A pro-democracy group, the Osun Progressive Left (OPL), has expressed concern and worry over the call by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel both the Osun and Ekiti states 2018 governorship election.
The organisation, in a press release signed by its Convener, Comrade Wale Adebisi, said it was miffed that a serious body like the CAN could call for the cancellation of the recently conducted Osun governorship election without any justification.
Adebisi said its organisation considered CAN’s statement as partisan, self-servicing, inciting and an attempt to look for unwarranted relevance.
Adebisi warned CAN not to get itself messed up in the politics; rather it should remain neutral and maintain a non-partisanship position.
It will be recalled that couple of years back, CAN almost turned Osun to a theatre of religious crisis over the introduction of school uniform, but for the mature approach with which Governor Rauf Aregbesola handled the matter.
Adebisi said its organisation was fully aware of the freedom of expression and that of speech as it is enshrined in the Nigeria constitution, but said a situation whereby these rights are abused to the detriment of the entire nation call for serious concern.
The statement read in part: “We begin to wonder how on earth could an organisation like CAN, which is expected to be at the front burner of peace-making, be making such an inflammatory statement that is capable of heating up the already tensed political situation in both states and Nigeria at large.”
According to the organisation, the only body competent to examine and order cancellation of any election in Nigeria after INEC has declared result is the court of competent jurisdiction.
“This attempt, in all ramifications, by CAN leadership is to set Nigeria ablaze by canvassing for an annulment of election result that has been announced to the public.
“It is totally irresponsible for any group to ask for the cancellation of an election without any legal basis. The last time we had election annulment was the June12, 1993, presidential election won by late Moshood Kasimawo Abiola.
This wicked act put Nigeria permanent in the reverse for six years until civil democratic rule was returned in 1999.
“In our own opinion we consider this statement as partisan, self-serving, inciting, ungodly and an attempt to look for unwarranted relevance.
We advise the Christian Association of Nigeria not to get themselves messed up in the political situation of the country, but rather remain neutral and maintain their non-partisanship position.
“In the recent past, CAN almost turned Osun to a theatre of religious crisis, if not the mature approach of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in handling the matter.
“The just concluded election result of both states has been declared and there is no way any other person or persons or INEC itself could annul these election results as canvassed by CAN.
The only institution that has the capacity to upturn any election result declared by INEC is the court of competent jurisdiction or election tribunal, after proper hearing and there is a compelling reason to do so.
“However, CAN as an organisation has for long lost its credibility particularly, with its relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 general election.
It was found in the mess of high-level corruption as a result of settlement and now that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not settle any religious body or their leadership, they can now go for broke, by fanning the embers of violence on political matters.
“We call on well-meaning Nigerians to strongly appeal to the Christian Association of Nigeria to allow peace to reign and desist from reckless and inflammatory statement that is capable of encouraging violence.
“These characters have benefited immensely from both foreign and local financial support from their collaborators which is evident in the ways and manners they engaged in vote buying before and during election.
“CAN should saddle itself with the responsibility of finding solutions to the recent persecution and violent attack on those who did not vote for PDP in Ede.
They should also not forget to intercede for those who have lost their lives and properties through a fervent prayer for God to stand by them and their families. Their only sin is that they exercise their civic responsibility by choosing who should be their leader.
“Finally, we appeal to every other organisation to condemn in its strongest term any attack on those who voted for the party of their choice in Ede and its environs in the last governorship election in the state.
“Therefore, the search for peace is the only way anybody can be meaningful to God. Whoever that is aggrieved should approach court to seek for justice.”