The proposed election in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Plateau State chapter has torn the members of the 5 blocs apart, following the refusal of the Former President of Church Of Christ in Nations (COCIN) to resign his position as the chairman to pave ways for fresh conduct of election.
The crisis rocking the Christian Association of Nigeria ,CAN ,Plateau State chapter has continued to degenerate into full blown war between the COCIN,TEKAN and ECWA bloc where members are no longer in the good book of faith with the spirit of forgiveness, tolerance.
The Pastor in charge of Evangelical Winning All , ECWA Good News, Joshua Tuwan spoke on the current crisis in an interview with our correspondent.
CAN Members Are Playing Personal Relationship Over Peoples Interest – Rev Joshua
See The Interview Below:
Recently, election was supposed to be conducted to usher in new officials of CAN, can you give us an insight of what really transpired?
The truth of my involvement, if you are not conversant with the way Christian Association of Nigeria operates, they have 5 blocs and I belong to one of the 5 blocs. That is the Tekan, ECWA block. I have been representing my unit ECWA both at the block level and at the state level where we meet for meetings.
My involvement is based on the position offered me as a pastor of my local church; I am one of the executive members of the district, so to involve in CAN at that level, the constitution demand that you must also be a leader. I am representing ECWA based on that. I remembered last year, a time table was given in relation for election because the tenure of the supposed old leaders had expired and we were issued instructions to prepare for an election sometimes last year. I may not give the precise date but that was towards the end of the year.
There was too much postponement, the thing look as if the election is going to take place for real ,so we convened as a block to nominate a candidate. As that time the person who has served as CAN state chairman is from my block, he is Rev Dr Soja Bewarang. So he is supposed to be in the very council in my block and nomination was made and the bloc nominated me, I saw a good spirit of the council, I finally accepted the challenge to stand as candidate to vie for the position of chairmanship. A letter was issued to me by the electoral body and letter was given to me as a candidate from the bloc to vie for the chairmanship. I have the letter .When the letter got there, that is when the letter began to develop some kind of an impression that I feel ashamed to mention.
It was turned down but it was impressed upon them, I didn’t know what the reasons was, finally it was accepted and we were waiting for the day of the elections, it was within that waiting period that a letter came from the electoral college that was constitutes. It was supposed to be a 3 man representative from each of the blocs making it a total of 15 people. We also have our own candidate; I discovered that those representing my bloc came back from the meeting not feeling happy. They sensed that something quite sinister was going on, so one of them backed out, because he couldn’t contained with the process. The process that supposed to be so simple became something else. I though some people have some interest that was so unhealthy with the electoral process. Finally, they sent a letter to the bloc, the letter was purported to be from the religion leaders. This time around the bloc leaders because in the bloc, we have the Chairman, this letter was written by them and shared a copy as well. Someone else signed for the Secretariat on behalf of the Bishop, someone also signed for the Pentecostal fellowship because they are also dual, someone also signed for them .The worrisome issue of the whole matter is that the outgoing executives, two of them signed for their blocs ,my own bloc the Tekan bloc didn’t sign .
For that created a lot of problem and they sent an appeal letter to us to please allow the outgoing executives of Soja Bewerang to continue, it was really a confusing situation, here is a bloc nominated to vote for them and their group people coming from outside saying please leave this man there. It wasn’t a spectacle process at all but we prayed it low knowing that we are representing the interest of something that is bigger than us, the faith that we stand for. so a letter was written to appeal to them that please with constitution no outside bloc should interfere with the process of the event of another bloc , we appealed to them that if you present to us the former leader without election, we will object, the copy is still there, we copy to them in our petition. And the meeting ended up in deadlock. The last meeting that we heard the bloc invited us, we were unanimous in all this stage, I am telling you, but when we got to the last stage there was a black out within the house and to me,it shows that the house is not together. I think for me a house that is divided against itself cannot stand.
I only happened to be a victim of a process. Some say I am too young to be there in a church leadership. There were several insinuations around but I kept mute, but I was watching the process the last meeting we held, in that meeting it did not end well, our brothers from the Tekan bloc changed direction completely and betrayed all that has happen and the brethren from my own unit felt really disappointed. So the meeting ended that, way so we all left. That was the whole thing that happened.
The next thing they did was to carry on with the electoral process, we didn’t participate in the electoral process that was said to have taken place, so what’s took place there I cannot say anything, because I was not an eye witness. We only heard from the news as you come to me now that election has taken place, the whole executives have been returned unopposed.
Whatever that happened is left for them, the matter concluded in Plateau, we have eight districts that make our wards here on the Plateau. The leadership wrote a letter to inform the CAN Secretariat that the process of the elections was faulty, that they should please reverse and do the right thing. I had not heard anything to do with CAN.
You Said Your Bloc The Tekan Betrayed You, Do You Still Have A Good Rapport With Them?
Very well as a person and as a bloc there wasn’t any meeting, I just imagine if you talk of Christian association of Nigeria, the foundation is in the north and the major clique of Christianity work is the Tekan and ECWA and so I am a son of this ministry, I am so concerned. I am not worried for me not being there, but worried for what it has caused the house because the consequence to be in conflict over things we would have settled, it caused a lot of things, indeed there are fears for the future of Christianity in Northern Nigeria.
The Catholic Bloc Has Threatened To Leave CAN, Have They Left Or They Are Still Members?
The Catholic Secretariat to me is a bloc with honour, how they will handle this matter I don’t know and I told you that in the submission someone signed for the Bishop. I do not know whether he is aware of the fact that all things worked together the way they wanted it.
Can A Retired COCIN President Be Allowed To Go For Such Position For A Second Term Going By The Constitution Of CAN Electoral Process?
The answer is clearly no; the constitution says the person must be a leader of a denomination not a retired leader. A retired person is a retired person period.
You People Agreed Together For Your Nomination, It Is Constitutional For External Bloc To Detect To Internal Bloc?
No, that is what happening in Nigeria today, rules are not dully followed.
Don’t You Think They Might Have Play Similar Role To Down Play You And Bring The Other Person?
I have not seen him, he didn’t even attend the meeting, and usually it is the people that give their mandate.
Can The Constitution Of CAN Be Amended Without The Knowledge Of ECWA Knowing?
In fact the CAN constitution is at the process of being amended, I have attended several of the council meetings, it has not yet been adopted and even in the new constitution that I know, I tell you there is nothing like that.
What Do You Want The Leaders Of The Churches To Do Now On This Issue?
A religious leader must tell themselves the truth, playing personal relationship over people interest would never bring anything good; rather it would tie down the very people we are meant to serve. We are gradually becoming leaders that may not have followers very soon that are the direction we are going to. When you do the right thing the people would know they have a leader. A time would come when they shall realize they are just occupying office without followership.