Press Statement: CAN Sues For Peaceful 2023 Elections

On behalf of the National leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), it is my honour and immense pleasure to join the call on citizens to resist any attempt to cause disharmony and disaffection ahead of the upcoming general elections.

We must see the elections as a time of peaceful transition of leadership and not war. Consequently, there’s need for all and sundry to put away religious and ethnic bigotry and allow the will of God to prevail.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, must ensure that this election is seamless, credible, and violence-free. The Commission has no excuse to fail. Four years is enough time for it to have perfected the process and eliminated the glitches that featured in past polls.

CAN President, His Eminence – Archbishop Dr. Daniel C. Okoh; The Vice President, Rev. Dr. Panya Baba; The Gensral Secretary, Barr. Daramola Bade; The Assistant General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Mrs. Uzoaku Williams… During CAN’s 1st Quarter NEC Meeting.

CAN calls on the authorities to beef up security, especially in communities vulnerable to attacks and ensure that no citizen is disenfranchised owing to precarious security situation in parts of the country.

We charge the security agencies to be unbiased and remain neutral while discharging their duties, especially during the forthcoming general elections.

CAN urges all the political parties and candidates seeking elective positions during the forthcoming general elections to accept the results of the polls in good faith in the interest of Nigerians and the unity of the country.

We note the current sufferings of the people which is gradually becoming unbearable due to the gross shortage of Naira notes in the system and plead with President Muhammadu Buhari to intensity efforts to mitigate the hardship.

The national leadership of CAN urges all the faithful in the country not to relent in praying for our dear country Nigeria because prayer is the most potent instrument of warfare at our disposal. Let us remind ourselves that the economic, political and security situations in the country do not give joy to anyone, but keep our hopes alive at this time.

We wish Nigerians peaceful 2023 general elections in advance!

His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel C. Okoh
President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

CAN Presidential Dialogue with Atiku, Obi, Adebayo

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, said it had not changed its position on same-faith ticket.

Speaking during the Second Phase of Dialogue with the Presidential Candidates of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party(LP), Mr. Peter Obi, and their Social Democratic Party (SDP) counterpart, Adewole Adebayo; the President of CAN, Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Okoh emphasized: ”If we want to change any position, we’ll let the Nigerian public know,”.

The three candidates also unfolded their agenda on restructuring, insecurity, economy, power and corruption.

While Atiku shared how he planned to address the age-old issue of restructuring and devolution of power to the federating units, if elected in the 2023 election, Obi highlighted his vision for the economy and wealth creation, as Adebayo said he would prioritize food security, housing, education and infrastructure development.

CAN, however, presented an 11-point demand entitled, ‘Charter for Future Nigeria’ to the presidential candidates which outlined key areas of interest for the good of the common man. Adding that a holistic amendment of the 1999 Constitution was a necessity for justice, peace, unity, prosperity and progress of the nation.

At the interactive session were leaders of CAN and representatives of various Christian blocs; Atiku’s running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and the PDP National chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.

Others include Governor of Taraba State, Dairus Ishaku; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tom Ikimi; and Chairman Emeritus of Daar Communications Plc, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi.

Also present were a former governor of Cross River, Liyel Imoke; Senator Philip Aduda, Senator Dino Melaye, Timi Alaibe, Kenneth Imasuagbon, Dele Momodu, former Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State, and other PDP, LP, and SDP chieftains among others.

In the CAN President’s remark, he states that CAN is very careful not to be partisan, insisting that its position on same-faith ticket remains the same.

He said: “We have not changed our position (on same-faith ticket). If we want to change any position, we’ll let the Nigerian public know. And so, when people read insinuations in the social media, I will advise that people to come verify, and to be sure that what you see out there is truly the position of CAN.

“This year, CAN has decided to expand this interactive session to include the media and and other leaders so that the conversation will be seen to be as open as possible, and that the people will see that there is no secret. There are no secret meetings and there is nothing hidden at all in any conversation.

“We gave two dates and we wrote to all the 18 presidential candidates and we invited all to interactive session on November 15 and November 16.

“We are not going to endorse any political party. And we also want to let you know that Christian Association of Nigeria has taken the stand on a number of political issues in this country, not for the church alone, but for the well being of the people and future of our country. And we are not about to change those positions we have taken because it took us a long time to arrive at those positions and decisions.”

