A member of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, has distanced himself from the inclusion of his name in the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Para-Mallam was reacting to a report done by Naija News that eight CAN members who are opposed to the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling party were named as members of the APC campaign council.
Following the development, the inclusion of the CAN officials in the Bola Tinubu campaign team had generated a lot of controversies and remained the topic of discussion on several forums.
But in a statement on Friday, Para-Mallam said his name and that of his wife were smuggled into the list, adding that their consent was not sought before the inclusion in the council.
The social justice peace advocate added that neither he nor his wife, Prof. Funmi Para-Mallam was aware of their nomination as members of the Tinubu campaign team, stressing that he is not a card-carrying member of any political party.
He said, “My attention has been drawn to a list in circulation which indicates that I (or my wife – Prof. (Funmi) Para-Mallam) have been nominated to serve in the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council. Neither of us is aware of this nomination and our consent was not sorted.
“Nigeria is a great country; our present setbacks notwithstanding. But I believe that Nigeria will be great again. I love this country. I am not a partisan politician. I am a clergyman and a social justice peace advocate. I am non-partisan. I am also not a card-carrying member of any political party in Nigeria today (not that it would be wrong, but I am not at moment).”
Para-Mallam also said CAN had taken a position against the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC, saying that he respects the decision of the Christian body.
He added: “Besides, CAN has taken a position against any Muslim-Muslim ticket and any Christian-Christian ticket. I respect that decision. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country. This contextual reality needs to show in the way our political parties play their politics through fair internal party politics.
“Accepting to serve in the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council will negate this fundamental reality of what we are as a multi-religious country. Politics of inclusiveness should override politics of exclusion not just in 2023 but beyond.
“I, therefore, wish to distance myself from membership of any campaign team of any political party in the forthcoming 2023 elections. I have some respected and close friends in all the major political parties. I will continue to work to promote political harmony and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. May God give Nigeria peaceful 2023 elections.
“God bless Nigeria and guide both the parties and Nigerians as the campaign season commences.”