The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said whichever party emerges victorious in next year’s presidential election must be prepared to address issues of insecurity, corruption, equity, justice, economy and lifting of millions of Nigerians out of abject poverty.
Also ahead of next year’s general election, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo has urged Nigerians not to fear or despair over threats of calamity that may accompany the polls, saying God would take control and ensure that things went well.
CAN also said candidates and their political parties should be ready to accept the will of God and should not allow the fear of losing elections to lead them to violence and rigging before, during and after 2023 elections.
The message was contained in a sermon by the President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, during the Carol of Nine Lessons at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Speaking on the agenda for the incoming administration after May 29, 2023 transition, Okoh said: “Let the resources and positions in governance be shared equitably among people of all regions and tribes. Equitable distribution of positions should not threaten the existence of any ethnic or religious group rather it will help us to harness the abundance of potentials in our dear country for national development.”
He further advised that the next administration should, “give a sense of inclusivity to the vulnerable amongst us – the Persons living with Disabilities and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),” adding that this would reduce the level of insecurity and ensure the contribution of such persons to national development.
Okoh also addressed concerns over threats to peaceful polls, saying Nigerians should not allow anybody to instill fears in them and that they should vote for those who would govern with compassion and sincerity in order to make life much better for everyone in Nigeria.
He said: “We should not allow the fear of losing elections to lead us to violence and rigging before, during and after 2023 elections. Men may have their ideas about good leaders, but it is God that chooses.
“Nigerians should therefore pray to God to open our eyes to be able to discern and vote for those who will govern with compassion and sincerity in order to make life much better for everyone in Nigeria.
“Politicians should engage in electioneering campaigns and elections proper with the mindset that after all genuine efforts are made, we should surrender to God for final decision.”
The CAN president further spoke on the lessons to be learnt from Christmas celebration.
“Dear Brethren, in the same way, the story of Christmas addresses our circumstances, our fears and our future. Fear only points at negatives that do not bring progress.
“We should not allow fear to stop us from loving our neighbour as the Lord taught us. The story of Christmas is the one that mends relationships and brings unity. “Christians should demonstrate understanding and give leadership to promoting mutual understanding and unity among the people of Nigeria. We should not speak the language of despair and division.
“Let the story of Christmas move us to speak the language of peace to our neighbours regardless of differences in religion, ethnicity or political leanings. We should not be afraid to come close and engage people of other religions and ethnic groups in a sincere conversation that will promote mutual respect, mutual understanding and unity.
“The truth is that we have no other choice; we all live in this geo-political entity called Nigeria and we must find a way to live in an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence.
“We should not allow fear to stop us from working against injustice. We must pursue justice for all. In the face of apparent uncertainties, the tendency is for people to run back to their comfort zones and exclude others.
“In the world that appears to be moving towards exclusivity the redeemed should show courage to open doors of healthy relationship with others no matter how we are hurting. The message of Christmas is
that Jesus came for all,” he said.
However, Osinbajo’s whose message was read by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, during the ceremony, said Nigerians should view the country’s current predicaments in a different way and always have positive expectations.
“Your theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Fear Not’. This is a very important subject for every one of us even as we approach 2023 which has been described as a year that Nigeria seems to be at a crossroad.
“As we approach the year 2023. Yes, we are going to have elections; we are going to have a census exercise. All these issues come with a lot of questions, but we have an assurance from our Lord and Saviour. He will not let not our hearts be troubled. We should believe in Him and believe in God,” he said.
In his speech, the Chairman, CAN, Bauchi State, Rev. Abraham Dimieus urged Christians to choose leaders who have the fear of God, respect for the rule of law, justice, fairness for all as well as respect for religious and ethnic diversity in the country.
According to him, “The year 2023 is a year of elections, and it is characterised with so many uncertainties. One things i request from the church in Bauchi is to apply wisdom in order to come out of this elections, strong and victorious.
“CAN has no political party that is her own, both from the federal, state and local government, but we urge all to choose leaders that fear God, are honest and trustworthy, have respect for the rule of law, justice and fairness for all, respect for religious and ethnic diversity.
“They must love Nigeria above self and such a leader must be healthy and mentally sound, and indeed must be a patriotic Nigerian to the core.”