From Romanus Ugwu, Fred Itua, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has disowned some clerics who posed as Bishops at the unveiling of the running mate of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress Kashim Shettima.
In spite of the antagonistic position of the umbrella Christian body, to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, a coalition of Bishops, numbering over 50, yesterday, occupied a vantage position inside the main hall of the Musa Yar’adu Centre, venue of the formal unveiling.
Dressed in different shapes and sizes of skullcap and cassocks, their arrival was heralded by chorus of, ‘The bishops ae here, ‘The bishops are here…”
They were accorded conspicuous position before they were later relocated to the galary upstairs. However, they were not given any spiritual role to play throughout the duration of the event including the traditional function of conducting the prayers other than the recognition from the vice presidential candidate.
Reacting, CAN maintained that the decision of the ruling party to field candidates from same religion was unacceptable and would be resisted.
Its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, described the acclaimed men of God who appeared in Bishops’ attires, as hired “men of God” that were commissioned to play a particular script at the event.
“These people are not members of CAN, they may even not be Christians or ordained men of God in the first place, but people who might have been hired to play the script they played at the event. No member of CAN can be found openly in such an event that was designed to ridicule Christians in Nigeria. Please ignore them, they are after what they would eat.”
He insisted that CAN would not reverse its earlier position on Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He said: “I saw this coming and we raised the alarm for the world to hear and see us, and also called for a halt and reversal of the decision, unfortunately, that never happened. The party has taken its decision and we would come out with our unanimous decision soon.
“All I can say now is that we are studying the situation and will come out soon with a decision that would be properly communicated to all Christians in Nigeria. We don’t want to be speaking with discordant tunes on this matter. So, just exercise patient with us and expect that our would be properly and formally communicated to Nigerians.”
On whether CAN would change its decision after meeting with APC candidate and officials, the General Secretary said the association is not a secret cult and its activities not restricted to Christians alone, but for the betterment of the whole nation irrespective of faith, ethnic background, political affiliation and other differences.
“CAN is not made up of dummies, but great people with intelligence and vast knowledge. We have men of God who have proven their worth in the affairs of human,” he said.
One of the “Bishops” at the unveiling, who identified himself as Bishop Oguba O, General Overseer of Winners Church International located in 22 states and FCT, said church leaders should be concerned about praying for new leadership rather than busy themselves with tickets of political parties.
“If CAN has taken a decision on Muslim-Muslim ticket, I am not aware of it. The body has not communicated to me in writing over the decision to oppose Muslim-Muslim joint ticket. I am surprised you are asking me about the decision of CAN. My ministry is duly registered in the Corporate Affairs Commission. I am not just running ministry.
“The truth of the matter about Muslim-Muslim ticket is that an issue I have tried to call the attention of all clergies to differentiate between whether we are politicians or servants of God. As far as I am concerned, the body of Christ is not a political party .
“So, if APC decides to adopt Muslim-Muslim ticket, I have no business with that. What concerns me is the economy of the country and I will continue to advice all clergies in this country not to use their selfish interest to bring down the economy because the economy is greater than all religion in this country.
“The clergies should be concerned about the security of the country not the issue of same faith ticket by any political party. It is purely the decision of the political parties and if CAN must take a stand, they would have gotten our addresses with CAC and send circulars to us. What should concern us is to pray for the political parties,” he insisted.