As the country look forward to the 2019 general elections, it is not unnatural for politicians to look for an endorsement from several groups across the country, the bigger the group the bigger the endorsement.
It is also not strange for political actors to infiltrate religious gathering and try to manipulate men of God to their side and so as to convince the congregation to vote for them.
This is actually fair politics in Nigeria and for years, religious leaders have played key roles in helping to elect persons into office.
However, recent events have prompted some Nigerians to demand that religious leaders stay out of politics. The call also followed some embarrassing incidents involving some pastors and politicians leading many to question the church about moral, which is ironic as the church is supposed to be the bastion of morality.
Based on the above, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently stated that the body will not be supporting any candidate in the general elections.
The body asked Nigerians to vote their conscience, stressing that the church and CAN will not be involved in the selection of candidates, insisting that they have decided to be neutral in the polls.
“As Nigerians prepare for the presidential election, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has disclosed that it has not endorsed and will never endorse any of the candidates eyeing the Number 1 Seat or any elective post but asks its members to vote according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and their consciences.
“We have been hearing speculations going the rounds that CAN have endorsed one presidential candidate or the other. Nothing can be farther from the truth. CAN is apolitical, non-partisan and impartial but we are for God and His people.
“Our members cut across all political divides and some of them are even contesting for one post or the other including the presidential. So, the idea of endorsing any candidate as a favourite does not arise. We have not and will not endorse any candidate for any elective office in the country.
“You will recall that CAN recently met with some leading presidential candidates in Abuja to interact with them and to present our position of the State of the Nation to them and to listen to their manifestoes and programmes.
“At the end of the meeting, we came out with a position without endorsing any of the candidates,” CAN said in a statement.
“Our expectations are that whoever emerges as president and vice-president will address the myriad of critical national concerns. In biblical times, God raised prophets at different times to speak up against national leaders and policies that promoted injustice against the very people such leaders were called to serve.
“God placed the responsibility of the security and welfare of the citizens on leaders of nations. Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“While CAN notes with encouragement that the candidates interviewed subscribed to its (CAN’s) values as expected of the President of the Federal Republic, it is noted too that actions should speak far louder than words if any one of them is elected.
“To this end, CAN will watch closely as the character of the presidential candidates unfolds before, during and after the elections in 2019,” the Christian body added.
In related news, the President Buhari reelection campaign got a major boost on Thursday after another political party endorsed him for a second term in office.
The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), the political party that had earlier accommodated Oby Ezekwesili, who before Thursday was the party’s presidential candidate, stated that it was throwing its weight behind the candidacy of President Buhari and vowed to work for the success of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming election.
“The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) is withdrawing support for her presidential aspiration and endorsing the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari to take Nigeria to the next level,” the party said on Thursday.
The party further stated that it was not informed of the former Minister’s decision to quit the presidential race. It further claims that the Ezekwesili had used the party to put herself in a position to become a minister, specifically the minister of finance in the next political dispensation.
“I have been put into confidence by one of her aide named lyinoluwa Aboyeji that she only wanted to use the platform of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) to negotiate to be Nigeria’s finance minister,” the party chairman, Gani Galadima said.
Obi Ezekwesili on Thursday announced her withdrawal from the presidential race, instead, the former minister for education asked for a coalition of the lesser political party so as to improve their chances of defeating the established powers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC.
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