106 total views, 1 views today
The forthcoming June election of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has continued to elicit variegated remarks as the day draws nearer. Many stakeholders and observers have expressed disappointment over the level of politicking attending the campaign towards the election. They wonder if such was necessary if the motive of seeking election was indeed service to God.
They have also urged those in the race to pursue their ambition with every sense of humility and exhibit the virtue of Christ-likeness.
Recently, the Electoral College cleared Caleb Ahima, the president of Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (TEKAN), and Samson Ayokunle, the president of Nigerian Baptist Convention and current president of CAN, to contest in the race for the new CAN leadership scheduled for June.
TEKAN means Fellowship of the Churches of Christ in Nigeria and consists 15 churches in northern Nigeria, which share same bloc with Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA).
If anything, the June election could either be a vote of confidence on the incumbent to continue in office or signal a change of leadership. CAN members include the CSN, CCN, CPFN/PFN, OAIC, and TEKAN/ECWA.
Ahima, while making his intention known said it is God who gives leadership, as he prays that God’s will be done. “The journey to leadership cannot be permitted in any way to divide God’s people or cast aspersion on the image of the church.
“My nomination by TEKAN for the contest and ECWA’s acceptance of the nomination is the voice of God, since, quite often, the voice of the people is the voice of God,” said Ahima.
In a bid to actualise Ahima ambition of leading the body of Christ, a five-member committee was set up to facilitate the achievement of his aspiration, with different mandates, including reaching out to ECWA, that jointly form one of the five blocs of CAN.
Speaking with BDSUNDAY, Joseph Ojo, the Archbishop of Calvary Kingdom Church (CKC), Lagos said there would be no change of leadership if the current president has the confidence of the people for a new tenure.
According to him, CAN presidency is for three years and everyone knows that he has tenure that is a standard practice.
“If what any incumbent has done is viewed by the Electoral College; good, it does not have to be if there is a need for change of leadership. It is when the tenure expires what the person has been able to do for three years will determine the need to have him go for another three years or not. For now, I don’t think election should be done out of a need; when the tenure expires what you have done should be the yardstick to determine continuation,” said Joseph.
Stephen Ogundipe of the Baptist Seminary, Lagos told BDSUNDAY that the church needs someone bold enough to speak truth to power to lift up the name of the Lord in the nation. “I think he has been trying, he has been doing his best and if he has the opportunity they should allow him to go once again,” he stated.
Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, the Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos in a phone interview with BDSUNDAY, said he wished not to comment on the forthcoming CAN election, saying the body has lost track with its primary purpose.
“Right from the time I left CAN, I have never seen anything objective; honestly. When we were there, we were fighting for the welfare, security, but these people are for their pocket. I don’t want to have anything to do with it,” he stated.
Some analysts, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, expressed disappointment over the conduct of CAN leadership in recent times, particularly the scandals that have trailed its romance with political actors in the country.
“Going by the series of scandals that have trailed CAN in recent times in the area of money and all that, it is my considered opinion that election of any leader must put into consideration such conducts that demean the Christendom and the gospel of truth which we preach. It appears to me that CAN has lost focus and those vying for its leadership must first go to Calvary for a fresh cleansing. To them, what is at stake now is silver and gold- mammon. By the way, why must CAN election be so hot and drawing attention if the objective indeed is to serve the body of Christ,” a cleric, who asked not to be named, said.
According to the cleric, “The contenders must eschew bitterness and show good ambassadors of Christians in the manner they go about their campaign.”
SEYI JOHN SALAU