CAN Elections: Don’t Elect President Who will Dabble into Politics, Catholic Bishops Warn

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By Paul Obi in Abuja

Ahead of the general election of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) slated for this week, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) yesterday warned against the election and emergence of a CAN leader who will dabble into politics and engage in the bizarre act of sharing money with politicians.

The bishops’ caution is coming on the heels of several issues surrounding the conduct of the elections, specifically, the alleged exclusion of ECWA President, Rev. Jeremiah Gado from the race.

CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama told THISDAY that though the Catholic Church is “aware of the controversy, concerning the decision to elect a new president. As Catholic Church, we support due process, we want to see an inclusive CAN.

“We want an election that produces someone who has the capacity to unite every Christian; someone who has the zeal not only to unite all Christians but people of other faiths.

“We are not concerned about who emerges, but we will support any winner who will return CAN to the fundamentals of the association, not someone who will dabble into issues of politics and money sharing,” Kaigama said.

The CBCN president further stated that the Catholic bishops “are concerned about the fundamental issues. We are not concerned now about who is the president, we are concerned about the critical tasks expected of CAN.

“Someone who will unite Christians and move the association forward, not someone with the spirit of a politician,” he stated.

Kaigama observed that the crisis bedevilling the CAN elections is an ominous sign that something is wrong somewhere.

“Where there is rigorous struggle either to get a position, then it is questionable. This is an organisation that is meant to serve, and if people are struggling, then, something is wrong. “Therefore, if there are diversions from CAN constitution in the conduct of the elections, we will have reservation about it,” Kaigama submitted.

The CBCN warning came as CAN National Executive Committee (NEC) yesterday insisted that only Prof. Joseph Otubu of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) and Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle of the Baptist Convention are running for the post of the president.

CAN Secretary General, Rev. Musa Asake, informed THISDAY that preparations are in top gear to ensure a smooth conduct of the elections.

Asake further stated that: “Only Otubu and Ayokunle are standing for the elections” and no any other candidate is known to NEC.

Asked about the purported court case surrounding the elections,  Asake said: “We are aware that there is a case about the elections, but we have not received any paper.”

On the exclusion of Rev. Gado, CAN Secretary General stressed that “NEC has no issue with anybody coming to contest, it is the block that send names of candidates. So it is not a NEC issue to decide who will run the elections.”