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2023: Stand firm against election intimidation, Northern CAN tells religious leaders

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Religious Leaders in the north in particular and Nigeria in general have been charged to stand firm in the face of intimidation during electioneering campaign, saying that religious leaders must speak truth to power no matter the circumstances they find themselves.

The Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) 19 Northern States and Abuja Rev. Dr Yakubu Pam stated this on Thursday in his address at a Prayer summit organized by the body with the Theme: Managing diversity in Electioneering process; “the role of Religious Leaders”.

” Our people look up to us for leadership, especially at this time of our democratic experience, we must not fail them, we must provide the needed leadership and direction for our people so that this house must not fall”. He charged.

Rev. Pam said, the time when Christians show apathy to political issues are over and enjoined all to come out enmasse

and participate in the electioneering process, stressing that,  “it is the only way we can produce good leaders of our choice to lead us at different levels.

“Christians should come out as never before to vote and be voted for in the forthcoming general election in February, 2023. It is expected that every eligible Christian should take it upon himself or herself to register with INEC and should not stop there, rather should ensure that he or she gets the PVC so that they can participate in the voting process.

“The government whether at the Federal or state levels should be proactive in addressing challenges and conflicts that might arise before, during and post-election period. The government has a role to play in ensuring smooth

electioneering campaign and smooth transition without bloodbath.

“It is equally the responsibility of the government to ensure a level playing field for all the candidates of all the

political parties and voters so that at the end of the day we can have a credible election that could be accepted by

Nigerians and the international community.

“Aside the government, all the major stakeholders who have stake in the election should work in synergy and handle issues promptly without delay. The government cannot do it alone, even the citizenry have their own role to play by making sure that the election is not marred with violence. They should shun all forms of criminality, violence and disturbances during the election.

“To all intents and purposes, it is therefore pertinent at this juncture to affirm that the interest of the Northern Christians as far as the 2023 general election is concerned is nothing but to promote the unity of the north in particular and by implication Nigeria as a whole.

“The unity which guarantees inter faith harmony and peaceful co- existence should be our pride, regardless of our political leanings and affiliations. Importantly, the Northern Christians are also interested more in good governance, equity, justice and fair play for the citizenry”.

He congratulated all the leading presidential candidates who have so far o traversed the length and breadth of this country, canvassing for votes from the electorate.

“They should strive to address the issues of the economy and proffer solutions. Above all, they should shun campaign

of calumny and character assassination of their opponents. More so, our Presidential candidates should not see the general election as a do or die affair, after all power comes from God and what will be, will be; no man runs faster than his shadow”.

“We the religious leaders must stand firm in the face of intimidation in this era of electioneering process. We should be able to speak truth to power no matter the circumstances we find ourselves, because for every one we misled, we must answer for it someday.

“Our people look up to us for leadership, especially at this time of our democratic experience, we must not fail them, we must provide the needed leadership and

direction for our people so that this House must not fall”. He stated.

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