Nigerian Churches Engage Actively in National Electoral Process
Member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Nigeria, represented through the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), have been actively engaged in observing the recent Nigerian elections, continuing its stated conviction that effective participation of Nigerians in the processes of governance is very important in shaping the nation’s future.
Despite deep political divisions and unrest in the northeast of the country, Nigeria’s elections in March were judged free and fair by international observers, and the vote occasioned little violence and disruption.
“The incessant loss of lives, poverty and multiple suffering of Nigerians can be curtailed if Nigerians take full responsibilities in electing leaders. Our involvement in the election observation exercise also helps establish whether the Nigeria 2015 general elections were credible,” reads a recent statement from Emmanuel J. Udofia, the CCN president and Rev. Dr Wushishi I. Yusuf, the CCN general secretary.
The WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in his letter to Nigeria’s president-elect Muhammadu Buhari conveyed congratulations on behalf of the WCC. “I was greatly relieved that the election was able to take place without major incidents of violence, and I hope that the period of transition and your taking up your new office will remain similarly peaceful,” said Tveit.
“Our member churches will strive alongside you for the good of the Nigerian people and society, particularly over issues such as fighting corruption and insecurity. I share their belief that you, as President, will work for the good of all Nigerians, irrespective of religion or tribe,” Tveit added.
The CCN, a national ecumenical partner of the WCC, trained and deployed about 2000 domestic election observers in all the 36 states of the Nigerian federation and in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. They observed the entire process of opening, accreditation, voting, counting and also the collation of results at the ward level and local government level.
Based on findings from its domestic election observers, the CCN statement also highlights technical and logistical shortcomings in the electoral process. To improve the process, the CCN has offered a set of recommendations to the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.
CCN working for responsible elections in Nigeria (WCC news release of 26 February 2015)
This article originally appeared on the World Council of Churches website.