From Desmond Mgboh, Kano and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reaffirmed its earlier stance on issues of national concern, especially when it relate to leadership and governance, stressing that it was taken in the interest of inclusivity and respect for the plurality of Nigeria.
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, in a statement, said the clarification became necessary following misconceptions that might arise from the recently concluded interactive session with presidential candidates of political parties to field presidential candidate ahead 2023 presidential election.
He thanked the presidential candidates for honouring the invitations, and assured that CAN is apolitical and non-partisan, neither would it openly campaign nor endorse any candidate ahead the elections.
He said: “CAN salutes the candour of all the presidential candidates who participated in the interactive session and charge those among them who have made up their minds to execute the suggested solutions to our national crisis as spelt out in the charter to walk the talk seriously, if elected in 2023.
“However, there is a need for proper understanding of the issues on ground and thorough planning to ensure that pronouncements do not end up as mere rhetorics while an impatient public counts the days for implementation.
“The apex Christian body understands the fact that Nigeria’s next president will be under serious pressure to make an immediate impact upon assumption of office next year, hence we make a solemn promise to keep our doors open for continuous discussions on how best to make these laudable ideas a reality for the public good.
“But let no one get it twisted, the recent engagements with the 2023 presidential candidates was neither a campaign programme nor an endorsement event.”
He urged all Nigerians to listen dispassionately to all that the presidential candidates on what they have to offer and judge from the depths of their consciences before they cast their votes.
He wished all the presidential candidates safety and security as they campaign for votes in the next three months, and reiterated the promise of CAN to continue to work and pray for a violence-free elections.
However, the Kano State chapter of CAN has reiterated its opposition to the same faith presidential ticket adopted by the All Progressives Congress (APC), stressing that its members were in alliance with its central body on the issue.
Speaking at the inauguration of the state executive of the association, the new chairman, Bishop John Namaza Niyiring explained that whatever is decided by the central body remains the position of its state chapters.
Niyiring, who is also the Catholic Bishop of Kano Diocese, noted that at the state level, the Christian community was still studying the dynamics and has no preferential candidate or party at the moment.
In his four-point agenda, he stressed that his leadership would effectively liaise with the state government and the civil authorities to promote the rights of Christians and protect their privileges in the state.
He also disclosed that his leadership would remain open to inter-faith dialogue with all religious groups and faiths in the state with a view to understanding one another and evolving ways to continue to live in peace.
He charged Christians in the state to promote love and oneness among themselves, among their Churches and to live in peace with the people of the communities where they live, enjoining them also not to ignore the welfare of their less fortunate members of their faith.
The immediate past Chairman of the association in the state, Reverenced Adeyemo Adeolu Samuel identified the gruesome murder of Pastor Shiabu Yohana as one of the greatest challenges that confronted his tenure.
Members of the new state executive included the Secretary, Apostle Gideon Ogunbawo and the Treasurer, Bishop Raph Olufemi Olowo.