2019 Polls: Catholic Bishops’ President Backs Reordering of Election Sequence


Paul Obi in Abuja

The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama saturday supported the clamour for a reordering of the sequence of the 2019 general elections, with the presidential elections holding last.

The National Assembly, the Presidency and President Muhammadu Buhari’s supporters have been involved in an ongoing tussle over the order of sequence of elections ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The Senate and House of Representatives last week amended the 2010 Electoral Act reordering the sequence of the 2019 elections to commence with the National Assembly polls, followed by state assembly and gubernatorial, with the presidential elections coming last.

The lawmakers had argued that reordering the sequence of elections will bring about transparency and foster credible elections, candidates and democracy, without the influence of the presidential elections having impact on the other elections.

The Presidency and Buhari’s staunch supporters believed the reordering of the sequence of elections is targeted at President Buhari.

But speaking to THISDAY, CBCN President Kaigama said it was more logical for the elections to be in an ascending order rather than having the presidential elections first.

“If they have to reorder the sequence of elections, what happened to the order where elections were done in an ascending order, namely, local government, state house of assembly, National Assembly, governorship and presidential elections? Why do they have to utter that?” he asked.

The Archbishop stated that “I prefer to see a return to that order of elections which is more logical. No one election will influence the other very seriously.

“That is just what I want to see, let us go back to what it was before, let us go back to the ascending order,” Kaigama added.

Meanwhile, the bishops are also billed to commence their plenary session for the year for the biennial conference in Abuja with the theme, ‘The Church and Entrepreneurship.’

Kaigama told THISDAY that the problem of youth unemployment in the country has become worrisome and a critical challenge to the Catholic Church, adding that, there was need to look for strategic ways in tackling the problem.
To that end, he said the bishops at the conference would be focusing on entrepreneurship, youth unemployment and recent herdsmen killings and clashes with farmers around the country.

The CBCN President explained that given the high level of unemployment among Nigerian youths, it was incumbent on the church to also look inward in addressing the challenges as opposed to relying solely on government intervention.

He stressed that the Catholic Church was also considering entrepreneurship as a critical component in solving many of the church’s problems, which will give way to over reliance on donations and goodwill.