2019 elections: Eligible voters must take active part                        – Bishops

All Nigerians of voting age have been enjoined to take direct interest in the electoral process.

The call was made by the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province in their communiqué after their second meeting for the year at St Paul Pastoral Centre, Aawe, Oyo State, 13-14August.

The communiqué which was jointly signed by Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, president, and Most Rev. John Oyejola, secretary, urged those who have not collected their PVCs to take this last-minute opportunity to do so.  “As the state and national elections draw near, we join our voice to all who have spoken that all Nigerians who are eligible to vote take direct interest in the electoral process. The first most important step is to obtain the Permanent Voters Card, PVC, without which no one can vote.”

The prelates commended INEC for the two weeks extension of the continuous voter registration exercise, and urged the electoral body to ensure that all alleged constraints to the collection of PVC are removed.

Politicians were also told to conduct themselves properly as the general elections draw near. “We urge politicians to stop the criminal, sinful and shameful practice of vote-buying, paying for positions, or other unlawful practices which ridicule our country in the eyes of the world. Let Nigerians all understand as well that when votes are sold and bought destroy their destiny and the future of generations to come and therefore reject such offers.”

On the gale of defections, the bishops warned the Nigerian electorate not to be carried away current crisscrossing of the politicians from party to party, as it is doubtful this infamous exercise is done in the interest of the common people. “Only the people can change this sad situation by voting during elections only for people to integrity with the right values and by holding such people accountable.” The bishops admonished the politicians to have a change of heart and make sacrifice in the interest of their people and the nation, rather than for their personal, selfish interest.

The bishops charged the Federal and State Government to find more effective ways of securing the nation as the security of life and property is the most important role of any government, while decrying the evil agenda of the promoters of the so-called Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)  to infiltrate our educational institutions and educational curricula with programmes and institutions and educational curricula thereby undermining public morality.

State Governments alongside parents and guardians were advised to be vigilant about this worrying trend. “We re-propose our new books “The Catechism on Human Life” and “A Catechism on Marriage and Family” for use in schools, public institutions, churches and families as a resource guide and a counterbalance to the excesses of CSE.”

Lastly, the bishops congratulated the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences  of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) which launched on July 29, 2018 a year-long pastoral programme to commemorate 50th anniversary of the first ever visit of a Pope to Africa in 1969 in Kampala Uganda.

SECAM has issued resources to aid prayerful thanksgiving and activities for the accomplishment of the Church’s work in evangelization, services and development so far.

All the faithful were requested to pray for the advancement of the work of God in the Church in Africa and support SECAM’s activities and programmes.

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