The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has urged Nigerians to avoid desperate politicians by voting only credible ones in 2019.
Ayokunle made the remarks while briefing journalists after a meeting with representatives of 14 presidential candidates in Abuja on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was represented by the minister of transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, was represented by his running mate, Mr. Peter Obi.
The former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and former minister of education Oby Ezekwesili, among others were also present at the meeting.
He said that the church decided to reach out to the stakeholders and the presidential candidates to ask them their credentials for aspiring to the highest position in the country.
Ayokule also stated that the church could not keep quiet in this situation because the church can only prosper when a nation prospers.
“If the 2019 election is not free and fair all Nigerians will be in trouble including the church”, he said.
He expressed disappointment over the desperation of politicians towards the 2019 general elections saying the motive for the meeting should not be taken for granted.
“The desperation we saw at the intra-party elections is giving us concern. If they can be so desperate and they end up fighting, what will they do when they contest against the opposition? The desperation is too much.
“We must leave a better tomorrow for our children. So those who want to lead us must get serious, they must also know what we want them to do,” he said.
The CAN president said the meeting was convened to interact with the presidential aspirants and know their plans for the nation, including the Church.
He urged the Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC), the Nigeria Army, the police and other security agencies to abide by electoral rules to avoid crisis during and after the election.
“I spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari and he told him that when we conducted the 2015 elections people didn’t expect it to be so free and fair but the way it was conducted gave us a sense of pride in the international community.
“If the 2019 election is not better, if the police are not better behaved, if the army is not better behaved, if INEC is not better behaved, the entire election process might be a failure.
“If politicians are not better behaved and they show desperation, it will be a failure. We are again warning politicians,” said Ayokunle.
He therefore urged Nigerians to beware of jobless politicians whose job description is politics saying such people should not be allowed to contest for any position.
“Leading Nigeria is a sacrifice. Why do you want to lead by force? Go and rest; you do not need to destroy the entire land,” said the cleric.
He said any politician who would want to lead Nigerians, by all means, should be regarded as a suspect.
On the electoral amendment act, the CAN president said: “The executive and legislature need to work together. When there is crisis between them like this, what they need to do is to put themselves together as partners in progress.”
He added that there should be a mutual understanding as they cannot afford to play with the future of Nigerians.
However, he said that everything that should be done must be done to make sure the 2019 election is free and fair.