From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Senior Anglican Church leaders in Nigeria have condemned the recent decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to field candidates from same faith, Muslim-Muslim, in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
The Church leaders described the decision as an insult on the sensibility of Christians in Nigeria, suggesting that the decision should either be reversed or Nigerians especially Christians not vote for the party.
Venerable Ben Ndume of St. James Anglican Church (Anglican Communion), Asokoro, Abuja, registered the discontent of the church in Abuja, on Sunday, at the end of their church service to unveil their 2022 harvest activities.
He said the 2022 harvest activities is an opportunity for their members to come before God in thanksgiving and appreciation for His blessings and protection over the period so they can stand worthy to also solicited His protection and more blessings ahead.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the service, Venerable Ndume said the decision of the APC to field candidates of same faith was not right, and that it might affect their chances in the 2023 general elections.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that despite several warnings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other stakeholders, APC went ahead to choose candidates from same religion to fly their flag in 2023 general elections. It doesn’t reflect inclusivity and justice.
“The party should know that no single religion has monopoly of knowledge and human capacity in Nigeria. Nigeria is secular state and we should acknowledge that. No one should insult the sensibility of another in Nigeria.
“The decision of APC justified the fears, and also point to the fact that there is a ploy to Islamize Nigeria, but that will be possible if Nigerians allows it. So, it’s expected that they should speak and decide through their votes.
He, however, enjoined Christians to pray for Nigeria, its government and themselves, stressing that there’s palpable fear, panic and suspicion across the country, and no one can guarantee what would happen in the next minute.
Another leader in the church, Arinze Gideon, told journalists that the church is in support of increasing call for the extension of deadline for voter registration to enable more people participate in the political process that would herald the emergence of new set of political leaders in Nigeria come 2023.
He said: “few weeks ago, we approached the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and demanded for their presence here in our church premises for the registration exercise, and they obliged us the request. For two Sundays, they were here registering people. Infact, they were overwhelmed by number of people that indicated interest in the process. System failure also contributed to the issue.
“Nevertheless, there are indications that thousands of people, if not millions, have not registered, and are willing and eager to register. It will be unfair for them to be disenfranchised. So, we are supporting the call and appealing to INEC for the extension of time to enable more people register so they can participate in the exercise that would culminate in election of new government officials in 2023.”