The Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has debunked rumours that it has adopted the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
Speaking at the conference hall of St Patrick Catholic Cathedral on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the state CAN chairman, Most. Rev. Dr . John Bogna Bakeni, called on those propagating and peddling the rumours to desist from doing so, saying that it is a campaign of calumny against CAN.
To this end, the CAN chairman called on all politicians and the government to be wary of some fraudulent people or groups masquerading as pastors and Christian religious leaders who go about operating under the name of CAN.
According to Rev Bakeni: “I choose to address you this day in order to defuse and to clarify the rumour going round that the Borno State CAN has adopted the political candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the State.
“Let me say categorically that CAN is not a political party and will never be. The state CAN has not endorsed any candidate in her interactions with candidates who sought audience with her and will not do so; CAN has not received money from any politician as a form of voter inducement. All CAN in Borno State has done since the presidential elections to date is to encourage Christians to participate in the political processes by voting for candidates of their choice.
“It might interest you to know that there are Christians who belong to different political parties and ideologies, so for CAN to line up behind a particular candidate is to be divisive and is not part of our mandate. CAN commands respect and enjoys cordiality with the current government of Borno State and we will not want some unscrupulous people to destroy that for their selfish ends.”
Rev Bakeni, who is the Auxiliary Bishop of Maiduguri Catholic Dioceses, insisted that “CAN remains a religious association that is apolitical, non-partisan and law-abiding,” urging the people of Borno State “who are eligible to vote to come out and perform their civic duty and responsibility of electing their next set of leaders.”
He further added: “Our hope and prayer is that whoever emerges as governor should carry everybody along, Muslims and Christians alike, without discrimination based on tribe, religion, gender or status. I pray that we have free, fair, credible and violent free elections.”
According to the chairman of the Christian body, CAN will investigate its members and anyone found wanting will be surely sanctioned.