The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) and candidate of the Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, Rev. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle, today emerged the new president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He becomes the association’s 6th President.
Rev Ayokunle Ayokunle beat Elder Joseph Otubu of the Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Movement (MCCSW) who represented the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, OAIC, with 57 votes to 28. By the CAN constitution, Prof. Joseph Otubu who emerged runners-up in the elections automatically becomes the Vice President of the Association for the next three years.
The outgoing president of the largest ecumenical body in Africa, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, announced the result of the election at about 2:30 p.m today to a rousing applause of National Executive Council delegates from different parts of the country who had converged at the National Christian Centre in Central Business Centre of Abuja.
The association, with five blocs, comprising Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of West Africa had been embroiled in series of crises. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the outgoing President CAN was recently dragged to an Abuja Federal High Court by a section of the association challenging his restriction on them from participating in the elections.
The Northern state members of CAN had advised that the election be suspended until the issues were resolved. The elections however went on disregarding the warning that was issued after a meeting yesterday through Reverend John Hayab:
“CAN northern state is advising outgoing President of the association and Christians to suspend CAN election until the issue(s) that are on are resolved. We have resolved in our meeting of yesterday (Monday) to advise them not to continue with the election.
“Our concern is that if we don’t resolve these issues, the new leadership, will have the challenges of leading a united Christians in the country. One of the issues is that of the ECWA/TEKAN where they could not present their own candidate; the Catholic has written a letter that unless the election is properly done, it will pull out of the CAN.
“There are also some under-current issues which we know, if left unresolved and the election continues, will only divide CAN and give room for other splinter group.”
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The ‘About Us’ section of the CAN website, in describing the association and its mission wrote:
“CAN is an Association of Christian Churches with distinct identities, recognizable Church structures and system of worship of one God in the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“The Association makes Christ the centre of all its works and shall promote the glory of God, by encouraging the growth and unity of the Churches and helping them to lead the nation and her people to partake of Christ Salvation and all its fruits. the motto is – that they all may be one – John 17: 21.
“The Mission of the Association is to meet regularly and take joint action on vital matters, especially on those issues which affect the Christian Faith and the welfare of the generality of Nigerians.”