The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has advised all candidates of political parties seeking positions in 2023 general elections to be sensitive to issues affecting the country and address them.
The CAN President, Rev. Samson Supo Ayokunle, gave the advice on Sunday at an Inter-Denominational Church Service to mark 2022 Democracy Day in Abuja, with the theme: “ More than Conquerors”.
Ayokunle was represented by the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke, who is also the President and Founder of The Sword of The Spirit Ministries International.
Ayokunle, in the sermon titled “Building a prosperous and united Nigeria”, with the Bible text taken from 2 Sam. 23:3, called on political leaders, particularly those contesting for 2023 elections to pay attention to the pains, concerns, apprehensions of citizens and address them.
He said that the country needed leaders who are sensitive to issues, making bold, fair and just decisions that bring in Nigeria together as one, united nation.
“The scripture says he that those that rule over men must be justice, ruling in the fair of God.
“We urge our politicians, those seeking to rule us come 2023 in the name of God Almighty, please see to it that in your plans, in your decisions, your utterances, your campaign, bring us together as one nation.
“You can rule if there is a nation. If there is no nation or the nation is at war, you cannot rule. Please in your plans, in your decisions, in your campaigns, in your utterances, close the fault lines and do not make them wider.
“This is the wise counsel of the church because we care for this nation, Nigeria.
“Righteousness exalts a nation and if there is no justice, if there is no equity, if there is no fairness, there is no righteousness,” he said.
Ayokunle said that leaders to be elected in 2023 must handle the issue of ethnicity and religion with wisdom and sensitivity.
“We want a nation where everyone is treated fairly, equally, no matter the tribe or the ethnic or whatever parts of the nation you come from. A nation where every Nigerian can call my nation.
“We want our leaders to take decisions that we promote a sense of belonging to bring all Nigerians together from the East, West, North, South, from every part to see Nigeria as their own. This needs to be handled.
“Religion has become a major issue in our national political life. And our politicians need to handle this in a very, very wise, bold and sensitive way.
“To bring Nigerians together, to let Nigerians know that irrespective of your faith, you can practice your faith without fear or molestation in any part of the nation Where you find yourself.
“This is a cry of the church and the leaders of the church are speaking out boldly, very clearly, so that we can handle this situation as it should be handled.”
Ayokunle therefore urged the candidates to look into issues of corruption, insecurity, increasing debt, brain drain in the health sector and challenges facing the education sector.
“Across the nation among the youths in the restlessness to cause trouble. This has to be addressed.
“The education system is in shambles. Public universities are been closed for months and this needs to be addressed decisively.
“Nigerians believe that we have enough money to make our universities a pride, not only to this nation but to the world as they used to be.
“If you look at the health system. The health system has nothing for the people. Our health professionals are frustrated already.
“The doctors that we spent so much money to educate and to raise are migrating in droves to other worlds and back at home quacks are filling the gaps and our people are paying very dearly. This too needs be addressed.”
Ayokunle also warned political parties against flying a Muslim-Muslim ticket for 2023 presidential election, saying it will do Nigeria no good.
He said that every part of Nigeria and religion has competent people with potential to rule the country.
He said that balancing the ticket from both divide of religion would help to reduce the tension in the country, give everybody a sense of belonging, promote peaceful and mutual coexistence without stress.
“While we congratulate the winners for the presidential primaries, we urge them to pay attention to this cry from the church. It is important.
“Please do not try a Muslim-Muslim ticket; is an invitation to chaos. It will not fly. It will set the nation against each other,” he said.
He, however, called on millions of Christians in every part of the nation to know that the candidates produced by all political parties belong to all, both Muslim and Christians.
“We don’t have any quarel with that, they are our brothers. We have been working together to build a united nation, but please do not alienate the church.
“If you choose to heed our call, the Nigerian electorate at the polls, the Nigeria populace will trust you with the presidency and we will build one, united and prosperous nation,” the CAN president said.
He, however, prayed for the peaceful coexistence of Nigerians, peace of the country and end to violence, insurgency and kidnapping in the country.
The second bible reading Romance 8:31- 39 was read by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the House of Rep. Deputy Chief Whip, Nkiruka Onyejeocha.
The first and second reeditions were taken by the Non-Denominational Christian Choir Association of Nigeria (NCCN) and ECWA Garki Church, Council Choir, respective. (NAN)