By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, has said Nigerians will not use political party as a deciding factor in the choice of candidate to succeed the President Muhammadu Buhari after his tenure in 2023.
According to him, Nigerians have gone beyond casting their votes based on the political party fielding candidates.
The Archbishop, who stated this while delivering the sermon at the 2022 International Men’s Conference of Christ Holy Church International in Abuja on Sunday, insisted that the electorate, particularly the Christians will vote for candidates in the next general elections using their current capacities and antecedents as criteria.
The sermon was entitled, ‘By Faith, Give Leadership’.
According to him, “It is important that people of God at this time should have their eyes open. Before casting your votes, make sure you know the people you are giving your votes.
“In Nigeria, things are beginning to change. Gone are those days when people vote based on the political party fielding the candidate; when once you have the ticket of a particular party, you are covered.
“Today, people are looking at individuals, their credibility, character, experience, capacities and antecedents in relation to the positions they want to occupy.”
The CAN President decried the menace of vote-buying in the country’s electoral system, saying the people must begin to interrogate the plans and programmes of politicians before deciding who will get their mandate for the next four years.
He, however, cautioned politicians against making false promises to amass the people’s vote.
He said, “Nigerians have come to a point where they feel that they need to sit down and negotiate with the presidential and governorship candidates.
“We must ask them: ‘What is our portion in your administration (if elected)?’ They should be able to convince you before you can cast their votes for them. Nobody should take away your future from you. Don’t let anyone give you money to buy your conscience and four years of joy.
“To the people who are in politics, when you are making promises, make sure you are telling the people what you can fulfil.
“There’s no need promising us you can give us heaven on earth when you know that given the realities on the ground you cannot be able to fulfill it.”
Okoh, who doubles as the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church International, also raised the alarm over the use of youths for political thuggery, noting that the development portended danger for the nation’s democracy.
He said, “Our youths should not allow themselves to be used as political thugs. The era of thuggery in our electoral system is over. They must positively participate in the political process. I am saying with a sense of duty that our youths must not give in to electoral violence.
“We must expand the space to inject new ideas into the systems. The world is moving on, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.”
The CAN President described Nigeria as one of the best places to live in, because of the liberties the people enjoy compared to the citizens of other nations.
“Nigeria, for me, is one of the best places to live in. I love Nigeria, and we must put our collective freedom to good use,” he said.
The cleric noted that the problems facing Christians were not peculiar to Nigeria, but tasked the body of Christ to demonstrate leadership by providing hope to the rest of the country by faith in God.
He explained, “The Church is under attack, but not only in Nigeria. Globally, the truth is under attack.
“There’s no generation that had not had its own challenges. We are facing ours and must find a way to wriggle ourselves out of it.
“Some many things polarise the people at this time, but as Christians, we need to always stand together, knowing that we serve the same Lord and share in the same heritage.
“It is our unity and oneness that gives us the force to contend with whatever that opposes our very existence. When we are together, as people of God, there’s nothing we cannot conquer. Together, we can give a sense of security to our nation.
“In this (election) season, the Christians are going to provide leadership by faith, but with our two eyes opened.
“There is a miracle waiting to happen in this country and it will surely become a reality.
We should not put our trust in man.”