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.


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.