While addressing CAN, Atiku Abubakar assured the Christian leaders of devolving power to the component regions and states of the federation, noting that restructuring of the country is imperative for Nigeria to make progress in 2023 and beyond.

Broaching the issue which has been a sensitive and contentious subject between the Northern and Southern regions, the PDP flag bearer agreed with CAN that state police and fiscal restructuring are constitutional matters requiring the urgent attention of the country’s next president.

He said: “My brothers and sisters, I stand before you here not to campaign but to tell you the honest truth. What you have presented to us is what I have always believed in and if I have the opportunity. I swear to God I will do it.

“We cannot have state police without having a constitutional amendment, so we will go into constitution amendment where we will have different levels of police. These are our plans to tackle the security challenges facing the country.

“For sure, we need a judicial amendment, first of all, there are poor wages for Judges, very poor working conditions. Again, the judiciary has levels, federal judiciary, state, but we will attempt as much as possible to have a judicial reform where we will improve dispensation of justice and also the welfare of Judges.”

He vowed to expunge the sections of the 1999 Constitution that reinforced indigeneship at the expense of citizenship.

“I am a supporter of the removal of clause of definition of indigeneship in our constitution. Once you reside in any part of the country, and you pay your taxes, you should be entitled to indigeneship,” he noted.

Speaking during his interactive session with Christian leaders, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, said he would rescue Nigeria from its status as a failed state if elected president in 2023.

Like Atiku, he reiterated that insecurity would be a thing of the past under his administration, declaring that he was committed to unlocking the greatness of the country and lifting her from a consuming country to a producing one.

Obi said Nigeria had met the qualifications to be characterized as a failed state, because the country is no longer in control of its territory and economy.

“All presidential candidates will tell you the same story, everybody’s story will be as sweet as the other ones. What you are going to do is to check the sincerity and the truth and the one you can trust.

“It is now who among these 18 presidential candidates can you trust, because there is no promise that we are going to make that has not been made in the past, that promise has always been there.

“What I want to do is to move the country from consumption to production, it is not a productive country, our priority is to secure and unite the country, it is the number one thing you need to do.

“Nigeria has hit the two most critical things that qualifies a country to a failed state, number one, when you are no longer in control of your territory, we are no longer in control of our territory, number two, is when you are no longer in control of your economy, nobody can tell you today how much they are going to sell a bag of rice tomorrow. No country can function like that.

When it was his turn to speak, the SDP presidential candidate stated that it was wrong to separate the state from religion in the pursuit of common good for all.

According to him, both are like Siamese twins and mutually reinforcing each other for the peace and progress of nation, but regretted that unscrupulous politicians seek to break that bond between the two.

“That is why leaders when they are doing wrong, I mean political leaders, and religious leaders come out to talk, they will say, separate religion from state.

“But when the state is in trouble, we’ll call religious leaders to come and explain. When we have failed in our credibility, because we have no provided for the people, and they’re not listening to us. We go to religious leaders for help,” he explained.

Insecurity In The Country Is The Biggest Threat To 2023 Elections – CAN

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has described the menace of insecurity challenges occasioned by the criminal activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers in the  country as the biggest threat to the next year general election.

The CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle made this assertion on Tuesday evening in an interactive session which some Christian leaders had with the European Union Delegation led by the EU Chief Election Observer, Ms. Maria Arena who are on a mission to the country from 1-5 March in preparation for the coming general election observation.

The EU Delegation wanted to know the position of the Association on the preparation of all the stakeholders – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies and the political parties.

Dr. Ayokunle who also doubles as the Co-Chairman of the Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC) explained that the security situation in the country might not allow the general election to be credible, free and fair if the voters are not allowed to go out to exercise their inalienable rights because of fear of being harmed or kidnapped or killed.

“We call on the Federal Government and the security agencies to wake up to the security challenges in the country where terrorists, bandits and kidnappers are operating with impunity and nowhere is safe and secure again. If the trend continues, many voters may not participate and the outcome of the election may not be credible,” the CAN President said.

He observed that the government appears to be struggling to nip the ugly situation in the bud, their present effort is far from being enough. We have been strugglingwith this situation now for the past thirteen years, yet, we are still where we are!

