2023: US-based clerics urge CAN, PFN to stand firm against same faith ticket

*Pastors under the auspices of the Nigerian Faith-Based Community Organisation, in the United States, have said the same faith ticket in Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Election will only succeed in further polarising the already fractured country along ethnic and religious lines

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Faith-Based Community Organisation (NFBCO), based in the United States (US), has urged the Christian leaders and pastors, especially under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), to stand firm in their stance against the same faith ticket in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.

Speaking from New Jersey on behalf of the Nigerian Faith-Based Community Organisation, Bishop Samuel Ayeni, President of NFBCO, noted that Nigeria is a country where religious pluralism is practised.

Bishop Ayeni explained that any individual or group that is unwilling to support religious inclusion in Nigeria should actually be rejected collectively by all religions in the country.

The New Jersey-based famous cleric and pastor at the Christ Apostolic Church stated that CAN and PFN have rightly led the line by rejecting the same faith ticket in 2023.

CAN is an umbrella organisation containing several Christian denominations in Nigeria.

“Nigerians need to go a step further by ensuring that they go to the polls and stand firm against the same faith ticket.

“Any same-faith ticket is a vote against fairness, justice, and equity. It should be rejected by all and sundry in the interest of national unity,” said he.

Bishop Ayeni also stated that “it will only succeed in further polarising the already fractured nation along ethnic and religious lines.

“The adoption of the same religion ticket is a lost opportunity to unite the nation, not a gain in any way.”

According to him, “CAN and PFN have played their part by taking a stand against same faith ticket, it is down to the citizens to ensure that equity, fairness, and justice are maintained.”

The Bishop as well noted that the 2023 Elections is a battle for the soul and future of Nigeria, stressing that Nigeria needs a ticket that will unite the country, not divide it.

In his comment on the same matter, Bishop Wale Oke, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, stated the PFN is against the same faith ticket because it stands against the principles of fairness, balance, equity and justice.

Bishop Oke also said: “Muslim-Muslim ticket means over 54 percent of the population will be marginalised and shut out. If the party doesn’t listen to us, then they will meet up at the polls.”

The cleric stated the idea is to mobilise those who don’t have PVCs to register towards delivering “block Christian votes against any party that presents the Muslim-Muslim ticket.”

Archbishop Daniel Okoh, newly elected President of CAN, has reiterated the fact that the church has made its decision on same faith ticket known long over two years before the political parties held their primaries in the country.

“We are very proactive and very serious to sensitise Christians that there is nothing bad in engaging in politics, but we can’t be partisan as CAN.

“We have made our stand known on same faith ticket two years ago before party primaries.

“We are not in support of Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket,” Archbishop Okoh said during a visit to the CAC Headquarters, in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

Similarly, Pastor Samuel O. Oladele, President of Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria and Overseas,  said the time had come for Christians in Nigeria to consider the interest of the Kingdom of God.

Pastor Oladele stated: “It is time we must demonstrate to the world that Christians in Nigeria can’t be taken for granted,” adding that CAC will be guided by instruction given by CAN.”

It was also learnt the stance of Christian leaders and the Church on same faith ticket has been validated after two videos made the rounds on the social media.

Hon. Jabiru Tsauri, Director-General of APC Katsina Governorship Candidate Dikko Radda, reportedly heightened the fears of most Nigerians October 3, 2022, at a campaign rally in Futuna zone of the North-West state in the country.

Tsauri was quoted to have said that if the Muslim-Muslim ticket does not win, Islam has failed.

He said in a video shared by Sahara Reporters that “if Asiwaju Tinubu fails to win 2023 (Presidential) Election, it is like Islam has failed.”

Likewise, a Northern cleric confirmed that Muslim-Muslim ticket was an experiment to assert Islam.

In a video on the social media, he said, “Nigeria belongs to Muslims. We’re testing the Muslim/Muslim ticket to prove it; so that the world will believe that Nigeria belongs to Muslims, after we defeat them (the infidels) in the (presidential) election.

“By the time we win the (presidential) election in the two (North-East and North-West) regions, the other regions will be a walkover.”

The cleric also stated: “Brethren, if you don’t get your PVCs, you are helping the infidels to oppress Muslims.

“Right now, we have three Muslims running for President.”

He added: “But just before the election, we will pick one of them and vote for him, and ask the other Muslim presidential candidates to concede.

“This is so because it is paramount that a Muslim must continue to preside over this country.

“No matter how bad a Muslim presidential candidate is, he is still better than an infidel (Christian) candidate.”

It is recalled the Christian Association of Nigeria, in September, restated its stance against the same faith ticket.

The Christian body also dismissed reports that some of its members visited Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his Abuja office.

The CAN clarified “the attention of the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria, 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 has 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.”

It also said: “For the records, CAN took a position against the same-faith ticket imbroglio under the leadership of Rev. Dr. 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 to 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).”

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