Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has faulted the outcome of the 2019 general elections, insisting challenges that affected the credibility of the polls were as a result of weak electoral laws which make the conduct of free and fair elections impossible.
The bishops said that weakness of the Electoral Act, in some cases, created several lacunae which evil-minded politicians exploited to their own advantage.
They were unhappy that even where the rules were clear, they were never adhered to, thus making it difficult for a credible process that would produce winners genuinely elected by the people.
The Catholic bishops, in a communique released at the end of their first plenary meeting in Abuja, on Friday, said the 2019 general elections fell totally short of global expectations, and it was an indication that Nigeria was moving backward electorally.
The communique, jointly signed by CBCN President and Secretary, Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze and Camillus Raymond, respectively, noted that the voter apathy that characterised the governorship and state houses of Assembly elections was not unconnected with the violence, electoral malpractices and unnecessary militarisation of the electoral process.
The communique added: “All these eroded people’s confidence in the electoral process. We, thus, demand that the government acknowledge the inadequacies that characterised the 2019 elections and embark on a course for redress.
“We equally suggest that government enacts, endorses and implements laws and policies that would ensure free, fair and credible elections in the future,” the bishops said.
Meanwhile, the clerics have expressed worry at the persistent devaluation of human lives in some parts of Kaduna, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Edo, Rivers, Zamfara, Adamawa, and other states, for political or economic reasons.
They were afraid that the development could pose an existential threat to the fragile peace and unity in Nigeria.