The Association of Catholic Diocesan Priests in Nigeria said it would “effectively” mobilize the church faithful to go out and vote in the 2023 elections.
The president of the Archdiocesan Calabar chapter of the association, Emmanuel Duke, said so during its 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Calabar on Wednesday.
This year’s AGM is themed The Imperative of Effective Inclusive Evangelism.
Mr Duke, whose archdiocese hosts 170 priests from 56 dioceses, said the theme was appropriate as it concerned the Church and society.
He said the Church, especially the Catholic Church, would like to “change the political narrative of the 2023 general election in Nigeria” by encouraging its followers to exercise their right to vote.
According to him, “next year’s elections are like no other. We did a lot of grassroots mobilization during voter registration and we will do the same for the polls.
“We have specifically written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for enrollment units and registered anyone of voting age. We also mobilized them to collect their permanent voter cards (PVC).
“It is the same measure that we will adopt during the elections; properly mobilize everyone to exercise their frankness.
“We told them to vote according to their conscience on election days and that they should not sell their conscience for money.
“They should vote for candidates they believe to be sincere, committed and dedicated.”
The association lamented the insecurity in the country but said it would not be deterred.
Reverend Father Charles Etim, who is the chairman of the Central Organizing Committee for the meeting, said insecurity will not cause Catholic priests to shy away from the responsibility God has given them.
He stressed that even with the level of insecurity in the country, a priest should not be seen as carrying a gun.
“Our Lord carried no weapons or security guards, we believe the Lord is there to protect us,” he said.
In his address, the Association’s National President, Reverend Johnbosco Ezehi, encouraged the country’s clerics to remain fearless despite the current challenges.
He encouraged Nigerians to pray for God to lead them to elect good and responsive leaders in 2023.
Of Nigeria’s many national challenges, which do you think the next president should focus on first?
— Premium Times (@PremiumTimesng) October 5, 2022
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