The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has said heavy pressure is being mounted on it, to congratulate the president elect, and officeholder president, Muhammadu Buhari on his triumph at the surveys.
It said that extremely persuasive individuals that work with the Federal Government need them to pay a celebratory visit to Buhari, after winning the February 23rd presidential race.
As indicated by Vanguard, a source in CAN’s national official body, uncovered that the weight had now taken a form of subtle blackmail against its leaders.
“We have seen how they are polarising the church so that it cannot act as a body. The Bible says the house divided against itself cannot stand. This is where we find ourselves today. If there’s no unity among us, who says the enemy cannot attack and go away? It’s very unfortunate.
“If you know the pressure mounted on CAN leadership that we, as a body, have to go and congratulate the president. However, the church is saying this election is controversial and we see what is happening. But, they are still mounting pressure seriously.
“They are telling us if we don’t congratulate him, it means we are against him and that we are partisan. However, we are saying let them resolve the issues (in court) before we go and congratulate whoever wins. That’s the situation we find ourselves as the Church of God.”
The Christian Association of Nigeria was founded in 1976, and originally only contained the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant groups. However, it later expanded to include Pentecostal churches as well.
In 2000, the CAN protested the adoption of Sharia law in northern states. In February 2006, while President of the organisation, Akinola issued a statement in response to Muslim violence against Christians, telling Muslims that they did not have a “monopoly on violence”.
The following day, Christians rioted in retaliation against Muslims, leading to more than 70 deaths. Akinola later claimed his statements had been misinterpreted in the western media. He even threatened to resign in case the riots should continue.
On 2 May 2004, more than 630 Muslims were killed in Yelwa, Nigeria. The dead were pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the CAN. The massacre is known as the Yelwa massacre.
In September 2007, the organization endorsed a social security plan put forth by Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido.
The organisation is made up of five blocs; they are the Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, the aforementioned Organisation of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of West Africa.
The CAN has Women and Youth Wings, a National Executive Council consisting of 105 members (which elects the President), and a General Assembly of 304 members (which ratifies the President’s election).