The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at its National Secretariat on December 10, 2019, met the presidential candidates of political parties running for the presidential elections, to have an interactive session with each one of them, with the view to identifying their agenda for Nigeria if elected and getting a commitment from them on genuine national development. The meeting was prompted by the strong belief that the Church in Nigeria cannot stay aloof in the national project and has an obligation, as a major stakeholder, to be a part in the way and manner the country is governed.
The challenges facing Nigeria are enormous as they are protracted. These include insecurity, corruption, ethnic militancy, herders’ violence in the North-central states, kidnappings, ritual murders, drug abuse, poor and declining social infrastructure, among other national emergencies. The era of looking the other way when the political class does little or nothing to improve the quality of life of Nigerian is gone. The CAN leadership seeks to commit the political class to truly improving the quality of life of Nigerians in the next dispensation.
*Parties, Presidential Candidates Present and Agenda*
The political parties and presidential candidates present were ten (10). These were (in alphabetical order):
Moses Shipi All Blending Party (ABP)
Obadiah Mailafia -African Democratic Party (ADP)
Fela Durotoye Alliance for a New Nigeria (ANN)
Muhammadu Buhari All Progressives Congress (APC) (represented by th.Hon. Rotimi Amaechi)
Obiageli Ezekwesili Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (APCN)
John Gbor All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
John Dara Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD)
Johnson A. Edosomwan and Nasiru Mohammed Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP)
Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Kingsley Moghalu -Young Progressive Party (YPP)
There were six (6) critical and broad-based areas of focus in the interactive session. These included: the personality and character, patriotic commitment, security agenda, economic development agenda, religious tolerance and programme for social inclusion and foreign policy.
Also, other important areas of national development explored during the chat with the candidates, were human rights, national cohesion (unity), national security, economic/infrastructural development, restructuring, a national development-based foreign policy and war on corruption.
*THE POSITION OF CAN*
CAN recognizes Nigeria’s multi-religious and multicultural composition and is not in denial of these realities. However, in our federal system, it is crucial for all constituents to commit to respect of the fundamental human rights of other groups as enshrined in the 1 999 Constitution. It is against this background that CAN raised serious concerns with the candidates over the sustained violent attacks on, and persecution of the Church in Nigeria today.
CAN understands that if the principle of good governance (transparency, accountability, equity, inclusiveness and consensus building) are the hallmarks of governance, it would lead to accelerated development and prosperity for the people of Nigeria. This is our sincere desire, hope and prayer.
Our expectations are that whoever emerges as president and vice-president will address the myriad of critical national concerns. In biblical times, God raised Prophets at different times to speak up against national leaders and policies that promoted injustice against the very people such leaders were called to serve. God placed the responsibility of the security and welfare of the citizens on leaders of nations. Nigeria cannot be an exception.
While CAN notes with encouragement that the candidates interviewed subscribed to its (CAN’s) values as expected of the president of the Federal Republic, it is noted too that actions should speak far louder than words if anyone of them is elected.