From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, reiterated it was still opposed to the same-faith ticket as presented by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 presidential election even as it explained the reasons behind its stance.
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, told journalists at the meeting of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), in Abuja, that Nigeria has two major religions and that each religion is expected to be represented in the leadership structure of the country at all levels, and that doing otherwise triggers animosity and suspicion.
The cleric said CAN had forewarned all political parties against the decision of same-faith long before the party primaries, but the All Progressives Congress (APC) had decided otherwise for whatever reasons known to them.
“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 (SDP) 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.”
The CAN leader was represented at the meeting by Most Rev. Benebo Fubara-Manuel.
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…
“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 paper delivered at IDFP at meeting on his personal capacity, Rev. Fubara-Manuel, described the coming elections as an opportunity to truly know the true number of voters in Nigeria.