Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akwa Ibom State, Rev. Ndueso Ekwere, has stated the neutrality of the apex Christian body in the 2019 governorship election in the state.
In recent times there has been outcry in the state over the partisan role played by some prominent Christian leaders in the run-up to the election.
But leading a prayer session for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, who consulted CAN on Sunday at United Evangelical Church, Ibiaku Itam, Itu, Ekwere made it clear that CAN did not discriminate against any candidate.
His words: “We are fathers of all in CAN. We welcome everybody. We counsel everybody that you do everything with the fear of God.”
In his written speech, Ekwere was emphatic on the will of God being done in the contest.
Said he: “In this and every other matter, our prayer is let the will of God be done.. We hand you over to the hands of the Almighty God who knows the intent of the heart of everybody and we say, Lord let Thy will be done in the life of this your son in Jesus name, Amen.”
In his remarks, Ekere also stressed on the will of God: “I believe that every government is ordained by God. If God does not say you will lead, you will not lead. It is not by your power and strength. I believe that no matter what some men say, if God says I will be Governor, I will be Governor. I will keep marching on. I will keep praying to God for His will to be done. It takes God Himself, who knows the end from the beginning, to tell who will win or not. I am happy that CAN has opened its doors. The sanctity of CAN should not be desecrated by any person in the name of politics. You should guard it jealousy. As leaders of CAN in this state, use this office very wisely.”
Ekere decried a situation where some Christian leaders in the state discriminated against some candidates, saying, “It is very wrong for the church to leave its duty of evangelizing and winning souls for Christ and go round campaigning for candidates. I will not question the wisdom of the people that are doing so but I know that is not the mind of God. As fathers of faith, as ministers of the gospel, you have people with different political persuasions, you have to be extremely careful.”
He, however, promised not to hold it against any of the said Christian leaders when he becomes Governor.
“By the grace of God, we will be victorious in this election,” he said. “We will correct the little problems that some people have tried to use the name of God to create in the Body of Christ in the state. We will not hold it against anybody. As Christians, we believe that Akwa Ibom State belongs to everybody.”
Ekere, who is the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said the 2019 governorship election will be based on performance and not on sentiments.
Recalling that former Governor Godswill Akpabio was re-elected in 2011 because of several tangible projects he had to show the people, he stated that the incumbent had no such record of achievements to show.
Ekere lamented the non-maintenance and decay of infrastructure and amenities inherited from the last government such as Ibom Specialty Hospital, Ibom Le Meridien Hotel and street lights in Uyo, the State Capital.
“From where we were, everything is going down,” he said. “That is why you should support me so that we bring change to Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom State deserves much much better. That is why I’m running for Governor so that I can give Akwa Ibom people what they deserve.”
Present during the consultation were CAN leaders and other clerics as well as members of the political class led by the APC State Chairman, Mr. Ini Okopido.
Other prominent politicians on Ekere’s entourage were Senator Ita Enang, Elder Samuel Frank, Senator Aloysius Etok, Elder Bassey Etim, Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, Abom Tony Esu, Archbishop Samuel Akpan, Obong Dan Akai and Chief Godwin Udoedehe.