Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has denied endorsing President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
In a statement issued by the Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Christian body described as fake the report credited to an online news medium that President Buhari had been chosen after CAN had met with some 14 presidential candidates in Abuja.
“Our attention has been drawn to a news story published by an online (medium) that has become notorious for publishing fake stories. According to the story, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for the second term in office after CAN had met with some 14 presidential candidates in Abuja. There was nothing like that, either before, during or after the parley,” it said.
The statement noted that the CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, did not say that any of the candidates had been endorsed when he spoke to journalists after the meeting with the presidential flagbearers.
His words: “The motive is not to take for granted the 2019 elections. 2019 Nigeria will depend on next year’s presidential election. That is, how free and fair it is going to be.
“The church cannot take the back seat in this situation because it can only prosper when Nigeria prospers. If the election is not free and fair, then, all Nigerians, including the church, will be in trouble,” he said.
CAN said it decided to reach out to the presidential candidates to ask for their credentials for aspiring to the highest office in the land and to interrogate their plans for all, including the church.
It also said that the aim of bringing them together was to speak to their consciences so that they don’t set the nation on fire.
On the outcome of the parley, Ayokunle said the CAN is going to draw conclusion when it finalises the interviews.
CAN also reacted to President Buhari’s decline to give assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, adding that Ayokunle
advised that the executive and the legislature should join hands, whenever there is this kind of disagreement or a stalemate, as partners in progress to mutually find a way forward.
It said no one can afford to play with the future of the country through the forthcoming 2019 general elections, adding that everything must be done to ensure that the polls are free and fair.
“So, where did His Eminence inform these liars and mischief makers that CAN has endorsed President Buhari for a second term? We appeal to members of the public to beware of those who are fabricating this fake news for whatever reasons.
“We challenge the online platform that published this fake news to provide relevant footages and audio clip to back up their report,” the statement said.