For the desired change in the country, Nigerians must vote for leaders who will be true patriots and servants of the people, the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have said.
The Bishops also advised the electorate to ensure that whoever would lead the country must be responsive to the security and welfare needs of all Nigerians without discrimination.
This advice was contained in a communiqué made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti by Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye after the Bishop’s conference held in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The conference, which had as its theme: “Nigeria: Now is the time of Grace”, was attended by the Bishops from the Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, and Ondo.
Other bishops in attendance at the meeting were those from Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo diocese.
“We Bishops fully identify with the suffering and pains of all Nigerians over these years, while enduring numerous threats to security of life and property, crippling economic downturn and bad political leadership.
“We therefore urge all eligible Nigerians to secure their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and vote in the elections according to their conscience, without fear, to secure their own future and that of their children,” the communiqué, signed by the President, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Secretary, Most Rev. John Oyejola, said.
The bishops decried the state of security in the country and condemned the dastardly murder of yet another priest, Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi of the Catholic Diocese of Minna, saying “it is not yet time for celebration.”
They commended the governors of the South-West region for setting up and sustaining the Amotekun Corps and others, which according to them had led to the relatively improved security situation in states in the zone.
The bishops, however, urged the government to further strengthen the security architecture by adopting technology to safeguard lives and properties of its citizens.
“Nigerians have a right to enjoy free and safe movement wherever they live and go and it is the sacred duty of government to make this possible.
“It is never too late to do the right thing, because adequate security of life will have an impact on the integrity of the forthcoming general elections,” the bishops said.
The clergymen exhorted all politicians and electoral umpire from the Federal to the grassroots levels, to demonstrate nobility and fairness in their speech and actions to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in February.
The bishops said that to succeed, Nigerians must be disciplined, obey the law, work and pray, and encouraged the youths who are working hard to deliver free and fair elections in February to persevere.
“Hope does not fail us. We call on all Nigerians to sustain hope by relying on the unchanging promise of God, which says ‘do not be afraid’ for I am with you,” the bishops advised. nan.