A delegation of Abuja-based pastors and bishops on Sunday threw their weight behind the Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who they described as having the right frame of mind to rule the country.
The Christians Association of Nigeria, hours after the endorsement, however, kicked against the move, saying that CAN is standing on its earlier stance on ‘No to same faith ticket.’
The endorsement of the former Lagos State governor, by clerics under the aegis of Nigerian Coalition of Pastors for Good Leadership, took place after a town hall meeting with some party chieftains of Tinubu’s support group, City Boy Movement.
In a statement jointly signed by the coalition president, Apostle Babatunde Oguntimehin and secretary, Revd Friday Obi, the ministers disclosed that it would be unfair for Nigerians to sacrifice the capacity of the APC candidate on the altar of the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The statement read in parts, “For a start, we are fully in support of the power shift to South after President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, would have ruled for eight years. This is for equity and fairness as well as in the spirit of the existing unwritten rule to have power rotate between the North and the South.
“We were left to choose between His Excellencies Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Peter Gregory Obi, who are the frontline candidates from the South. After consideration of so many critical factors and wide consultation, we have decided to settle for the candidacy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.”
Oguntimehin hinted that their decision to endorse Tinubu is affected by a number of factors.Continuing, the coalition president described Nigeria as a complex nation that can only be governed by someone with demonstrable experience, capacity, ability and capability, which were evident in the Tinubu/Shettima ticket.
He added that the APC national leader has remained loyal to the cause of Nigeria, which was demonstrated through his involvement in National Democratic Coalition activities that brought the military to its knees and ushered in the current democracy in 1999.
“We have since noted that making religion or faith the top factor in choosing a candidate for the nation has never helped and will never help this nation. We cannot therefore sacrifice quality leadership on the altar of religion or tribe,” he said.
His position was also corroborated by Head of Mobilisation for the City Boy Movement, Francis Shoga, who said Nigerians should look beyond religion and ethnicity to choose its leaders.
Meanwhile, Luminous Jannamike, Special Assistant on Media to the CAN President, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, kicked against the endorsement, saying the group of clerics is a faceless one.
Jannamike disclosed that as much as the body cannot prevent individuals and self-acclaimed ministers from carrying out their activities, they cannot be seen joining issues with religious blocs not affiliated with CAN.
He said, “The message is very simple and clear. We still stand on our earlier stance of ‘No to same faith ticket.’ As far as we are concerned, they are a faceless group. We can really be seen joining issues with them. They are free to do what they want to do.
“We need to be conscious of the fact that people have right to congregate under any platform they want and say whatever they want. These people are not affiliated to CAN and we don’t even know them. They (Abuja pastors) are individuals who chose to endorse Tinubu. Good luck to them!”
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