2023 Elections: Nigeria’s Christendom for unity or disunity of the Nation

The body of Christ has never been this divided over politics, this is fueled by the aggressive and loud manner the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been going about its campaign for recognition, it would be recollected that CAN had faced similar disunity when the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria pulled out of the association during the period Pastor Ayo Oristejafor was the president it only returned in 2018 and this time around making utterances that will polarize the pulpit.

Recently when a group of about 30 clergymen from various churches and denominations across Nigeria stormed the unveiling of the APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima in support of his aspiration for the office of the President, the clergymen were talked-down on by others in the Christian community, most vocal is the Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, who described them as hire mechanics.

In his words “BAT is free to hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them. An effort that will only add to their many ropes when the political exercise is over but will not change the need for fairness and justice that CAN is calling for.”

The tone of CAN representative set the social media on fire as this seems to be the basis with which these clergies are been abused, this singular action has brought ridicule to the body of Christ since findings revealed some of those people are actually known to the Rev. Joseph John Hayab, take for example Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia, of Gboko Catholic Diocese Benue State who is also the APC Governorship Candidate in the State, also Bishop Edward Williams Chanomi of Chapel of Peace Mararaba, Abuja.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule, and to later inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the world, “The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.”

It will be recalled that Christianity like Islam preaches peace and unity but the current trend shows religion is being used as a platform for power by many of these pastors who would ignore competence to stake a claim at a place in political relevance.

Pastors are regarded as an epitome spirituality and intelligence who are usually apolitical since it is expected they are fathers to their diverse congregation and the prospected ones, but that has since changed since they are now vocally and angrily expressing their displeasure that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not choose a northern Christian as a running mate even when no northern Christian has emerged the CAN president in over 40 years.

The choice of words of some of this leaders shows they have an axe to grind even when both the Presidential candidate are known to be liberal and has even expressed their mind about not representing any religion but Nigerians, after the appearance of the clerics at the unveiling days back, the tone of the CAN representative that issued a statement is that of somebody who will not care if the country will go into flames.

The attendance of the clergy caused a great deal of controversy and speculation as online sleuths picked holes in their attire, claiming that their shoddy appearance was proof of a conspiracy on the part of the APC to invite fake Christian leaders to the unveiling.

When asked about their decision to attend the event decked in religious garb, one attendee who did not give his name said “I am proud to be a Christian BAT supporter. I have no problem with a Muslim-Muslim ticket because I very much believe in the Jagaban”.

Another one of the clergy identified as the senior pastor of Yoke Breakers Prophetic Ministry, Bishop Ugokwe Prince; the founder Christian and Muslim Love International foundation said; they believe in the unity and religious harmony of the country.

Speaking further he disclosed that they are to show support and solidarity and offers prayers for the party and also to advise in areas they believe as a group of clergy can contribute to the party to get it right in the forthcoming presidential and general election come 2023, he stated.

Even when Tinubu has politely and categorically defended his choice of Kashim Shettima as the man who can help him bring the best governance to all Nigerians, regardless of their diverse religious affiliations or considerations of ethnicity or region, these naysayers will not stop at discrediting and condemning the Muslim-Muslim ticket over a mundane issue of a same faith ticket in d presidential race of a country with such magnitude like Nigeria.

It stands to reason that such primordial religious sentiments shouldn’t be allowed to becloud our collective entity as one big united family, religion or no religion.

  • Bunmi Obarotimi is a Nigerian journalist and social commentator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.