The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has called on Nigerians to do all within their power to ensure the country remains united and peaceful during the forthcoming general elections and beyond.
The clerics thus directed all faithful across the country to fast and pray for three days this week, in order to avert crises arising from the polls.
The directive was contained in a statement jointly signed by Archbishop Augustine Akubeze and Bishop Camillus Umoh, the CBCN President and Secretary respectively, and made available in Abuja at the weekend.
The Bishops said: “The general elections are by the corner. Expectedly, there is a lot of anxiety. These elections should therefore be for us a time for sober reflection on our future as a people.
“We should further reflect on how to keep our country and our people united and peaceful. With the resources available to us as a country, we can achieve this. The world is looking up to us and expecting much from us.
“We appeal to the Security Agencies and INEC to rise up to their duties and responsibilities to ensure that we have peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
“We nevertheless reiterate that the primary responsibility for this lies with the government. We urge the relevant bodies to put our nation before any other consideration.
“We appeal to the people to put cynicism aside and go out to cast their votes on election day, guided by their conscience. We must therefore think very carefully, because electing our leaders comes with moral obligations and responsibilities
“We invite our fellow countrymen and women to turn to God in these trying times. Let us continue in prayer for those who are in politics, especially those of them who are seeking elective positions.
“And to those our brothers and sisters either already in office or seeking to be elected, we say, be effective witnesses to TRUTH and LIGHT for the common good otherwise we invite you to bow out.
“Conscious of the power of prayers in times like these, we therefore direct all Catholics to fast and pray for three days; 13-15 February 2019.”