The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has warned Festus Keyamo, the spokesman of the All Progessives (APC) Presidential Campaign and all “those peddling falsehood to desist from such acts because they are capable of defaming innocent people and revered religious institutions as well as breaching public peace.”
Daniel Okoh, the CAN president, issued the warning in a statement on Sunday, denying claims that the Christian umbrella body was given N2 billion by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP).
Recall that the Social media handles promoting the presidential campaign of APC’s Bola Tinubu, including Keyamo had circulated a bogus petition, which claimed that Obi gave N2 billion to churches through CAN to help mobilise their congregation to vote for him.
But reacting the CAN president, said “the so-called letter of petition reportedly signed by one Pastor Frank Onwumere and addressed to my office is illogical and can best be described as a failed attempt to drag the apex Christian body into the politics of 2023.”
He stressed that the association is non-partisan and will not endorse or mobilise support for any candidate.
The statement read, “The attention of the National leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been drawn to a purported letter currently in circulation on social media, alleging that a certain sum of N2bn was given by the presidential candidate of Labour party, Mr Peter Obi to Churches under the umbrella of CAN.
“I use this medium to categorically state that the so-called letter of petition reportedly signed by one Pastor Frank Onwumere and addressed to my office is illogical and can best be described as a failed attempt to drag the apex Christian body into the politics of 2023.
“However, we will investigate the source of the letter in the interest of the public.
“To set the records straight, I am not aware of any N2bn given to Churches in Nigeria to mobilise votes for any 2023 presidential candidate and never received the said petition dated December 22, 2022.
“Nigerians should note that CAN, as a faith-based entity, maintains its non-partisan stance and will not endorse or mobilise support for any candidate in the upcoming elections as against the social media post being circulated by some elements bent on soiling its name and image
“CAN, therefore, urges members of the public to disregard the purported letter of petition as its content are not only untrue, but malicious.
“We warn those peddling the falsehood to desist from such acts because they are capable of defaming innocent people and revered religious institutions as well as breaching public peace.”
Meanwhile, the media team of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign described the purported claims of N2bn largesse as a “propaganda material” designed to injure the rising political profile of Obi.
In a statement on Sunday, the Head, Media, Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign, Diran Boniface, said the allegation was the ‘killer punch’ the LP had earlier warned Nigerians that the opposition was planning in their attempt to discredit Obi.
He said, “Recall that on February 6, 2023, the Obi-Datti Media Office, acting on credible intelligence, alerted the nation to a grand design to fatally injure the rising political profile of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, with what they called a ‘killer punch’ propaganda material.
“We hinted that the so-called ‘killer punch’ will come in various forms, including but not limited to a documentary portraying Obi in various negative lights.
“But as election day draws nearer and the victory of their ‘unwanted’ Obi looks real, the anger and frustration of some dubious characters have increased. We are even beginning to notice some state of despair which is resulting in senseless violence and blackmail all aimed at distracting and removing the candidate’s eyes already glued to the ball.”