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Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria advocates Civic Education and Advocacy to reduce voters apathy


By Fabian Anawo

The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria wants religious leaders to guide the faithful in making informed choice of who they should vote for in the 2023 general elections.

They should not turn their churches or mosques to campaign hall for promoting political parties or their candidates.

The President of the group, Sir Henry Yunkwap gave the advice at the ongoing forty-ninth national conference of the body holding at Itele-Ijebu in Ogun State.

He said that religious leaders are under obligation to impart Civic Education and Advocacy knowledge on their followers to make them imbibe responsible political behaviour and make informed choices.

Sir Henry therefore urged all religious leaders, especially Catholics to embark on intensive and massive advocacy, public enlightenment and awareness creation as a means to build the
desired political consciousness among those under their control, in and outside the faith in line with the principles of the Church’s Social Teaching.

According to him, Catholics have an obligation to ensure that those around them become aware, from childhood, that they are stakeholders in the political affairs of the country as actors and not spectators.

He said that when the people are enlightened to take cognisance of their duties to the nation and their rights in it, they can escape the servitude of political manipulation and ignorance in the electoral process and called on all the lay faithful to participate effectively in the activities leading to the 2023 general elections and not sit on the fence.

He commend President Muhammadu Buhari, for signing into Law the 2022 Electoral Act saying that the action is an act of expression of commitment and goodwill to ensure smooth transition and called for implementation of the Law in line with goodwill, sincerity and transparency that will bring about peaceful and transparent transition.

The Catholic Laity Council also
commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for deploying innovative technology aimed at guaranteeing free, fair and credible elections and enjoin INEC to ensure that the technology is transparently utilized, to increase the confidence of
the electorates in the process.

On insecurity, the Laity Council condemned the unprovoked attacks on travellers and worshippers in Churches and other places of worship by terrorists, unknown gunmen, insurgents, kidnappers, bandits, cultists and armed robbers saying that such attacks have become rampant and the order of the day making life in Nigeria unsafe, uncertain, short and brutish, like the
historic state of nature.

He charged government to live up to her statutory responsibility of protection of lives and property and also advised citizens to be law-abiding and shun all forms of violence and criminality.

On education, the Laity Council expressed joy that ASUU has called off its strike and implored government to respect the spirit and letter of the agreement it signed with the lecturers.

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