The Christian Association of Nigeria has denounced report that it has backed down on its position with respect to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress.
CAN from day one of the emergence of former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima as running mate of APC Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, both Muslims, expressed disapproval of the ticket describing it as an injustice to the Christians, and saying something to the effect that the pair would not get their members’ support at the poll come February 2023.
Report in general circulation emerged of recent that the Christians’ body has changed its position allegedly having met with Tinubu at 70th birthday celebration of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Matthew Kukah, in Abuja.
The report has however, drawn the denial of CAN President, Daniel Okoh, via a statement his Special Assistant (Media and Strategic Communication), Luminous Jannamike, released.
Entitled, “Muslim-Muslim Ticket: CAN maintains its position,” it partly reads, “The attention of the leadership of CAN has been drawn to a media report titled, ‘How Tinubu met, resolved Muslim-Muslim ticket with CAN’, which claimed that the apex Christian body had changed its position regarding the same-faith ticket.
“To say the least, the story is ridiculous, malicious, untrue and should be disregarded in its entirety by all reasonable members of the society. For the records, CAN took a position against the same-faith ticket imbroglio under the leadership of Rev. Samson Ayokunle, its immediate past National President, and as a matter of fact, His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, stands on that same position.
“CAN may not agree with every decision taken by politicians and political parties, but it respects their right to reach conclusions on issues that affect their electoral fortunes so long as they accord with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Electoral Act (2022).
“For the umpteenth time, CAN reiterates that it is non-partisan, but remains willing to partner with all leaders and other relevant stakeholders towards achieving unity, peace and progress in our nation.
“Consequently, the umbrella Christian organisation cannot be antagonistic to any well-meaning political party or group as the nation warms up for a fresh round of elections in 2023 as claimed in the said report.
“In the same vein, it strongly condemns the attempt to make a mountain out of molehill with Tinubu’s presence at the 70th birthday celebration of Rev. Kukah in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“The event was public and the friends of the celebrant and other good-spirited Nigerians donated to the building of The Kukah Centre, which is designed to be a veritable platform to propagate and promote the ideals of democracy and responsible leadership through research and intellectualism.
“The donations, which went directly to The Kukah Centre, have nothing to do with CAN. It is therefore mischievous to insinuate it was a sort of bribe money for Christian leaders to make a U-turn on its stance against same-faith ticket.
“As a faith-based organisation, CAN maintains that its conscience cannot be bought and its prophetic voice cannot be silenced with money.
“Finally, we call on political parties and their candidates to put the nation first in their considerations and prepare to serve the people with earnest and humility.”