SaharaReporters has learned exclusively that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has warned the outgoing national president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor to abandon his alleged plans to rig the association’s forthcoming elections. 

The Catholic Bishops urged Pastor Oritsejafor to rethink any design to rig the election, adding that CAN under his watch had deviated from the original objectives for which the association was formed. 

The Bishops demanded that CAN’s electoral process be suspended with immediate effect, adding that this suspension was a condition for the Catholic Church’s continued membership in CAN. 

The Catholic Church had once withdrawn from CAN but reconsidered its stand on the expectation that Oritsejafor would change his leadership style. 

The Catholic Church’s current stance was contained in a letter to Oritsejafor dated June 9, 2016, and signed by the President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama.

The letter reads: 

“The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), which represents the Catholic Church in Nigeria, has observed with sadness how, for some years now, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has continued to deviate from the original objectives for which it was founded. The CSN has on various occasions appealed to the leadership of CAN to do all it could to ensure that the noble ideals of the Association be not only recovered but also promoted. Unfortunately, these appeals have so far been unheeded. This situation of things constrained the CSN to suspend active participation in the affairs of CAN, with a request that sincere efforts be made to improve the situation.

“The way and manner in which the electoral process of CAN has been handled does not show any willingness of the leadership to do things in a way worthy of the Association. We can no longer go along with the way things are now. The CSN therefore demands that the current electoral process be suspended forthwith until the heads of the five Blocks of CAN reconvene (which we hope will be as soon as possible), to work out a way of bringing the Association back on track, so that it may serve the purpose for which it was originally founded. This is the only condition under which the CSN can positively consider its continued membership of the Association.”

Ayo Oritsejafor

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