The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections.

This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Ade*, a young social media manager in his early twenties who was once a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness — a Christian denomination known to view voting as a sin. He tells us why the church sees political participation in that light and his views on voter participation. 

Why do the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) not believe in voting?

We remain politically neutral for religious reasons based on the Bible. We don’t lobby or vote for political candidates or run for power. We would not partake in anything concerning politics or ruling over others using manmade regulations.

We do not participate in governance. 

Are there scriptures in the Christian Bible that pertain to this?

Jesus refused to accept political office. In John 6:15, he taught his disciples to be no part of the world. 

Jehovah’s Witnesses are loyal to God’s kingdom, as in 2 Corinthians 5:20.

God’s role as the ruler is ultimate; taking sides with any other government is like compromising. We believe that we should follow God’s rule or God’s government because the government of man cannot save us. At the moment, Satan is the one who rules the world. If we were to take part in the politics of the world, we’d be siding with the devil ruling the world.

Would you vote if given a chance?

Personally, I won’t vote. I feel that every government is the same. I believe that we live at the end of days. Hence, it is only expected that things will get worse from here, especially for Nigeria. I am not saying that no man can’t make the lives of Nigerians easier, but I also believe that every man is for himself here. If a Nigerian feels like a candidate would make his or her life easier, I support that. But personally, I’m not a big fan of voting for the above reasons. 

Do you have views independent of your church when it comes to voting?

Even though I left the church two years ago (for undisclosed reasons) and I’m now a Pentecostal, I can say to a large extent that I agree with what the Jehovah’s Witnesses say about the government. I see sense in not voting for candidates in any way, and I do not even plan to vote for anyone come 2023. Our final destination is heaven, and we need to focus on that instead of earthly politics.

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