From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The National Publicity Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Emmah Isong, and Cross River State chairman of fellowship, Dr Lawrence Ekwok, have taken a swipe at Governor Kashim Shettima’s alleged hiring of bishops at his unveiling ceremony as APC vice presidential candidate as a ploy to curry Christains’ favour, calling it a national embarrassment.
Shettima was unveiled in Abuja on Wednesday, July 20 as the APC presidential running mate to Ahmed Tinubu.
The event witnessed a parade of a coalition of bishops, supposedly to add colour to the ceremony and give an impression of wide acceptability by the Christain community.
Expressing displeasure at the party’s allegedly hiring “bishops” to grace their unveiling event, Bishop Emmah Isong said in a statement that it is high time political leaders cease wooing religious leaders to their side.
“It is not difficult to get a tailor to sow those clothes. Moreso, there are many hungry so-called clerics who can attend such meetings at the rate of N1,500 per head. Politicians can rent crowd including clergymen,” the National Publicity Secretary of PFN stated.
Related: CAN disowns bishops at Shettima’s unveiling
Also reacting, the Cross River State Chairman of PFN, Dr Lawrence Ekwok, described the action of the APC trying to curry Christains’ favour through an illegal way as the height of deceit and desperation, saying “that is why Nigerians should be careful about who to vote for in 2023 as their President.”
“If some persons can arrange touts and sow some gowns and give them to wear and pay them N40,000 after the event as against the N100, 000 promised each member of the coalition of bishops, that tells you those persons could do anything when they are elected.
“One of the videos of the so-called ‘bishops’ wearing their robes in the field and sharing their money after the event is already in circulation on social media. So Nigerians need to be very vigilant as we approach 2023,” he stated.
A Calabar-based cleric, Apostle Ekapong, who was number 26 on the purported list of the hired bishops, has denied being among the hired bishops.
Apostle Ubi, in a telephone conversation in Calabar on Thursday, said: “As I am talking to you now, I am at 8-Miles, Calabar, Cross River State and have not travelled to Abuja in the last three months.
“I am in Calabar. I never travelled. No call was put across to me by anybody either. I’m not aware and I am not an APC member. So they have decided to use that to collect money. God will judge them.
“I am calling on the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to go after those fake people. It shows that if APC can go this way, the 2023 election is not safe for us,” he added.