Update: Christian leaders say problems with ballot counting, delays, and attacks on polling places are casting doubt on the election results. Former president Obasanjo said some election officials have been compromised and called for new elections. He warned, “We don’t need to set the country on fire. Please exercise patience until the wrong is righted.”
Nigeria – where more Christians are killed than every other country combined – will vote for a new president on February 25, 2023.
“Ethnic-religious cleansing is on the ballot,” one Christian leader said.
The last eight years under 80-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari, an ethnic Fulani, saw an escalation of violence by Islamist terror groups, Fulani militants and gangs.
Christians have suffered massively as terrorists seek to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State. Thousands have been killed and countless mutilated, kidnapped, and their churches attacked.
“The mission of terror groups such as Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Fulani militants is a continuation of an ancient jihad to decimate Christianity,” said Hassan John, Director of Research for the Church of Nigeria.
About half of Nigeria’s population of 220 million are Christian. The North is majority Muslim, and the South is majority Christian.
An ethnic Igbo Christian from the South, Peter Obi, is leading the race.
Some fear that Fulani Islamists, including corrupt military officials, will not accept if a Christian candidate wins the election.
After the presidential election in 2011, violence erupted. In two days, it spread to most of the country. 204 Christians were killed, 300 injured, over 764 churches and 3,406 houses destroyed, and 3,104 businesses of non-Muslims burned or destroyed.
Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi said, “I’ve done far more funerals in the last 20 years than naming ceremonies or weddings put together. I’m a grieving pastor.”
He warns that if the new president does not halt the violence, “Christians are going to leave this country. They’re going to leave in droves. Christians are going to run to anywhere in the world, but Nigeria. They will not wait for the persecution that will happen.’
Recently, Christian leaders marked five years since Leah Sharibu, a Christian teen, was kidnapped by Boko Haram. She and numerous other Christians have been snatched to enslave and forcibly convert them.
The leaders called on Buhari to secure Leah’s release before he leaves office. Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam added, “But we move beyond this President if he doesn’t do it to call to the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make bringing Leah back to her parents and other girls in captivity a top priority of your government.”
“Make it a surprise gift to all of us in Nigeria.”
Pray for God to:
- Ruin the plans of the wicked and protect His people in Nigeria.
- Place people in key positions who will work for justice and righteousness.
- Release the captives and fill them with His grace.