The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria has filed approximately 4,817 petitions requesting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refrain from holding elections on Saturdays, which they view as a “critical day of worship and a date with God.”
The church started the petition on the global change website change.org on Thursday under the title “General Elections and the Religious Rights of Seventh-Day Sabbath Keepers in Nigeria.”
The church asked INEC to change the election calendar to any day between Monday and Thursday so that they could “exercise their rights to freely participate in the election process,” less than 48 hours before the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday.
“As a nation, we have managed to live with these differences over the last 58 years,” read one portion of the petition. Due to Nigeria’s multiethnic and multireligious nature, we continue to strive for unity in diversity, like many other nations worldwide.
“As responsible citizens, we, therefore, appeal to all well-intentioned Nigerians to join our (Sabbath-keepers) in preventing elections from taking place on Saturdays, at the very least to safeguard the unalienable rights of teaming members of our faith,” the statement reads.
“As it stands, Saturday is our date with God, but we still want to fulfill our civic responsibilities as patriotic citizens.
A portion of the petition stated, “We believe that in the spirit of fairness, this right should not be denied to us.”