Redeem Your Image Today, Catholic Bishops Tasks INEC

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

In view of the widespread complaints that trailed the conduct of the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to seize the opportunity of the governorship and state Assembly elections to redeem its damaged reputation.

The Archbishop gave this charge yesterday at the St Joseph Cathedral, Aguleri, during the Holy Mass for the canonical erection of the new Diocese of Aguleri and the installation of the new bishop, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh.

According to a statement by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the prelate took a swipe on INEC for “betraying the trust of Nigerians during the Presidential elections last month,” noting that the failure of the body to use the BIVAS machine “gave room for allegations that results were manipulated, doctored and compromised.” 

Ahead of today’s governorship and other elections, the Archbishop charged that “this is not the time for lame excuses about logistics, technical glitches and the like. 

INEC must obey its own rules and keep its promise of uploading the results from the polling units to its servers in real time.”

In view of the above, the Metropolitan of Owerri province encouraged Nigerians to “troop out en masse to exercise their franchise as they look forward to the dawn of a new Nigeria.” 

“Please ensure that your votes are properly counted and the results of your polling units are uploaded to INEC Result Viewing (iREV) portal immediately after collation,” he counselled.

Furthermore, the President of CBCN appealed to security agents in the country to provide security and safety for everyone and secure the ballot boxes and ballot papers during and after the upcoming elections.” They must be up and doing, non-partisan and stop hoodlums and thugs from threatening and attacking voters.

For the judges of the land, as high priests in the sacred temples of justice before whom election matters are brought, Archbishop Ugorji urged them to “dispense justice impartially, professionally, expeditiously, and without fear or favour,” since “the collective will of Nigerians is sacred and must not be subverted in any way.”

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