Christian Association of Nigeria, on Wednesday, has said CAN rejected same-faith ticket in order to ease unnecessary tension expectedly may arise from such decision and create animosity adding that the Nigeria has two major religions and must be adequately represented in the leadership structure of the country.
He explained further the reason behind its rejection of the same-faith ticket as presented by the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 presidential elections.
While speaking at the meeting of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, in Abuja, CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, told journalists that Nigeria has two major religions and each religion is expected to be represented in the leadership structure of the country at all level, hence otherwise triggers animosity and suspicion.
Archbishop Okoh, represented at the meeting by Most Rev. Benebo Fubara-Manuel, stated that, CAN had cautioned all political parties against the decision of same-faith long before party embarked on their primaries but the All Progressives Congress decided otherwise for whatever reason known to them.
He said, “The parties have produced their candidates despite our warnings, and APC decided to field candidates from same faith and the campaigns are ongoing and election is fast approaching. However, we need to de-emphasize the issue of religion and tribe in this coming elections, otherwise, we would create unnecessary tension and we don’t want that.
“We simply urge voters to look at the candidates, examine their programmes and policies, look at their antecedents, look at where we are today as a country and then make the choice of candidate, expectedly, the right choice.
“CAN rejected same faith ticket in order to ease tension that, expectedly, will arise from such decision. It’s not the best for this country. Social Democratic Party, broke that record in 1993 elections and APC repeated it for 2023 elections.
“Only God can give leaders that are credible but on our side, we must vote prayerfully, wisely, consciously and not allow religion or ethnic sentiments to influence our electoral decision. We must know that God is bigger than these realities.
“Poverty, insecurity and other ills in Nigeria doesn’t know religion nor tribe. Considering all these things before voting will take us back to the era of justice, fairness and equity. Let’s not fight and cause anarchy. That will only destabilize the system.
“While we are asking that we de-emphasize the issue of religion and ethnicity, we maintain our position in CAN against the decision of APC to present candidates of same faith.”
In a statement at IDFP at meeting on his personal capacity, Rev. Fubara-Manuel, maintained that forthcoming elections is an opportunity to truly take inventory of voters in Nigeria.
He also added that the coming election is an important election for Nigeria, because it most likely provide opportunity in which people witness a situation where their votes count.
“How this will play out throughout the country is yet to be understood, but this time around we expect that the will of the people will emerge in elections and we shall truly know the true number of voters.
“Even though the results may not be acceptable to all, it will encourage more citizens to cast their votes. We also hope, in the future, that it will encourage more persons to come out and cast their votes, an indication of a positive hope for Nigeria’s political outcome in the future.”
The co-chairmen of IDFP, Bishop Sunday Onuoha and Alhaji Kunle Sanni, also contributed to the valedictory remarks by appreciating the opportunity that was provided for them to serve IDFP for six years.
He said, “I want to state without any fear of being contradicted that Bishop Onuoha and I have never had a reason to publicly disagreed on any issue and that was because of the love and commitment they have for the peace and progress of Nigeria.”
They both commended the support and cooperation they benefited from the staff and partners of IDFP whom they started the organization from inception without structure six years and now thriving to global standard.