Don’t allow politicians to manipulate you, SDP presidential candidate tells CAN leaders

By Tunde Joshua

Leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have been admonished to exercise caution and not to fall into the traps of actors in the political class across the nation.

He advised them to shun manipulation and any action that will set the Christian community against any other religion or give the impression that the 2023 general election is a tug of war.

Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prince Adewole Adebayo said this on Thursday in Abuja during the 2022 Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), General Assembly and Valedictory Service for its outgoing President Rev, Dr Samson Ayokunle.

This is coming against the backdrop that some leaders of the CAN have become too involved in the controversies surrounding the nomination of candidates and their running mates in a partisan manner which has been sending the wrong signals.

Instead of predicting who becomes the next President of Nigeria, Adebayo charged Nigerians, especially the clerics, to pray for peaceful polls.

The presidential hopeful said “the first role the church should play is not to create a situation that seems to pitch the Christians against anybody but to unite the country and to give a message that is ecumenical, not only among the Christians but among all the communities in Nigeria.

“And I reminded CAN that the Priests, the Bishops, the Primate and their eminences are people who are called as the instrument of God. This is the moment where politicians use anybody.

“They should not be used by anybody, except by the spirit of God. And that in this politics, they should not become instruments of men, they should remain an instrument of God. And nobody will use them for politics.

“And that they should pray for the country and get us together. If the church is united in righteousness, and it is not against anybody and it is searching for God’s answer, for God’s guidance, to ensure the moment of rescue has come for this country, God should give us the righteous one to lead this country, the church would have played a major role in bringing the country together.

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“What I mean is that, first, it is good that the Christian community did their transition successfully without rancour, without a problem. And it has become an example of what Nigeria can be.

“There are five blocs in CAN, but if you come today, you see all of them are happy together. And you also see that almost the smallest of them all, the youngest of them all is now the leader of CAN.

“And it is a biblical thing that when God does his things, it is not about noise, it is not about who is making the most noise. Everything about God is ordained.

“And I was reminding the Christian community that in this time of tribulation, one, we should not lose hope. We should know that it is a test of faith. And all the troubles that the Christian church and the rest of Nigerians are going through are meant to test our faith and to answer with prayers.

“Secondly, that a Christian church is not only for Christians, and the unity of the body of Christ is not to create a Christian community versus the rest of Nigeria but to create a unity for the country.

“And that the church is an inspiration for the whole of Nigeria. And that the mercy of God upon Nigeria includes the presence of Christians in Nigeria.

“And that as we are looking for leadership, to rescue this country, and to be righteous, we should remember what happened when the children of Israel, the army of Israel were facing Goliath in philistines. It was not the big generals, it was not the mighty ones that God used to rescue them.

“It was a lowly David who they never knew until that day. So, they should pray and they should not follow predictions, they should allow the Lord minister to them so that within, the humble one may arise and bring righteousness to the country. That is my message to the church.”

At the event, the immediate past President, Reverend Samson Ayokunle, handed over to his successor, Most Reverend Daniel Okoh.

The new president, Okoh, called on Christians and Nigerians at large to provide resources to aid in nation-building and pledged that the association will preserve its dignity despite issues the nation faces.

Okoh urged Nigerians to participate in electing the right leaders by obtaining a Permanent Voters Card (PVC), stating that individuals without this essential document cannot participate fully.

According to him: “The era of saying that politics is a dirty game is over because we have to get involved in what concerns us. We are doing that through the structures we have in CAN.

His predecessor and outgoing President, Rev Dr Ayokunle urged the Federal Government to restructure the security architecture of the country to ensure safety of its citizens and development of the nation.

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