By Ismaila Chafe
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, has said that saboteurs and politicians in cassock had attempted to prevent the association’s leadership from paying congratulatory visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ayokunle, who spoke with State House correspondents after the leadership of CAN visited President Buhari at the State House, Abuja, on Friday, dismissed the allegation that pressure was mounted on the CAN leaders to congratulate the president on his re-election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a national daily and some online platforms had on Tuesday reported that “some influential people working closely with the Federal Government are mounting serious pressure on CAN leadership to pay a congratulatory visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The report quoted a source closed to CAN leadership as saying: “If you know the pressure mounted on CAN leadership that we, as a body, have to go and congratulate the president.
“However, the church is saying this election is controversial and we see what is happening. But, they are still mounting pressure seriously.
“They are telling us if we don’t congratulate him, it means we are against him and that we are partisan.
“However, we are saying let them resolve the issues (in court) before we go and congratulate whoever wins. That’s the situation we find ourselves as the Church of God.”
The CAN leader, however, dismissed the report, saying it was the handiwork of saboteurs and enemies of progress, who did not wish the association well.
He said: “Saboteurs who didn’t want us to come here (Aso Rock). We are old enough to know what to do and what not to do.
“If somebody like me after 60 years of age will be under pressure it means that my life would never have meaning again.
“But by the grace of God we have a meaningful life, I know what to do. By God’s grace He has prepared me well for this assignment.
“So, those distractors and those politicians in cassock should go and find better job to do,’’ he said.
Ayokunle noted that the CAN leadership was in the villa not only to congratulate the president on his re-election, but to remind him of the yearnings of Nigerians.
The cleric said that Nigerians wanted him to perform 100 per cent better than that of the first term.
He, therefore, advised the president that only the best Nigerians should be considered while constituting his new cabinet, stressing that he should do more in addressing socio-economic challenges facing the citizens.
“Now, he has mastered the job; he has mustered enough strengthen to be able to go full swing into action.
“We want him to do more on security- kidnappings almost everywhere and the issue of insurgency in the northeast, the insurgents should be silenced once and for all.
“These ethnic militias that have now moved to the northwest, which used to be peaceful, and they are now causing violence there – before they will grow wings their wings should be clipped completely,’’ he added.