The Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), the Very Reverend Father Zacharia Samjumi; other CSN members; and journalists in a group photograph on the sidelines of Tuesday 2023 Media Parley organised by the Catholic Church in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) … Tuesday.
Disturbed by the muckraking that that has shadowed the campaigns, exactly 26 days to the commencement of voting in Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) took it upon itself Tuesday to help deescalate the prevailing tense atmosphere in parts of the country ahead of the polls.
The CSN asked politicians and their agents to be civil and respectful in their utterances while canvassing the electorate for votes ahead of the general elections.
The Secretary General of CSN, the Very Reverend Father Zacharia Samjumi, made the call while addressing journalists at the 2023 Media Parley organised by the Catholic Church.
He charged political parties to understand that elections “are not do-or-die affairs”.
Samjumi said that rather they should market their respective party’s agenda and candidate’s manifesto through issue-based campaigns and discipline of language.
“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 characterised by the use of intemperate language.
“Also, 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,” the CSN Scribe said.
Samjumi told Nigerians that the period of the elections was a very opportune moment that must be properly used.
He said that better life awaits Nigerians if they did the right thing in these elections.
“To this end, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have released a Pastoral letter on the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, focusing on the decorum and discipline required for the free, fair and credible conduct of these elections.
“In their document, the Bishops reminded all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria that democracy cannot thrive in any society where the rule of law is frequently breached.
“We, therefore, call on all Nigerians, irrespective of creed or tribe, who are of voting age and have registered, to fully participate in the electoral process.
“The process which includes registering, collecting their Permanent Voter Card (PVC), voting and protecting their votes to ensure they count,” he said.
He said that it was only with the power of the ballot that Nigerians could engender the true progress needed in the country.
He urged Nigerians to desist from selling their votes; rather they should vote by their conscience and good judgment, ensuring that only candidates that would improve their lives were voted into power.
“Youths should reject being used as thugs, assassins and electoral violators.
“We call on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to eliminate the obstacles of high transaction costs associated with collecting the PVCs all over the country.
“To guarantee a level field of participation for all voters, INEC has a huge burden to guarantee that BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System) 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. This will engender transparency and ensure trust in the electoral process.
“We are aware of allegations of manipulating the electoral register in different parts of Nigeria. We implore INEC to investigate these allegations diligently, and anyone implicated is brought to account in a timely fashion.
“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 of the voters’ register,” he said.
On the judiciary, Samjumi called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to make an example of judges who abused or will abuse judicial powers in the course of this election cycle.
He disclosed that the first Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria for 2023 would
hold from February 11 6o February 17 at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, and it would focus on the theme: Citizens’ Participation in Good Governance in Nigeria.
Earlier, the National Director of Social Communications, Reverend Father Michael Umoh, had thanked all journalists for the annual media parley.
He advised them to hold up to the ethnics of journalism, as, according to him, that was their own way of contributing to a positive society.
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