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Elections: CAN, Other Religious Groups In Crisis Over Endorsement In Taraba




FEW days to the presidential poll, the animosity and rivalry between the supporters of the President Jonathan and General Muhammed Buhari (rtd) has continued to deepen. The situation is gradually taking an alarming dimension in Taraba and Gombe States. Presently it is not only threatening the peace co-existence of persons residing in these states, it has also shown signs that the outcome of the election may spark post-election violence

Today, the Taraba state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is in crisis and has been factionalised following the decision of some members to endorse a particular governorship candidate. The situation which has generated bad blood among the CAN members, Catholic Society of Nigeria (CSN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and the Women and Youth Wing of CAN. Specifically, the Women and Youth Wing of CAN have disassociated themselves from the purported endorsement. Not happy with the development, the governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief David Sabo Kente described CAN’s action as partisan. He expressed fear that their action is capable of causing post election violence. Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, David Adekoya, Kente observed with dismay how CAN that ought to be father to all the candidates, have suddenly dumped their robes to be the mouthpiece of a particular candidate.

Wondering why CAN leadership in the state should allow themselves to “ be induced by politicians, Kente said the peaceful co-existence of Tarabans is being threatened by “our religious leaders because of some peanuts.”

Also sad by CAN stand, some religious leaders especially those who disassociated themselves from CAN endorsement, told The Guardian that “ It is only the executive of CAN that carried out such negative acts” adding that “ PFN, CSN and the Women and Youth Wing of CAN are not even aware of the said endorsement.”

The leaders said that the persons that perform the endorsement are not more than twelve in number.
“But it is very unfortunate that the people we elected to lead the church are now the ones rubbishing the name of the church.”

In the same vein, the State Coordinator of Moslems/Christian Youths for Peace, Mr. Jinaidu Gavey Yaweh said that both Muslims and Christians have been living peacefully with one another in the State, but with what CAN has done, it is like they (CAN) want to invite crisis into our state.
Yaweh said: “We did not only receive the endorsement with rude shock, but with total disbelief, especially with such endorsement coming from a religious body like CAN.”

Rather than delving into politics which ought to be left in the hand of politicians, Yaweh noted that both CAN and the Muslims Council have remain neutral and preach to their members to vote for candidates of their choice in the forthcoming elections.

“Any attempt by both CAN and Muslim Council of Nigerian to be partisan in the forthcoming general elections will polarize the state along religious lines.”

Like Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state who is being accused of mobilising support for the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate General Muhammed Buhari (rtd) the same allegation is being leveled against the Acting Governor of Taraba State, Sani Abubakar Danladi.

An unconfirmed report has it that the Acting Governor mobilised a huge sum of money for the presidential candidate during his campaign visit to the state. Unlike Dankwambo whose position has been defended by the state chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Shuaibu Sabulu, none of the party member in Taraba state has deemed it fit to clear the name of the Acting Governor.

Dankwambo, according to the PDP chairman “ is hundred per cent loyal to President Jonathan’s second term ambition, and has been working round the clock as the north-east campaign coordinator for his re-election.

Rather than sensitizing the congregations on the need to eschew violent in the forthcoming polls, some religious organizations in both states, as observed by The Guardian now use the time they suppose to preach the words of God to campaign to their followers on who to vote for during the elections. It was alleged that both the PDP and APC have been lobbying the religious groups for support through financial inducements.

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