Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that its members will consider credibility and character of the contestants before casting their votes for a preferred candidate in the 2023 presidential election.
Delivering a sermon at the 2022 International Men’s Conference of Christ Holy Church International in Abuja on Sunday, President of CAN, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, he stressed that Nigerians, especially Christians will vote for candidates based on their convictions and antecedents of the contestants.
He said: “The citizens have gone beyond casting their votes based on the political party fielding candidates. People now look into the credibility and character of the candidates before they give them their votes.
In his sermon titled ‘By Faith, Give Leadership’ Okoh, who maintained it was important that people of God should have their eyes open, said the electorate should ensure they know the people they are voting for.
He continued: “In Nigeria, things are beginning to change. Gone are those days when people vote based on the political party fielding the candidate; when once you have the ticket of a particular party, you are covered.
“Today, people are looking at individuals, their credibility, character, experience, capacities and antecedents in relation to the positions they want to occupy.
“Rather than engaging in vote buying and sellin, which has become a norm in the our electoral system, Nigerians must begin to interrogate the plans and programmes of politicians before deciding who will get their mandate for the next four years.
“Also, the politicians should not make false promises to make people vote for them. Nigerians have come to a point where they feel that they need to sit down and negotiate with the presidential and governorship candidates.
“We must ask questions: ‘What is our portion in your administration (if elected)?’ They should be able to convince you before you can cast their votes for them. Nobody should take away your future from you. Don’t let anyone give you money to buy your conscience and four years of joy.
“To the people who are in politics, when you are making promises, make sure you are telling the people what you can fulfil.
“There’s no need to promise us you can give us heaven on earth when you know that given the realities on the ground you cannot be able to fulfil it.
“Also the use of youths for political thuggery must stop because it portends danger for the nation’s democracy.
“The era of thuggery in Nigeria’s electoral system is over and the youths must positively participate in the political process. I am saying with a sense of duty that our youths must not give in to electoral violence.
“We must expand the space to inject new ideas into the systems. The world is moving on, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. Nigeria, for me, is one of the best places to live in. I love Nigeria, and we must put our collective freedom to good use.”
Saying myriad of challenges facing Nigeria is not peculiar to the country alone, Okoh asked the Christians to demonstrate good and exemplary leadership by providing hope to the rest of the country by faith in God.
His words: “The Church is under attack, but not only in Nigeria. Globally, the truth is under attack. There’s no generation that had not had its own challenges. We are facing ours and must find a way to wriggle ourselves out of it.
“Some many things polarise the people at this time, but as Christians, we need to always stand together, knowing that we serve the same Lord and share in the same heritage.
“It is our unity and oneness that gives us the force to contend with whatever that opposes our very existence. When we are together, as people of God, there’s nothing we cannot conquer. Together, we can give a sense of security to our nation.
“In this (election) season, the Christians are going to provide leadership by faith, but with our two eyes opened.”