Tension is mounting within the fold of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as alleged plots by President Muhammadu Buhari to install a successor to replace Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor whose tenure expires in July 2016 thickens.
This appeared to be a repeat of what transpired during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Already, it was gathered that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been interested in sponsoring a pro-Buhari clergy from the North in order to guide against any radical opposition to his administration from the Christian community.
But when contacted, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Communications, Mr Femi Adesina, dismissed the allegation, saying Buhari does not interfere in the internal affairs of any organisation.
Adesina said, “It means that some Nigerians don’t know their President; Your President, Muhammadu Buhari, does not interfere in things like that; so they need to know the person who is their President.
“The people making the allegation can’t insist that they are correct because that is the man for you and Buhari doesn’t interfere in anything. If he doesn’t interfere in state elections where his own party, APC, is having candidates, how will he interfere in CAN elections? They don’t know their President.”
A group of Christians under the aegis of Christ Redeemers Union (CRU) claimed that the Presidency was interested in CAN election for some perceived selfish reasons.
The National Director of CRU, Dr Ebenezer Olusola Abednego, who made the allegation when he spoke with journalists on Sunday in Abuja, said that Christians would resist any plan by the Presidency to install a candidate in CAN presidency
“Our determination to resist Buhari and APC in determining who becomes CAN president is a battle of ‘no retreat’; no surrender’. A top official in the Presidency, who is spear-heading the campaign, has started deploying resources for logistics towards ensuring the emergence of a church leader in the Northern part of the country believed to be friendly to Buhari.
According to Olusola, APC government was desperate to ensure its candidate emerges as CAN’s helmsman.
“We have it on good authority that any leader being installed by the Presidency in CAN would avoid any virulent criticism of the Buhari government and this has informed their desperation to install a leadership that will not be critical.
“But we are vehemently opposed to government meddling into a purely religious affairs and should the Presidency succeed in installing an APC/Buhari stooge in CAN, we will pull out of CAN. We are ready for them; we have it on good authority that some Muslim leaders from the North are behind the plot”, he stated.