The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has prayed for the success of the coming administration of the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, the CAN President, Ayo Oritsejafor, said, “I also pray for peace for the incoming administration led by Rtd Major General, Muhammadu Buhari with optimism that Nigeria will witness peace and progress under his administration.”
Mr. Oritsejafor, a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan, has faced several allegations including being too partisan in support of the the incumbent, as well as corruption and money laundering. The accusations worsened when his privately owned plane was stopped in 2014 in South Africa with $9.3 million in cash allegedly for the purchase of arms for the Nigerian government. The money was seized by South African authorities for breaching the country’s financial laws while Nigeria later said the money belonged to its government. Mr. Oritsejafor denied any wrongdoing saying he had leased the plane to a private firm.
In his Easter message on Saturday, the leader of the organisation that represents Nigerian Christians also commended outgoing President Jonathan.
“The need for peace that our President, Goodluck Jonathan, has demonstrated in the recently held presidential elections should be the point of reference for all our political leaders in the coming elections, there is nothing greater than peace and love as enunciated by God and demonstrated by our dear president,” he said.
The cleric prayed for the restoration of unity and stability of Nigeria and thanked citizens for supporting the country’s leaders.
Mr. Jonathan, a Christian from Southern Nigeria, has received several commendations since he conceded defeat to Mr. Buhari, a Muslim from Northern Nigeria, after the conclusion of the March 28 presidential election which is considered the most hotly contested in the country’s history. The election also marked the first time since independence in 1960 that an incumbent president would lose elections. The elections were also the first since 1999, after military rule, that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party would become a minority in both chambers of the Nigerian parliament.
Despite operational hiccups by the electoral agency as well as incidences of violence recorded in some parts of the country during the electioneering period, the elections were largely considered free and fair by local and international observers. Mr. Jonathan’s concession is believed to have doused the tension brought about by the elections which saw millions of Nigerians voting along ethnic and religious lines.
Mr. Buhari’s All Progressives Congress will now assume majority in both chambers of the parliament while he is expected to be sworn as president on May 29.