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Catholic bishops warn INEC against manipulating election results

Catholic bishops warn INEC against manipulating election results

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu

President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Lucius Ugorji, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to ensure that all election results are uploaded to the portal in order to have a credible, free, fair, transparent and peaceful process.

The body warned INEC against manipulating results of Saturday’s governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, so as not to incur the wrath of Nigerians.

Archbishop Ugorji stated these on Friday, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area, during the canonical erection of the newly-created Catholic Diocese of Aguleri and installation of Most Rev. Denis Isizoh as its pioneer Bishop.

He expressed disappointment that INEC “failed” to honour it’s promise of conducting a free, fair and credible election during the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections in the country.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to come out as they did before to ensure that they cast their votes and make sure that their votes would count in the governorship and state assembly elections.

He said, “During that election, the results were manipulated, and doctored, a development that didn’t reflect the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian voters who desired a new Nigeria.

“It was in the same election that thugs denied voters their rights to vote for their preferred candidates and were forced to vote for the candidates that are not their choice before the presence of the security operatives who failed to protect the voters and the electoral officials.”

Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi were also in attendance.

Soludo, in his remarks, noted that the day was indeed a milestone in the life of his administration as it was on March 17, 2022, that he was sworn in as governor of Anambra State.

He said, “Today is unique in the sense that this marks my one year in office and it would go into history that during my one year in office Anambra State had a new diocese as well as a new cardinal.

“We have been able to make great inroads into the infrastructural development of Anambra and we are still doing more in the area of restoring confidence in governance. We just flagged off a flyover Bridge and the day I was sworn in, I worked for eight hours and 45 minutes.”

Soludo put paid to the rumours making the rounds that he was not quarreling with Obi when he invited him over to join him in saluting the people of Anambra, an overture which Obi accepted.

Looking at Peter Obi’s direction, Soludo declared, “I am happy to have with us the first APGA governor and one of my predecessors and presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, and please make way for him to join me in saluting the people of Anambra State.

“This is about the first time that we are meeting after the presidential election and we are happy to have him in our midst as our brother and son of Anambra,” he said.

When called upon to make a brief remark, Obi declined, even as a loud ovation greeted his presence in the church hall.

Catholic Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Anthony Guido Filipazzi, was also in attendance.

Filipazzi admonished members of the new diocese to ensure that it didn’t end as the only diocese adding that there was no limit to service in God’s vine yard and that the gospel of Christ had been the spiritual driving force towards the continuous existence and survival of the church against all the challenges.

In his vote of thanks, the new Bishop of Aguleri Diocese, Most Rev Isiuzoh, noted that even though the diocese appeared independent, it would continue to rely on the assistance and guidance of the Onitsha Archdiocese from where the it was carved out and appealed to the Archdiocese to continue to give them assistance whenever called upon.

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