2023: Archbishop Ndagoso Charge INEC on free and fair Elections says It’s Sinful to Sell or Buy votes
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Most Reverend Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso has charged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)to do all within its powers to ensure that the forthcoming general elections are conducted in a free and fair atmosphere that enables all eligible citizens to exercise their franchise. In other words, no eligible voter should be disenfranchised for lack of access to his/her permanent voter’s card (PVC) and polling stations adding that votes selling or buying it’s not only illegal according to the Constitution but a sin before God.
Delivering his Christmas message on Saturday in Kaduna, Archbishop Ndagoso lamented that “we celebrate Christmas in our country amidst fears, trepidation and anxiety caused mainly by continued acts of banditry that takes the lives of many of our compatriots on a daily basis, kidnappings for ransom, armed robbery, un-abating farmers/herders conflicts, insurgency ritual killings . As if these were not enough, we are now faced with a very high cost of living affecting all aspects of life with more and more people in the land joining the ranks of those already living below the poverty line, in abject poverty.”
‘We all know the culprits: bad leadership that encourages mediocrity, nepotism and ineptitude which in turn breeds corruption and bad governance that have earned our country the unenviable position of the world capital of the poor.”
Ndagoso appealed to all the faithful of the Archdiocese and indeed all people of goodwill to ensure that no matter how much sacrifice it requires they should ensure that they have their PVCs collected. “The distribution of the PVCs which is already in progress in INEC offices in LGAs since December 12 will last until December 22,2022 and continue at the Ward level from January 6 to 15,2023 and revert to the LGA level January 16 to 22, 2023, the distribution will continue in LGA offices” He added.
He however challenge the Church to trust in God and not to live in perpetual fear even when they do not understand fully what the future portends for them especially as we continue to struggle with insecurity, biting poverty, incessant kidnapping for ransom, killings and anxiety over the 2023 general elections.
“Like the shepherds we must have the faith and trust to face our future with confidence and determination knowing that our God is with us all time no matter how difficulty and challenging our situation maybe.”Ndagoso stressed.
On same faith tickets in 2023 general elections, he maintained that “since ours is a multi-cultural and multi religious society anyone who aspires to lead this kind of society must be one with the capacity to manage these diversities. It goes without saying that no sensitive Nigerian politician would ever contemplate running a same-tribe-ticket at certain levels of our national life because of its implications for our national cohesion. In the same vein one would have thought that given where we are with the fragile nature of national cohesion no considerate and sensitive politician would think of running a same-faith-ticket especially at the national level because of the threat it poses to our delicate national cohesion. One would have thought that prospective national public office holders at this point of our national existence would be people sensitive enough to this delicate national issue and have the foresight and ability that will enable them to harness and properly direct the various gifts, talents, energies and resources of the different regions of the country for the common good of the nation.
But as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) pointedly said in its communique at the end of its 2022 Second Plenary in Orlu: “While it is not our responsibility as religious leaders to dictate to political parties the choices of their presidential, vice presidential and other candidates, we have the duty to advise the citizenry to bear in mind the implications of these choices while electing the next set of leaders.”