Thu. May 30th, 2024
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh

By Ene Oshaba

The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Archbishop Daniel C. Okoh, has restated  the organization’s position to remain non-partisan, while encouraging Christians to join partisan politics across the country. 

He also called for equity and fairness in appointive positions and employment when a new government is formed.

Archbishop Okoh made the call in Abuja while speaking on the theme, “Citizens Participation in Good Governance” during the first plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

According to Okoh,  the exclusion from sensitive appointments breeds anger and detachment from participation in governance, appealing to the Catholic Bishops to deliberate on this and lend their voice to a call for equity and fairness in appointive positions when a new government is formed.

“Despite several calls on CAN by some prominent Nigerians and some church leaders as well, to endorse or promote one party or candidate against the other, CAN leadership refused to bulge because we have our members in all the political parties in Nigeria and cannot in good conscience, endorse one against the other.

“In order to provide a guide for Nigerian voters, who constantly ask the leadership of CAN to endorse a candidate so that all Christians will vote in one direction, the Committee on Politics and Strategy of CAN has provided some guidelines to help voters in making informed choices.

“These guidelines include factors like competence, character and capability. I believe that this guide that is captured in a pamphlet and made available to all Christians through the various offices of CAN in the states and FCT even before the primary elections by the various political parties through the State CAN offices, is explicit and sufficient,” he said.

“CAN at all levels has continued to encourage her members particularly those that are called into political leadership to, as a matter of necessity, join political parties of their choice and ensure that the suffering of the masses occasioned by misgovernance due to incompetence, selfishness and wickedness are reversed when they are given any opportunity to serve.

“However, such opportunities will come if the government of the day opens the space and gives appointment by considering our diversities as a nation. Appointment and employment must not be lopsided; and sensitive positions must be evenly and equitably shared in order to build confidence among the various ethno-religious groups in Nigeria. 

Exclusion from sensitive appointments breeds anger and detachment from participation in governance. I trust that the CBCN will deliberate on this and lend their voice to a call for equity and fairness in appointive positions when a new government is formed,” he stated. 

He further noted her role as an advocate of good governance, recalling that CAN had in October 2022, invited all the political parties and their presidential flagbearers for an interface with church leaders in Nigeria which provided an opportunity under a convivial atmosphere to gauge the priority of the candidates and closely scrutinize their thoughts for a better Nigeria.

“It is important to note that this kind of interface with the Presidential candidates will continue with whoever wins the election. CAN intends to hold whoever emerges as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria accountable for the promises made during electioneering campaign period,” he said.

“As part of our preparedness to participate actively in the forth-coming General Elections of 2023, CAN had registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2023 general elections. At the moment, we have concluded Training of 1, 200 (One thousand, two hundred) accredited observers at the zonal and state levels. 

Among the 1,200 are 280 Trainers of Trainers (TOTS) who will cascade the training down to the States and Local government levels. There are also some International observers from All African Conference of Churches (AACC) that would join our local observers team. This will be our modest contribution in ensuring a free, fair and credible election in Nigeria this year,” he added.

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