GENERAL ELECTIONS AND THE RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH KEEPERS IN NIGERIA
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Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, which is understandably quite complex. We acknowledge that it is not easy to navigate the many complexities within this diversity. However as a nation, we have managed to live with this differences over the last 58 years. And like many other nations of the world,we are still trying to grow in the direction of unity in diversity.
In Nigeria today, the rights of groups are acknowledged in majority blocs so as to deal with issues in a less complex manner. However, this method, many times, efficiently drowns the voice of minority groups within a bloc of people whose rights have been acknowledged.
This is the plight of seventh-day sabbath-keepers in Nigeria. Today, we can say Nigeria acknowledges the rights of Christians as a bloc, but the rights of a certain minority group within this bloc has always been trampled upon for many years.
As Sabbath keepers believe that the Seventh-day of rest alluded to in the Bible (Ex 20:8-11; Luke 23:50-24:6) is Saturday. A day in which they are to worship and devote themselves to their God while they cease from all secular activities except that of saving of lives, in keeping with the example of Jesus. Yet, the day has been severally ladened by official governmental/civic activities such as WAEC exams, JAMB exams and most pertinently, elections. We all know that election days in Nigeria are days with high-security priority. More like war, therefore, these activities are not such that Sabbath keepers find fitting or appropriate to participate in, on a Sabbath day. Apart from that, many, based on the Bible believe it is a denial of their civic right to fix national elections of Sabbath.
Recently, INEC just released the election time-table for the next 36 years and every one of those days is a Saturday. This means that true seventh-day Sabbath keepers have been disenfranchised from participating in electing their leaders. A right which is recognized in many democracies in the world and even in some countries of Africa, like Kenya and Ghana.
As responsible citizens, we therefore call on all well meaning Nigerians to join their voice with ours (Sabbath-keepers) in keeping elections away from Saturdays, at least to guarantee the inalienable rights of teaming members of our faith.
As it is, we consider Saturday a date with God, yet we want to participate in our civic duties as patriotic citizens. We believe that in the spirit of fairness, this right should not be denied us.
We are law abiding people who will love very much to participate in the political process of our nation, and we have great minds who can contribute tremendously to the developments of our dear nation, Nigeria.
We therefore request that for our rights to be guaranteed, INEC should, reconsider the announced dates, and change the election days to any day or days between Monday and Thursday. So that all Nigerian will be able to freely participate in our election process.
If you agree with the above demand, we request that you sign this petition.
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