The Bishops and other clerics whose attendance at the formal unveiling of former Borno State governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as the running mate to APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, sparked controversies and insinuations of sponsored impersonation, have offered proof of their status as ordained clerics and founders of different Christian ministries.
The Christian leaders also clarified that the widespread misunderstanding that they attended the event as representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was untrue.
Addressing a press conference Monday in Abuja, secretary of the clerics’ umbrella body, the Muslim-Christian Love Foundation, Bishop Adams Abel King, who read their statement on behalf of others, said they never portrayed themselves as emissaries of CAN at the event.
Bishop Abel King also said their identification with Senator Shettima and the APC was informed by his transformation of Borno State, where he handled management of social relations, including the protection of rights for all regardless of religion, while he was the governor of the state.
The group said: “Although Senator Kashim Shettima took the mantle of the state at a difficult time marked by terror attacks and deadly insurgency, his mature, cautious, and decisive management of the state’s affairs helped preserved the social fabric that held several communities together and reassured members of the Christian faith that the government remained committed to their freedoms and wellbeing.”
They also recounted “his (Shettima) rebuilding efforts targeted at the Christian community, including the reconstruction of churches affected by terrorist activities.”
According to the clerics, the contributions and sincere commitment to the constitutional obligation to uphold the rights of all without prejudice or bias qualify Senator Shettima as a brother and an ally in their quest to promote peaceful inter-faith relations in the country.
They dismissed claims of being sponsored to impersonate leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria at the event.
While justifying their authenticity as church leaders, the group made public their respective churches and ministries, some of which have existed for several years.
They include; the Christian Revival Evangelical Mission Worldwide of Apostle Godwin Livinus; the Divine Prophetic End Time Gospel Faith in Kubwa, Abuja of Bishop Dr. Emeka Theodore; the Light House of all Nation Ministry of Bishop Emmanuel Sunday Jayeola, among others.
Condemning the attacks and harassment they suffered over their participation at the APC event, the group said it was their democratic rights to make a political choice.
They, however, urged a critical evaluation of reports and allegations before their spread and amplification in the press, “particularly on social media where mob antics, driven by ignorance and malice, have strained social ties and caused divisiveness.”