CAN Expresses Concern over Plans by Government to Interfere in Its Elections

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By Paul Obi in Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday expressed concern over plans by some government officials to meddle into the affairs of the association in the up coming CAN elections, “in order to elect a puppet loyal to government.”

According to the President of Patriotic Christian Youth of Nigeria. (PCYN), an arm of CAN,  Simon Nasso, the plan is to frustrate CAN electoral college’s effort and install a stooge, supported by government machinery.

Nasso said: “You will recall that since the commencement of the election process, we had raised the alarm to the fact that a particular candidate is being sponsored by the government through the influence of a top cabinet member of the federal government.

“Though there was denial initially but the candidate, as you would have witnessed, acknowledged the fact that the government official being a member of ECWA church has every reason to use his office and influence to project and sponsor the particular candidate.”

He maintained that “anybody deceiving the public that beside the vested government interest, there is any law in CAN that gives rights to Gado’s candidature is wrong.

“It is so strange to note the level of political manipulations and attempt to forcefully impose a candidate before and during the selection process at the TEKAN/ECWA bloc level,” he stressed.

Nasso further alleged that the plan to install the stooge also include insisting “on getting CAN leadership constitute a Caretaker Committee(CTC) for the purpose of later buying the members to restart the election process and reintroduce Gado as a candidate. We know this attempt is built out of ignorant and desperation as CTC is alien to CAN constitution.

“To approach a court of law for an Ex-perte injunction few days to the election not for the reason of having any cause of action but to delay the elections and by implication unnecessary and ignorantly extend the tenure of the current CAN leadership.

“To use government machinery to destabilize the forth coming CAN National Executive Council meeting where the two selected candidates by CAN Electoral College will be elected. This will be very unfortunate and we are sure will yield no result in their favor,” Nasso maintained.

Also, Head of Baptist Churches in Nigeria,  Dr. Samson Ayokunle, has emerged the candidate of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) in the primaries ahead of the CAN presidential election.

Ayokunle is expected to pair up with another candidate for the elections of CAN president slated for next month.

However, ECWA representative at CAN, Pastor Wakili Kadima, at the weekend stated that the process leading to the June elections has been marred by some ‘illegality’ and ‘impunity’ geared towards the exclusion of ECWA President, Rev. Jeremiah Gado, from participating in the elections.

Also the exclusion of Tarayya Ekklesiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (TECAN) ECWA nominee as the consensus candidate of the TECAN ECWA block in CAN, a claim CAN officials debunked, is controversal stating that the emergence of Gado was characterised by manipulations including kidnapping and threat of life to some persons.

But speaking to journalists, Kadima said: “We have called you to rarely let you know that the process is flawed with irregularity, the exclusion of a candidate who was duly nominated has been block by so much impunity, so much violation of very clear constitutional provisions.

“And we not only reject what has happened but will certainly use every legal constitutional means within CAN  and if possibly outside of CAN to challenge the illegality and urge that the right thing be done to save CAN from embarrassment and the perpetuation of impunity and illegality that is threatening to tear CAN into pieces.”

He added that ECWA decided to kick against the exclusion “because the process came out with a minority report of members of the electoral college that didn’t agree with what went on and have even suggested that the present national officials of CAN should hand over to a caretaker team for a body that is impartial to conduct election for the new leadership of CAN to emerge.”