Catholic Bishops Urge INEC to Deploy Technology Transparently for 2023 Elections 

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Ahead of next year’s general election, Catholic bishops have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that technology is transparently deployed in order to increase the confidence of the people in the electoral process.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its second plenary meeting for 2022 held in Orlu, Imo State, the bishops under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said that as laudable as the Electoral Bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari maybe, INEC needs to implement it in a transparent way.

“2023 general elections are fast approaching. We commend the National Assembly and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for enacting and signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022. We acknowledge the President’s commitment to ensuring a level playing ground for all candidates in the elections. 

“Furthermore, we commend INEC for its innovations, especially in the area of technology, to ensure free, fair and credible elections. We, however, enjoin the commission to ensure that this technology is transparently deployed, in order to increase the confidence of the people in the electoral process,” it said.

The clergymen also condemned as unlawful and sinful all forms of vote selling and buying and advised all politicians and voters to refrain from doing so. 

While describing the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since February 14, 2022 as unacceptable, the bishops urged the federal government and ASUU to find a quicker and better way of resolving the matters under contention so that public universities will re-open.

They said that resorting to courts may not be the best and fastest way to solve the problem. 

Speaking on concerns over the adoption of same faith candidates by one of the political parties, the bishops said: “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. 

“We, therefore, renew our call on all our faithful, laity and clergy alike, to come out en masse to vote for people of unassailable integrity, who have the good character, capacity and track record to lead our nation out of the present socio-political and economic doldrums, irrespective of party, religious and ethnic affiliations. It is through the right political choices that our current situation can be ameliorated.”

In the communiqué, the CBCN decried the worsening state of insecurity in the country as well as activities of terrorists and insurgents, kidnappers and bandits.

The bishops further accused the federal government of not living up to its duties with regard to security. 

“We observe that even when suspects have been arrested, there is not even diligent prosecution of the culprits of these nefarious acts, thereby leaving the citizenry helpless and despairing,” they said.

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