CAN Instructs Christians to Vote for Candidates, not Parties

According to a News Report on New Telegraph, the Umbrella body for Christians, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has enjoined its members to vote for candidates and not parties in the forthcoming general elections scheduled for Saturday, February 25 and March 12 for the presidential, National Assembly, governorship and House of Assembly elections, respectively.

CAN Instructs Christians to Vote for Candidates, not Parties

The body, while setting out qualities a candidate must possess to be voted for by Christians made the directive which was contained in a document produced by the Political and Strategy Committee of the CAN, and which Sunday Telegraph obtained.

According to the document, in considering a candidate of their choice, he/she must have what CAN called, character, capacity, competence and policies or (CCCP). Under character, the candidate must have the “fear of God, honesty and truthfulness (in his/ her dealings with others). He must have respect for the rule of law, justice and fairness for all, respect for religious and ethnic diversity.

The document added that anybody to be voted for must have: “Compassion and discipline as well as clean and credible lifestyle, must not be a member of cults, must not be involved in drugs and witchcraft. “Such a candidate, ” it continued, “must not be a fanatic and must not be associated with Boko Haram or other violent religion.

“Under competence, the candidate must have a record of “quality performance in previous positions, good education sufficient to manage a complex society, effective management of human and natural resources.”

Talking about capacity, CAN wants its members to vote for a candidate who has the “ability to envision transformation and to communicate the vision of the same.

“Must have good health, sound mind and physical fitness for the job (office being sought for). It is not just the three Cs alone, the candidate must also have programmes under what it called policies; and for this, CAN advocates for: “state police, religious neutrality of the Nigerian state, enforcement of fundamental rights of all Nigerians, restructuring to decentralise governance, equitable enforcement sharing of executive positions, ethnic and religious representations in military and security agencies.”

Furthermore, the candidate must be one that has determination for all Nigerian people.

It said: “No to RUGA (Rural Grazing Area), but yes to ranching.”

Continuing, it said that it wants education and free healthcare for all Nigerians (including Almajiri).

Furthermore, the document said: “No to open grazing (rather modernization of animal husbandry, local control of local economy (resource control), including waters, rivers and forests.”

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), an arm of the CAN, devoted to this, has set up the Directorate of Politics and Good Governance, headed by a National Director, Pastor Femi Emmanuel, a former deputy speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly.

In a previous interview, Pastor Femi Emmanuel, who is also the General Overseer, Living Springs International Church, Lagos, said they were working towards encouraging Christians to set up same, especially, the mega churches such as the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Deeper Life and Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM)

He said: “The DPG has established the structure that we have appointed 36 State Directors, 774 Local Government Directors and we are trying to install the 8,080 wards.”

It would be recalled that the RCCG, in March last year, during its Special Holy Ghost Service, announced the formation of its Directorate of Politics and Governance, which has since been driving the process.

Just like the political parties, it has structures in all states, senatorial districts, local governments as well as wards.

At a meeting recently, the church enjoined all to join political parties of their choices and encouraged them to be part of the executive committees and the caucuses as well as be part of the delegates as they are the ones who decide who becomes the standard bearers of the party and eventually run for the elective office.

Sunday Telegraph gathered that although it is late for them to promote or adopt a particular candidate, they would support any member of the church, who decides to contest for  an office. But subsequently in 2027, they may form a political party as is done elsewhere. This move has birthed multiple reactions, especially among Muslim counterparts, who have also rallied members to vote for their own, especially the same faith ticket.

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