From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
As the political process leading to 2023 general elections gather momentum, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has advised political parties against choosing their candidates, especially presidential candidates, and in some states, governorship; from same religion, either Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim.
CAN said such decision would be disastrous and could trigger unnecessary suspicion, acrimony, denial, and they won’t accept that
The umbrella body of Christian groups in Nigeria, thereby, cautioned the leading political parties in the country against heating up the polity with such arrangement ahead of 2023 general election.
A statement from the media aide to CAN President, Bayo Oladeji, indicated that the CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, dropped the position on Thursday, when he led CAN management team on a courtesy visit to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, in his office at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.
Ayokunle said: “We would admonish that, concerning 2023 general elections, politicians should not heat up the polity in any way, even as the campaign windows are about to be opened. They should rather guide the utterances and actions because there is already tension in the land because of insecurity.
“Most Instructively, we want to urge you, the politicians, on the Presidency. We want a situation that a balance of religion will be considered. We neither want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”.
Speaking further, Dr. Ayokunle, expressed dissatisfaction and disappointment with the menace of the economic downturn and its consequences on the polity, and called for an enabling environment to cushion the effects on the people.
The CAN President further told the lawmaker that the church is worried about inflation in the land which, according to him, has sent many people out of business, thus, leading to unemployment being at unimaginable level.
He added: “While we appreciate the efforts of the legislative assemblies in calling the attention of the executive to this, more robust and daring efforts are required to nip these things in the bud.
“Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives, or tax exceptions given to local manufacturers on some goods.”
The CAN President, thus, commended the Federal Government for the wisdom in managing the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, and also warned against forcing the people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
His words, “We appreciate the Federal Government, especially the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for the way this ‘stubborn’ virus has been managed. We want to urge the government to continue to encourage Nigerians to take the vaccine but never to force or coerce people into doing so.”
In his response, the Deputy Senate President appreciated the CAN leadership for the visit and called for more of such interaction with a view to bridging the gap between the National Assembly and CAN.
He also appreciated the interest and the support of CAN in the efforts of the government to promote peace and unity, and in its war against the pandemic.
He, thereby, tasked the Church leadership to encourage people to take the vaccine to reduce the menace if the government should not force it on them.
Those who were in the delegation included the General Secretary of CAN, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola; the Chairman, CAN Northcentral who also doubled as the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev Dr Israel Adelani Akanji; CAN’s Legal Director, Comfort Chigbue; the Director, National Issues and the CAN Chairman Lagos State, Bishop Stephen Adegbite; and the Director, Education, Youth and Women’s Development, Omonuwa Ogiemudia.
Others are Inoru Anna Preye (CAN, Bayelsa State), Ibrahim Isa Babangida (CAN, Katsina State), the Special Assistant (Media& Communication to His Eminence), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the CAN’s Media Officer, Isaac Macrock, and the CAN Security officer, Captain Bolade Ogidan.