2015 Elections: Catholic Church to deploy 4889 observers in 23 states

John Cardinal Onaiyekan

The Catholic Church would be deploying 4889 observers in 23 States of the country for the forthcoming general elections.

The Executive Secretary of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, said this during a press briefing on Friday in Abuja where he expressed fears of possible outbreak of violence.

Read full press statement below

PRESS STATEMENT URGING NIGERIANS TO PREPARE TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF POSSIBLE OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE DURING THE FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS BY THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF CARITAS NIGERIA AND NATIONAL SECRETARY OF JDPC EVARISTUS BASSEY, CATHOLIC SECRETARIAT OF NIGERIA ON THE 30TH OF JANUARY 2015

“Gentlemen of the Press, this press statement is being issued in my capacity as the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria who is also responsible for coordinating the JDPC groups within the country. Caritas Nigeria is the relief and development agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria while Justice Development and Peace Committee at the national level is the advocacy organ of the Conference.

As you may know there are several forms of humanitarian crises already brewing in Nigeria: There is the silent Sahel food crisis affecting the food and nutrition needs of those states in the Sahel region like Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe etc; there is the post-flood humanitarian crisis, with many still to recover their livelihoods even after billions of naira were collected; there is the potential Niger Delta crisis which could erupt anytime, and there is the mother of all humanitarian crises caused by Boko Haram which has led to the greatest displacements and miseries since the civil war.

On top of all these are the potential dangers and humanitarian emergencies that may arise because of the already charged presidential elections. From our discussions with our partners in some parts of the country, the certain towns and cities are already so charged that potentially lives and properties are not safe, depending on the outcome of the elections.

It does appear that a predetermined outcome for the elections is demanded by some groups that no matter how free and fair it is, if it does not suit them, they would resort to violence that could lead to loss of lives.

Consequently at a Contingency Planning meeting for possible elections violence attended by JDPC representatives from volatile states, we resolved the following:

Preventive Measures:

 Church and Mosque leaders should intensify sensitization of their members to avoid violence whatever the outcome of the elections

 Clergymen themselves must avoid being inciting and partisan during their sermons

 Clergymen should admonish their members against inciting and abusive language in the social media

 Traditional leaders should hold meetings with youth leaders on the need for peaceful conduct during and after the elections

 Parents and elderly relatives should call their wards and warn them not to be used as instruments of violence by politicians

 Citizens should be aware that during voting there will be a card reader that would match the thump print on the permanent voter card with that of the holder; it is therefore useless to collect other people’s voter cards

 Citizens should not rely on the assurances of security agencies alone, as the scale of violence, if it happens, may overwhelm their capacity, and therefore must be extra vigilant

 Citizens must pray against violence. On this note the JDPCs will be holding prayer rallies across five geo-political zones, except for the North East.

B. In the Case of a Possible outbreak of Violence we advise the following:

 Citizens in volatile places should stock essential commodities in case shops are not open for days

 Citizens should by now make arrangements for safe havens in case they have to escape from their homes; and those who can, should move their families from volatile areas, as the right to life is stronger than the right to vote

 After voting, although they could stay back to observe the counting, we advise ordinary citizens in volatile places to go home, and allow politicians to sort themselves out. The Catholic Church is deploying 4889 observers in 23 States, these observers will also stay back to observe to the end.

 We advise churches and mosques to set aside some funds to deal with possible humanitarian crises that may arise, to complement government effort which often times is inadequate and therefore unreliable; especially with the experience of the current IDPs situation. After more than four years of a humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram we should be more proficient in handling these things but government is still dropping items and going away. Up till now no proper camps.

Finally we advise Nigerians to know that politicians are all the same. If APC, everyone will move there and if PDP wins, they will move back to PDP, so it is not worth it destroying property and or especially destroying lives just because one set of politicians have lost elections.”


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  • amazing2012

    Is this part of religious duty ?

    • Naira

      Please ask me oh! Thank God they are not going to Borno state, otherwise they would observed election properly.

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  • Authority

    We cannot eradicate Godfatherism in Nigeria in as much as the outgoing governor impose is own successor. We should not let Adam Oshiomole deceive us..He imposed Obaseki on the Edo people.

  • Taiwo

    Everyone needs that extra help to be able to move to the next stage in life. Many of us attended the university, graduated at the same time in the same course and with the same class of degree but not all of of us are equally successful. If you’re a smart guy with the right educational credentials and you happen to be well connected with influential people in your field (business, politics or academy), you may find yourself advancing at a faster speed than your mates. These influential people are your “godfathers”. It is the reality of life and it happens everywhere under the sun – not only in Nigeria!.

    So, Obaseki could not have emerged as the Governor of Edo State without Oshiomole, Akeredolu could not have won the Ondo State governorship election without Buhari deploying the instrument of the state (INEC, judiciary and the police) and Ambode could not have been the governor of Lagos without Tinubu. In fact, Buhari himself, face to face with Turakin Adamawa, could have won the APC primary, let alone proceeding to win the 2015 presidential election. That, I think, was why he agreed to have the party primary held in Lagos, supervised by Tinubu, and not elsewhere. In that sense, it can be argued that Buhari is also a beneficiary of godfatherism, and the attempt by him to deny that relationship by publicly by rubbishing Tinubu is antipodal to his “strong man” posture and may partly account for why his light is “dulling” to use Soyinka’s word. If “the power of all godfathers” had waned before now, as you suggested, clearly Buhari will not be where he is today. It’s like crossing the river and cutting off the bridge.