The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama has tasked politicians in Nigeria and Africa at large to deviate from ungodly conducts capable of causing electoral violence.
Kaigama stated this on Sunday during his homily to Mark the 55th World Communications Day, at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Pro Cathedral, in Abuja
The Archbishop said politicians should borrow a leaf from the apostles who relied on the scriptures and prayers in order to find a replacement for Judas Iscariot.
His grace said, elections should be peaceful and devoid of manipulations .
According to Kaigama, ” Peter led the group to elect the successor of Judas Iscariot. The manner of election demonstrated that they relied on scripture and prayer (cf. Ps 69:25, 109:8) to find a replacement for Judas.
“The election was based purely on merit. The person was to be a consistent follower of Jesus, throughout Jesus’ ministry, up to the day of His ascension. Two men were put forward. There was no lobbying; internal democracy was at play. The group prayed for guidance, proclaimed their trust in God and went on to cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias who became one of the Apostles.
“There are lessons from the election of Matthias for contemporary politics in Africa: election must be peaceful, without electoral manipulation, partiality or ungodly conduct. The shoddy manner elections are conducted raise doubts about whether people’s votes count at all.
“The quest to win by hook or by crook, and the winner takes all syndrome explains why in a Local Government election in a State where a party has a sitting Governor, it is nearly always certain that their party will clear all the available seats, and this is often what lays the foundation for electoral violence, and the extravagant use of power and resources,” he said.
Kaigama who prayed for our political leaders said, “we pray that the Lord will elicit in our leaders the sincere passion for service and a genuine quest for justice to salvage our dear country; we pray that during elections our votes will count; we pray that our youths will find employment; criminality to stop; political leaders to see the common good rather than parochial political interests
“God to help our elected and public officials to be more patriotic and efficient so that religious leaders should be more concerned with prayers for the nation and explaining the word of God, instead of focusing on divisive “prophetic” political prognosis” .
The Archbishop reminded media practitioners that,”media communication as an asset that could help advance peace and order, but at the same time it can be used to instigate violence; it can also fuel prejudice and contempt between individuals and among peoples.
He quoted the Pope Francis as saying “the risk of misinformation being spread on social media has become evident to everyone. We have known for some time that news and even images can be easily manipulated for any number of reasons…”
” In communicating, we must ensure objectivity, respect for human rights and dignity, the common good; avoiding hostility and confusion. There must be a responsible and accountable use of the media or else we breed anarchy and chaos” he quoted.
Kaigama further stated that “The Holy Father enjoins media practitioners to resist the temptation of the manipulative use of the media by stirring tensions and heating up the polity to favour or satisfy certain interests at the expense of truth and objectivity.
“This will not bring to society the needed light, hope, consolation, healing, growth and progress. Today, we see all manner of half truths or bare lies in the social media, like the type that led late Miss Iniubong Umoren, a 26-year-old graduate of the University of Uyo job seeker who responded to a fake job advertisement, only to meet her brutal death. May her soul rest in peace.