By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, has said competence should be the main focus of Nigerians, as they go to the polls to choose a new President for the nation in 2023.
CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, who said this in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the first plenary of the Conference in 2022 held in Abuja on Sunday, urged Nigerians to resist the temptation of falling into a divisive political campaign ahead of next year’s general elections.
He said, “We cannot run away from the fact that very often a people get the kind of Government they deserve. Yes, this is true. The numbers of Nigerians who vote are very few. For those who do not vote, they have already voted by allowing a few to determine the future of the majority. The argument that INEC or other agents may not make our votes count is no longer acceptable. We must exercise our right to vote and then speak to protect our vote.
“We call on all Nigerians to get their Permanent Voters’ Card, and get ready to vote according to their personal conviction of who is capable to lead Nigeria or the State to a better life. Vote for those who can ensure the security of life and property. Vote for those who have shown that they have the capacity to unite us as a people. Vote for people who possess the capacity to make Nigeria into industrial hub for Africa. Vote for people who can make Nigeria a land of opportunity for all. Vote for people who can make our dreams come to life. Nigerians must resist the temptation of falling into a divisive political campaign.”
Akubeze also said that the state of the nation is such that the bishops have realised that in spite of the people’s failures, particularly the country’s leadership, God was still at work in the land. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to seek the unity of the nation which, according to him, must precede sustainable peace.
“We are also united in our common search for a nation that cares for everyone. We are united in our common dream for a Nigeria that provides opportunities for everyone. We are united in praying and working for a Nigeria where Government at all levels are accountable to the people who gave them power. We are united in our yearning and desire for a Nigeria with strong institutions. We are all united in looking forward to a Nigeria that will be audacious enough to ensure that our constitution reflects our common aspiration to live in unity, peace and justice. We are united in seeking a constitution that will provide for the needs of every Nigeria,” the CBCN said.
The Catholic Bishops added that the year 2023 offers Nigerians another opportunity to fix what they got wrong in the past, especially in their participation in the political life of the nation.
According to Akubeze, “We have failed God as individuals who allow corruption to deprive us of living the good life God has given to us. We have failed God by allowing insecurity and criminality to thrive.”