Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on Sunday blamed politicians, the electoral body and other stakeholdersover shoddy manner elections were conducted in the country.Kaigama in his homily at Our Lady Queen of Peace Pro Cathedral, in Abuja, said that the ways elections were conducted in Nigeria, raised doubts about whether people’s votes count at all.
The cleric said that the quest to win by hook or crook and the winner takes all syndrome, explained why a sitting governor’s party won all seats in a local government election in a state.
He said that the Nigeria electoral system laid the foundation for electoral violence and the extravagant use of power and resources.
He said that people should learn from how Peter in the Bible 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,” he said.
Kaigama stressed the need for the positive use of media in conducting free and fair elections and ensuring peace on the society.
”As Pope Francis said in his message, “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 forhuman 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 said.
Kaigama also said that the Holy Father enjoined media practitioners to resist temptation of manipulative use of the media to stirring tensions and heating up the polity to favour or satisfy certain interests at the expense of truth and objectivity.
The Archbishop said fake or manipulative reports would not bring to society the needed light, hope, consolation, healing, growth and progress that was needed
”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,” he prayed.The Archbishop also appealed to all Catholics to patronise the Catholic Television of Nigeria (CTV), and the Good Shepherd Newspaper.