He also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be apolitical in the assignment and asked the members of the commission who are card carrying members of the ruling party to step down or be flushed out in order to avoid compromised election results.

Ayokunle tasked INEC to borrow a leaf from its counterpart in Gambia where their recently  conducted elections were far better than Nigeria’s elections. All election observers, including All Africa Conference of Churches’ delegation that he led there adjudged the election to be credible.

According to him, ‘Gambia’s elections were more credible, free and fair. It was also free from security harassment and there was a level playing field for all the parties involved.’ ‘We are supposed to be doing better because we have more resources and more capacity than Gambian.’

L-R: Barr. Mrs. Comfort Chigbue (National Legal Director, CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle (President, CAN), EU Chief Election Observer, Ms. Maria Arena; Barr. Daramola Joseph (General Secretary, CAN), and Apostle ‘Biodun Sanyaolu (Assistant General Secretary. CAN)

The CAN President who disclosed that CAN has no candidate for the office of the President however reiterated the position of the Association on the need to have a Christian President as the successor of President Muhammadu Buhari who is a Muslim and would have spent eight years in office by the time he is handing over to the next president.

According to him, “Although Nigeria is practicing democracy but because of our peculiarities which include multicultural, multi-tribal, and multi-religious nature, ours should be a ‘home grown democracy’ where every divide should be given a sense of belonging. Even if the constitution is silent on the six geopolitical zones rotational representation, the political parties should be wise enough to make use of it in sharing the leadership positions. We have warned all political parties against fielding either Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian Presidential candidates. Since President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim from the North, in the interest of equity, fairness, social justice and cohesion, the next President should be a Christian from the South”.

After the interactions, the leader of the delegation, Ms Maria Arena thanked the leadership of CAN for honouring their invitation and promised to be carrying the Association along in their assignments.

Meanwhile, the CAN President, Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle has advised all churches in Nigeria to make the first week of March a WEEK OF SOUL WINNING. He urged all churches under the umbrella of the Association to be using the week as a period of soul winning so that bloodletting and all other crimes might reduce. He urged Christians to share their faith, their testimonies and spread the gospel of God’s love and mercy to all who have not known the Lord through Jesus Christ. preach the Kingdom of God to the world.


The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned the political parties in the country against heating up the polity with either Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket come 2023 general election.

The counsel was made on Thursday by the CAN’s President, His Eminence, Rev. (Dr.) Samson Ayokunle in a parley of the Association’s leadership with the Deputy Senate President, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege in his office at the National Assembly complex.

As part of the CAN President’s remark, he said; “We equally want to urge you on presidency, that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”.

Speaking further, Dr. Ayokunle expressed dissatisfaction with the menace of the economic downturn and its consequences on the polity and called for an enabling environment to cushion the effects on the people.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Obasiri Ovie Omo-Agege, The CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, CAN Secretary, Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade, CAN’s Director on National Issues and Lagos State Chairman, Bishop Stephen Adegbite

He said, “Sir, the church is worried about inflation in the land which has sent many people out of business. Unemployment is at unimaginable level. While we appreciate the efforts of the legislative assemblies in calling the attention of the executive to this, more robust and daring efforts are required to nip these things in the bud. Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives or tax exceptions given to local manufacturers on some goods.”

The CAN President commended the Federal Government on the management of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, also warns against forcing the people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

His words, “We appreciate the Federal Government, especially the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for the way this stubborn virus has been managed. We want to urge the government to continue to encourage Nigerians to take the vaccine, but never to force or coerce people into doing so.”

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Obasiri Ovie Omo-Agege, The CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, CAN Secretary, Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade, CAN’s Director on National Issues and Lagos State Chairman, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, CAN’s Legal Director, Barr. (Mrs) Comfort Chigbue

In his response, the Deputy Senate President registered his appreciation for the visit and called for more of such interaction with a view to bridging the gap between the National Assembly and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He also appreciated the interest and the support of the Association in the efforts of the government to promote peace and unity and in its war against the pandemic.

He tasked the Church leadership to encourage people to take the vaccine to reduce the menace if the government should not force it on them.

The parley saw an awesome interaction between the law maker and the leadership of the association.