The Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province say the 2023 general elections offer Nigerians the opportunity to elect new leaders, who have integrity, goodwill and the fear of God.
This was contained in a communique issued in Ibadan, jointly signed by the Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Most Rev. John Oyejola and which was made available to Journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
The Bishops, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo dioceses urged eligible Nigerians to secure their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, and vote in the forthcoming elections according to their consciences, without fear.
The clerics also bemoaned the worsening cases of insecurity, where Catholic Priests were being killed and kidnapped, and called on the government to rise up to its responsibilities in safeguarding life and property.
The communique read in part, “Nigerians now is the time to elect leaders at all levels who have integrity, goodwill and the fear of God, who will truly serve the nation rather than help themselves to her vast resources and status for their private interests.
“We, therefore, urge all eligible Nigerians to secure their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and vote in the elections according to their consciences, without fear, in order to secure their own future and that of their children.
“We are painfully aware that the priest has suffered the fate of many other Nigerians, some, sadly unannounced. We urge the authorities to bolster existing security measures to safeguard life and property, to add new technology and to apprehend and decimate those who engage in such criminal activities in our region and all over the country.
“At this historical moment for Nigeria, we exhort all Nigerian politicians and electoral umpires from the Federal to the grassroots levels to ensure nobility and fairness in their speech and actions towards free, fair, and peaceful elections in February.
“We encourage all, especially the youths, who are working hard to deliver free and fair elections, and who are raising awareness about participation in the general elections, come February 2023. We ask them to persevere. We urge them not to be intimidated by the daunting challenges that seem to surround the elections.”