Inside details of Aso Rock’s plot to change CAN leadership

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Tension is high among top Christian leaders over the tussle to take over from the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The tussle has created a crack among the top echelon of the apex Christian body with powerful forces believed to be keenly interested in the choice of who succeeds Oritsejafor whose six-year tenure ends in May.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engineer David Babachir, is said to be working with some presidential aides to influence the outcome of the secret ballot election billed for March.

Babachir, a pastor in the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), is said to be backing the aspiration of a candidate from the ECWA/TEKAN bloc of CAN.
Informed sources hinted that CAN executives have decided Oritsejafor’s successor will emerge from the ECWA/TEKAN or Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) blocs.
While the ECWA/TEKAN bloc is said not to be interested in the post, there is serious rift among churches in the OAIC bloc over who should take the slot.
On one side, some are supporting the ambition of the chairman of the CAN South West region, Archbishop Magnus Atilade.
Atilade, who is President of Gospel Baptist Conference in Nigeria and Overseas (GBCNC), has been reaching out to leaders from the CCN and Catholic Secretariat blocs to achieve his ambition.

The tussle has created a crack among the top echelon of the apex Christian body with powerful forces believed to be keenly interested in the choice of who succeeds Oritsejafor whose six-year tenure ends in May.
Two weeks ago, he organised the Evening with Archbishop Atilade dinner, which was a surreptitious campaign/ fund-raising event for the CAN presidency.
The Atilade’s camp believes it has the support of OAIC leadership. At a secret meeting last week in Lagos, the bloc was said to have decided to field the Oyo-born cleric as its candidate.

But some forces within the OAIC bloc believe the endorsement is just a ruse to deceive Atilade, who is said not to be in good terms with the current CAN leadership.
Oritsejafor is said to be disposed to the emergence of General Evangelist of Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide (MCCSW), Professor Elder Joseph Otubu, as his successor. The duo, several sources confided, have a succession pact, which has been kept under wraps for over two years.

Otubu, a renowned gyneacologist, has been secretly campaigning among PFN leaders as well as delegates from the northern regions. Many of them, it was gathered, have given him their words of support.

Otubu, who was allegedly excommunicated by the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim Church (ESOCSC), which his late father, a Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance once presided over, does not have the backing of OAIC leaders.
Many of them, investigations revealed, are intimidated by his erudite scholarship and wide connection, fearing he might outshine them should he clinch the CAN presidency.
The debate on whether or not only blocs can put up candidates for elections will be reopened on Tuesday when CAN holds its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
This, his supporters believe, was why he was allegedly forced out of ESOCSC by envious leaders.

Otubu is aware of the conspiracy against him in OAIC and is said to be banking on running as an independent candidate.
But forces loyal to Atilade are insisting that only candidates nominated by blocs can stand elections for the top post.
The debate on whether or not only blocs can put up candidates for elections will be reopened on Tuesday when CAN holds its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
The strategic meeting, it was learnt, is expected to come up with modalities and guidelines for the elections.
While pro-Atilade forces are working behind the scene to ensure only blocs nominate candidates, Otubu’s supporters are also lobbying for the contest to be thrown open.

There is apprehension that the meeting might get unruly based on the high stakes involved.
Otubu’s aspiration is further threatened by the resolve of Babachir to back the ambition of a candidate from ECWA/TEKAN bloc.
He is said to be working with the theory that President Muhammadu Buhari needs a pliable CAN President to achieve his agenda. Babachir is said to be teaming up with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar, who is also said to be interested in influencing the successor of Oritsejafor.

The Sultan has been having a running battle with Oritsejafor with whom he does not see eye-to-eye over national issues. He and Babachir believe having a controllable CAN President will serve their best interests.

On Sunday, a group in the body, Christ Redeemers Union (CRU) vowed it will resist the plot by certain forces with the presidency to fix the forthcoming CAN elections.
Babachir is said to be teaming up with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar, who is also said to be interested in influencing the successor of Oritsejafor.
National Director of CRU, Dr. Ebenezer Olusola Abednego, said: “Our determination to resist Buhari and APC in determining who President of CAN becomes is a battle of No Retreat, No Surrender.

“A top official in the Presidency, who is spearheading the campaign, has started deploying resources for logistics towards ensuring the emergence of a church leader in the Northern part of the country believed to be friendly to Buhari.
“The government official is funding some religious leaders in the North, who have been recruited as foot soldiers to perfect the strategy.
“There is tension now in CAN and the action of the Presidency has polarised the association along North-South dichotomy as Northern religious leaders are being lobbied to support the plot.”

He added: “But we are vehemently opposed to government meddling into a purely religious affair and should the Presidency succeed in installing an APC/Buhari stooge in CAN, we will pull out of CAN. We are ready for them.
“We have it on good authority that some Muslim leaders from the North are behind the plot.
“But by the power in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, every knee shall bow and they won’t succeed.

Many leaders in the body are apprehensive the succession battle might throw the body into another round of crisis.
Already some concerned stakeholders have reached out to surviving founding fathers of the organisation to save it from complete extinction.
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