A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former commissioner for Information in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, yesterday, accused the PDP of stocking the face-off between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The umbrella association of Christian denominations in Nigeria had been at loggerheads with the APC and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu since former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, was picked as APC vice presidential candidate.
The disagreement came to a head when the vice presidential candidate allegedly hired some supposed fake bishops to attend his unveiling last week…CONTINUE READING
However, Afegbua, in a statement, yesterday, accused the PDP of hiring the fake bishops to embarrass the APC.
“The PDP chieftains were the ones who went to hire some persons, decorated them with robes to assume the role of bishops and reverend fathers, just to embarrass the APC candidate; whom they dread so much. I have insiders in PDP who are giving me blow by blow accounts of what transpires,” he said.
Afegbua alleged that a first look at CAN’s demand may suggest the agitation for a Christian vice president was altruistic, while in truth, the agitation was sponsored by the PDP.
“Taking an interrogative assessment of their activities, one would think they are altruistic in their demand for the number two position, but latest findings by me, have revealed that CAN is actually being sponsored by the opposition PDP to whip up undue sentiments against the candidature of Tinubu and his running mate, Shettima and, indeed, the APC. It started from former secretary to the government of the federation, Babachir Lawal, who has never won in his polling unit, Hong Local Government, Adamawa State, to other CAN leaders who have never deemed it fit to cede the presidency of the association to a core Northern Christian.
In the over 46 years of CAN, the closest was John Onaiyekan, from Kaba, in Kogi State as president of CAN. All other presidents have been of southern extraction; yet, they desire to have a weak candidate from the North to strengthen PDP in the election. Let me state categorically and without any iota of doubt that CAN, as a body, is working for the PDP,” he said.
He noted that the opposition party was hyping on the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket to weaken the party ahead of the poll.
“The PDP had earlier set up a committee to sustain these sentiments in the realisation that it will weaken the APC and force it to rescind its well thought-out decision to choose a northern Muslim as the party’s vice presidential candidate.
“They are being funded covertly by PDP elements and my source confirmed a meeting held in Asokoro at the home of a media mogul, few days ago, where a decision was taken to sustain the umbrage.”
He added that there was no relationship between being a Christian and being a member of CAN.
“It is one thing to be a Christian, and another, to be a member of CAN. In 2015, the Catholic body had accused the CAN, under Ayo Oritsejafor, of politicising the body instead of concentrating on serious issues that could advance the collective aspirations of the people. The Catholic body had suspended its participation in CAN activities as a direct response to such politicisation.
“CAN has just entered another phase of such politicisation again by its standoffish posturing in the name of Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC,” he said.
He advised Christians to heed the advice of Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, who rightly said the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket only presents the voters with options and choices.
“Our problem is not religion. Our emphasis should be how to find solutions to our problems and not dig into our religious differences,” he said.