The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it has no preferred candidate in the presidential election scheduled to hold in February.
CAN made the announcement Tuesday in a statement by its acting General Secretary, Daramola Bade, in reaction to speculations that it has endorsed a candidate.
“The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has disclosed that it has not endorsed and will never endorse any of the candidates eyeing the Number One Seat or any elective post,” it stated.
“CAN is apolitical, non-partisan and impartial but we are for God and His people. Our members cut across all political divides and some of them are even contesting for one post or the other including the Presidential.”
The religious group, however, asked its members to vote according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and their consciences.
It noted that after a meeting with some leading presidential candidates in Abuja recently, it acknowledged the nation’s multi-religious and multicultural composition and was not in denial of the realities.
It however added that it was crucial for all constituents to commit to respect of the fundamental human rights of other groups as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“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,” it said.
“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.”
CAN explained that its expectation was that whoever emerges as president and vice-president would address the myriad of critical national issues.
It decried what it described as the misfortunes that have befallen the Nigerian state in recent years, saying they must never be “swept under the carpet”.
The group advised Christians in the country to use sound judgment in voting and ensure that they eschew sentiments and apply wisdom in making the decision on the ballot paper.
CAN also insisted that it stands for a credible, fair and violence-free election and urged all the candidates to show maturity, leadership, sportsmanship and eschew electoral malpractice and violence in whatever form.