From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
259 delegate-members from all the five blocs of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have ratified the choice of Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, of the Christ Holy Church also known as Nation’s Builders (Odozi-Obodo) as the new President of CAN for a five year term.
He formally took over from Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, who bowed out on Thursday after finishing his second three years tenure in office.
The delegates also ratified the choice of candidates who would serve as Vice Presidents of the Association for the next five years in line with the amended constitution of CAN.
The ratification took place in Abuja on Thursday, during the General Assembly meeting of CAN and other activities to mark the end of tenure of Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo.
The new CAN President, Most Rev Okoh, in his acceptance speech, appreciated CAN leaders for the confidence reposed in him by entrusting him with the great mandate of leading CAN for the next five years.
He said: “I am particularly delighted that my emergence was through a process that further demonstrated our understanding of the aims and objectives of CAN. By divine providence, my involvement in the leadership of CAN started at state level many years ago when church leaders in Anambra State would gather to plan for the yearly prayer for Christian unity.
“In the year 1999, i was invited to represent the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) in the planning committee where I was unanimously chosen as the Secretary. Later that year, my bloc nominated me as one of the delegates to National Executive Committee (NEC) of CAN. Since then, I have been a member of the NEC of CAN till date.
“My emergence as the substantive CAN President from one of the blocs, (OAIC), that never had a shot at the Presidency, attests to the commitment of the organization to pull together the resources from various traditions of the Church of Christ in Nigeria for a more effective participation in Nation building. This is best described as equity in providence.
“As i assume the leadership of this ecumenical organization, I am aware of the need to build on the foundation laid already by the past leaders of CAN. I am also aware of the need for CAN to respond appropriately to national issues and to continue to participate actively and effectively in Nation Building.
“We came in at the time that all of us in the Christian faith believe that some section of political leaders are not sensitive to the diverse nature of our population when certain decisions are being made. Many Christians feel and have the genuine fear that there is a deliberate plan to remove the Christian faith from the scheme of things and make us second-class citizens in our own country.
“This fear is genuine and was borne out of the recent happenings in our polity especially the issue of same faith ticket in one of the major political parties in Nigeria despite the caution raised by CAN since two years ago.
“Whatever happens, no matter how many times our sensibilities are insulted, we must resolve to continue to make positive impact on the political, economic and social systems of our dear nation,” he said.
The outgone President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, in his remarks, expressed confidence in the ability and capacity of the new leadership of CAN to sustain the successes achieved by CAN leaders in recent years.
He reminded him that leadership is tough and not a jamboree, hence leadership requires a man of character and courage to be able to succeed.
He said: “The new CAN President is not a novice in activities and leadership of CAN. He has been vice president of CAN twice. In addition to that, he has been the head of his denomination for the past 29 years. So, he is well experienced in human and church management, and we are confident that he will succeed.”