This advice was contained in a statement made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti by Monsignor Felix Ajakaye after the episcopal conference held in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The conference, which had as its theme: “Nigeria: now is the moment of grace”, was attended by the bishops of the archdiocese of Ibadan, Ilorin and Ondo.
Other bishops who attended the meeting were those from the dioceses of Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo.
“We, the bishops, fully empathize with the suffering and pain of all Nigerians during these years, as we endured numerous threats to the security of life and property, a crippling economic recession, and poor political leadership.
“Therefore, we urge all eligible Nigerians to secure their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and vote in elections according to their conscience, without fear, to secure their own and their children’s futures.” the communiqué, signed by the President, Msgr. Gabriel Abegunrin and the Secretary, Bishop Juan Oyejolasaying.
The bishops denounced the state of security in the country and condemned the cowardly murder of another priest, Rev. Father. isaac achi of the Catholic Diocese of Minna, saying “It is not yet time for celebration.”
They praised the governors of the southwestern region for establishing and maintaining the Amotekun Corps and others, which they said had led to a relatively improved security situation in the states in the area.
However, the bishops urged the government to further strengthen the security architecture by adopting technology to safeguard the lives and property of its citizens.
“Nigerians have the right to enjoy free and secure movement wherever they live and go, and it is the sacred duty of the government to make this possible.
“It is never too late to do the right thing, because adequate security of life will impact the integrity of the next general election,” said the bishops.
The clerics called on all politicians and election referees, from the federal to the grassroots levels, to demonstrate nobility and fairness in their speech and actions to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in February.
The bishops said that to be successful, Nigerians must be disciplined, obey the law, work and pray, and encouraged the youth who are working hard to hold free and fair elections in February to persevere.
“Hope does not fail us. We call on all Nigerians to maintain hope by trusting in the unchanging promise of God, which says ‘do not be afraid’ for I am with you,”, the bishops advised.