By Sam Eyoboka,
As nominations for the election of the next National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, closed Friday, the General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake and the legal adviser of the august body, Barrister Albert Uko have de-bunked rumours making the rounds that the outgoing president has an anointed candidate.
Rev. Asake and Mr. Uko also confirmed that a new national president of CAN to succeed Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor will emerge on May 17 and the following day would be used by the National Executive Council, NEC, for the ratification of the association’s new constitution which has been in the works for the last two years.
Speaking in an interview, Rev. Asake contended that mischievous persons are just introducing politics into an ordinary spiritual exercise to elect a leadership for the Association, stressing “they are introducing politics that we are practicing in Nigeria where when somebody is leaving office, he has to install some other person who will do his bidding.
“That is not the case in the Church. What will the CAN president stand to gain by doing that? Nobody is going to come from his bloc to contest. People don’t know CAN, that is why they are just clamouring and some mischievous persons are just manufacturing lies for their selfish reasons. They should realize that this is God’s work,” he added.
Continuing, the CAN Scribe said: “The outgoing president has run CAN from his personal resources. My brother, if you know the man…this is a man who has gained nothing here but abuses and every negative thing because of his standing for the right he believes in. This is the man that has spent his resources to keep us going in CAN… why will he want to anoint some-body? To cover what for him? Or to do what for him?
“It simply does not make sense at all, but this is Nigeria. We always believe the lie and ignore the truth,” Asake emphasized.
Speaking in the same vein, the legal adviser argued that whoever is making that allegation must be making very malicious and unfounded statement “because the current CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is a straightforward person who would not meddle in such matters. The best I know about him is that everybody is qualified to run.
“He wouldn’t do a thing like that. Anybody that says that is just mischief. He has repeated it several times that whoever would emerge as the next election would be as a result of a very fair election. In fact, he doesn’t even have a hand as to who the blocs would vote for and you know that his bloc is dis-qualified from contesting the election. So, if you ask me I would say it is absolute falsehood because he cannot go and influence the candidate of any of the other four blocs that make up CAN,” Uko explained.
Why nomination was extended
Asked why the nomination process was extended by one week, the General Secretary said it was as a result of the kidnap that happened in one of the five blocs of CAN.
Asked how the kidnap of the TEKAN/ECWA leaders will affect the electoral process, Asake explained that he was in no position to determine that, saying: “I don’t know. It’s their bloc and now that their leader is out, they have to decide on what to do. We have given them one week grace and on Wednesday we received their nominations for the electoral college.
“If they have a candidate to present for the presidency, fine. We have given them time frame to do that,” he stated, explaining that the CAN constitution does not stipulate that the leader of any bloc must necessarily represent the bloc.
“When election is coming, once you are a Christian and you are a member of a particular bloc, you are expected to be endorsed by that bloc to contest the election. Any person coming from any bloc must be dully endorsed by the bloc,” Rev. Asake explained.
On the number of nominees so far received, he could not volunteer information because “we are just waiting for the closure and I will hand over to the 15-man electoral committee (3 per bloc) that has already been constituted.
“I will be submitting the list of nominees to the electoral committee on Monday (tomorrow) and they have till the end of this month to complete their work and recommend two candidates to the National Executive Council of the Association,” he explained.
According to him, May 17 and 18 have already been set aside for NEC meeting were a new CAN president will emerge out of the two high flyers recommended by the Electoral College while the runner-up will automatically become the Vice President of the Association.
How a new CAN president will emerge
The process leading to the election of a new CAN president begins with a call for nominations from four out of the five blocs that make up the body. The bloc that produced the outgoing president is precluded from the race and each nomination must be endorsed by the head of the bloc, meaning that there can be only four contestants for the post of National President of CAN.
Then the outgoing president is expected to constitute an 15-member electoral college made up of three members drawn from each of the five blocs. The duty of the electoral college, according to the legal adviser, is to interview the candidates and screen them to make sure they have the requisite qualification and experience.
“At the end of the screening the electoral college is expected to pick the best two candidates which it would present to the National Executive Council of the body for proper voting. That is election will now be conducted at the NEC meeting. Of the two candidates, anyone that has a simple majority vote of council members auto-matically becomes CAN president and the runner-up the vice.