By Sam Eyoboka
OUTGOING Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and president of Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle yesterday won the first round of the CAN presidential election, defeating his only rival eight votes to two.
Sources close to the CAN Electoral College which sat yesterday to screen the nominees for the election, said Rev. Ayokunle who is representing the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) polled eight votes against his only rival, Prof. Joseph Otubu of the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) who scored two votes. Five members of the 15-member Electoral College abstained.
According to the constitution of CAN, the Electoral College headed by erstwhile Chaplain to two Nigerian presidents and Head, Aso Rock Villa Chapel, Rev. William Okoye is expected to screen the nominated candidates and recommend two of them for the National Executive Council for election.
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN and the Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria/Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, CPFN/PFN, which nominated the outgoing president, did not present candidates for the election.
Following the unresolved dispute in the TEKAN/ECWA bloc the number of candidates for the CAN president was reduced to just two which, some now reason, should have made the Electoral College to have recommended the two to NEC for the election.
Some members, who spoke to Vanguard yesterday said the Electoral College had erred in its operation when it went beyond its brief to conduct an election among the two persons with some suggesting that the election would create a credibility problem for CAN which is desirous of giving opportunities to every participating bloc.
A senior cleric belonging to the CCN, told our correspondent yesterday that the current development may negate the rotational principle of CAN, insisting that the Electoral College should have stopped at screening the candidates for their qualifications.
The two candidates would now be presented to the NEC which is scheduled to meet again in mid-June to elect the successor of outgoing CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.