CAN Presidency: NEC Opts for Fresh Face  


Indications have emerged that members of the National Executive Committee of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have resolved to give the body a fresh facelift at its forthcoming presidential election.

The presidential election of the apex Christian body holds on June 15 in Abuja with over 109 NEC members expected to choose the next president of the body.

The two candidates are Professor Joseph Otubu of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) and Rev Supo Ayokunle of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN).
Ayokunle is current vice president of the body accused of bias in the 2015 general election.
It was learnt that NEC members have decided it is better to give CAN a fresh beginning with someone that is not part of the current administration at the helms of affairs.

This thinking, according to findings, is to regain the lost credibility of the body before the watching public.
Ayokunle, who won the shadow electoral college votes 8-2, according to NEC members would still be perceived as an extension of the current administration.

A NEC member, who spoke in confidence last night, said: “If Ayokunle emerges, it will appear we endorse everything the current administration did.

“We have to give the body a fresh face to convince many skeptics that we are serious with house-cleaning.”
Besides, it was learnt that NEC members are disposed to giving OAIC the opportunity to lead the organisation for the first time to dispel the notion that CAN belongs only to Orthodox, established churches.
The CCN bloc led the body through Dr SundayMbang of Methodist Church and Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Communion.

The Catholic Secretariat also led CAN through Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie and Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
Only the OAIC and ECWA\TEKAN blocs have not produced a leader for the 40-year-old organisation.
Another NEC member said last night: “Equity and fairness are Christian qualities. We have to prove these at the forthcoming election by allowing those who have never been there to have a sense of belonging too.

“CAN belongs to all churches and denominations. A situation where some consider themselves as the power brokers and decision makers will polarise us.”
It was further alleged that Ayokunle reneged on an internal arrangement to continue as vice president to give room for a consensus candidate.

A consensus candidate, some NEC members said, will avoid the rancour and ill-feeling of elections as well as convince others of Christian unity.
The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), reportedly told the current leadership he was willing to continue his role as vice president but turned around to start campaigning less than 24 hours later.

It was learnt that he, in fact, called Otubu to offer his support, promising to work hand-in-hand to move the apex Christian body forward.
The U-turn not only shocked the CAN leadership but also frustrated the plan to have a consensus candidate to avoid post-election rancour and ill-feeling.
These moves, it was learnt, infuriated NEC members who consider Ayokunle as desperate for election.