The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned political aspirants to avoid desperate moves, as Nigeria prepares for the 2019 general elections.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday evening, the CAN president, Samson Ayokunle, also urged the executive and legislative arms of government to resolve their differences regarding the electoral act amendment bill and ensure the success of the forth coming elections.
Mr Ayokunle said the address was necessitated by a recent analysis of the conduct of political party primaries and the manifesto of political aspirants seen by CAN.
The CAN president said his association had gathered political leaders seeking various positions to understand their plan for Nigeria and discuss the need to avoid provoking chaos, as the country prepares for another political transition.
“The church cannot take the back seat in this situation because it can only prosper when Nigeria prospers. If the election is not free and fair, then, all Nigerians, including the church will be in trouble,” he said.
“So, we decided to reach out to the presidential candidates to ask them their credentials for aspiring to the highest office in the land. Also, to interrogate their plans for all including the church.
“We also brought them together to speak to their consciences so that they do not set this nation on fire.”
Citing the relative peace and success linked with the 2015 general elections, Mr Ayokunle said the 2019 elections must prove to be better, for a more prosperous Nigeria.
“I once told Mr president that when we conducted the 2015 elections, even the international community never expected it to be so free and fair but the way the then administration conducted it gave us a sense of pride.
“If the 2019 is not better, if the police, Army, INEC and politicians are not better behaved, then it is a failure.
“We are warning politicians that the type of desperation we saw in their intra-party elections has given us a lot of concerns.
“If they can be so desperate to fight the way they did during the intra-party elections, what will they do when they are contesting with the opposition? The desperation is too much and whoever knows that he has no other job more than politics should forget about contesting. It is not compulsory to lead us.”
The CAN president said Nigerian leaders must learn to imbibe the culture of sacrifice and understand that Nigerians are becoming more educated on the differences between true leaders and desperate ones.
“Leading us is a sacrifice. When you say you must lead us at all cost, then we suspect you that you don’t want to lead us, that you want to ruin us. So, we are warning politicians that their desperation is too much. They should not set the nation on fire because of their selfish ambition.
Regarding the controversies trailing the electoral act amendment, Mr Ayokunle said Nigerian leaders must avoid toying with the future of the country.
“The executive and the National Assembly should put their house together. Whenever there is this kind of disagreement, the executive and the legislature should come together as partners in progress to mutually find a way forward.
“They can’t afford to play with the future of the country through this forthcoming 2019 general elections. Everything must be done to ensure that the election is free and fair.”
The electoral act amendment bill, 2018 has remained a subject of controversy for months, with the National Assembly threatening to veto the position of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, who has indicated his resolve not to accent the bill.
Some political parties have already filed cases in court, regarding the electoral act.
Also the primaries conducted by most parties across the state, ahead of the October deadline for the submission of candidates by INEC, has not been without a series of controversies, with many states already in court, challenging the outcome of the primaries.