge work to do to ensure 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.
He said if that is done, it will encourage transparency and ensure trust in the electoral process.
He said, “Furthermore, it has been discovered that multiple registrations happened alongside willful and incorrect entries of voters’ information; we implore the Commission to ensure that the necessary due diligence is observed in the accurate documentation and cleaning up the voters’ register.
“Moreover, we have also observed that rather than marketing a party’s agenda and a candidate’s manifesto through value-based campaigns and discipline of language, some political parties campaigns are often characterized by the use of intemperate language, the issuance of threats, character assassination and the spread of misinformation and outright falsehood about their opponents.
“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. The political parties and candidates should understand that elections are not a do-or-die affair and remember that no one is so good enough to lead another without his/her consent.
“The candidates should stick to their signed peace accord and call on their followers to shun violence and thuggery. Only a peaceful election can guarantee the peaceful Nigeria we desire to live in. Also of grave importance to the electoral process is the judiciary’s role,” he said.
The bishops stated further that sadly, there are many well established cases of abuse of judicial power and office as judicial corruption has increased as politicians are using their status to avert justice with unprintable sums of money in order to overturn the will of the people in fair elections.
“We call on judges, lawyers, the legal profession, and, in particular, the leadership of the NBA, to rise to be counted in the 2023 elections. 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.
“The 2023 General Elections We join numerous well-meaning Nigerians in expressing hope that the 2023 elections will usher in a government that will improve the living conditions and security of the citizens. This is a very opportune moment that must be properly used; better life awaits Nigerians if we do the right thing in this election.”
Expressing concern over the state of the nation, the bishops, stressed that despite several interventions and advice to those in power from their Bishops, both as a body of the CBCN and as individuals, “our beloved country Nigeria continues to plunge deeper into the abyss.
“Every day, we keep witnessing pervasive killings of innocent citizens in their homes, churches, mosques, streets, trains, roads, and events. Kidnappings, invasion of villages and towns, wanton looting and corruption, ransom taking, raping, and territorial conquest are sadly the order of the day.
“We are saddened that Nigerians in their homeland are now at the mercy of non-state actors, who not only terrorise but also kill the citizens from the East to the West, the South, and Northern regions. Unfortunately, the people are yet to find hope in the present administration’s ability or desire to tackle the many problems that have bedeviled our dear country.”