Nigerian Prelate Hopes Citizens' Voting Rights Protected Following Election Postponement

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama Stresses Importance of Free and Fair Elections

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The president of the Nigerian Bishops Conference acknowledges that many are unhappy with elections being postponed, but has assured the faithful that efforts being made are to protect citizens and to ensure elections are fair. 

After the announcement of the postponement of presidential and legislative elections, which were to be held on Feb. 14, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said, «Several citizens are not happy with the postponement of the elections,» reported Fides.

“We hope that the postponement of the election was made with good intentions,» he stated.

The Independent Electoral Commission decided to postpone the elections for security problems, related to the violence of Boko Haram, as well as logistic problems.

«Our hope is that this decision was made with good intentions and that, after having solved the problems cited by the Commission, elections are held,» said Archbishop Kaigama.

«The Church, through the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of various dioceses,” he added, “is very active in preparing the faithful to the elections, while it is preparing to monitor the consultation with its observers.»

The president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference underscored that the Church continues to stress among the population the importance of voting and the fact that going to the polls is a right and a civic duty.

Archbishop Kaigama highlighted some activities the Church has done to contribute to the proper conduct of elections.

«In recent weeks, we have brought together different groups in order to avoid violence and electoral manipulation. We held meetings with the elders in our centers for peace, dialogue and reconciliation, present in all our dioceses,» he said.

The Nigerian prelate explained that we had other meetings with the leaders of the young, with representatives of the Electoral Commission, with members of the various security forces and finally with political party members.

He noted that the political party members agreed to sign a document in which they endeavor to ensure that elections are “free and fair.»

The archbishop concluded, saying: «The Church wants to make sure that the election results are credible and accurate, hoping that this will contribute to peace in our country.»

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