The General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Tuesday denied meeting with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The church in a statement on Tuesday said Adeboye was under the authorities of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, adding that he would not speak “on behalf of Christians on issues regarding policies”.
This is even as the leadership of the APC announced that Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Shettima, would be presented on Wednesday at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, amid rumour of a protest by aggrieved party members and religious bodies.
Adeboye’s clarification took the wind out of speculations making the round on social media platforms and online media.
Reports had filtered in earlier than Tinubu had surreptitiously led a delegation to see the RCCG overseer on Sunday at the Redemption Camp in Ogun State.
The report claimed that Sunday’s meeting with the cleric was in line with the party’s proposed consultation to appease aggrieved religious leaders and bodies like the Christians Association of Nigeria.
The Lagos State APC chairman, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, had told our correspondent five days ago that there are plans by the former Lagos State governor and the party to engage with aggrieved stakeholders including CAN.
Ojelabi strongly believed that reconciliation and sustained enlightenment campaign would help assuage frayed nerves ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said, “Tinubu and the party will engage all stakeholders on the need to really play down on this issue of religion and think of the future of our country ahead of the 2023 general elections,” he said.
“I can tell you that it has started already. Tinubu is a very liberal person. He is not far from these Christian leaders. He is closer to them than most people know. It is just a matter of reaching out to them to explain the situation of things and the need to give him the opportunity to turn the country around for good.”
It, therefore, did not come as a surprise when news filtered in on Tuesday that the APC presidential candidate had met with Adeboye at the Redemption Camp on Sunday.
As the report gained currency on social media platforms, the church department issued a disclaimer hours later, debunking the speculation and saying the cleric Adeboye would never endorse any candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The statement partly reads: “This is to inform the general public that Pastor E.A. Adeboye is under the authority of God, the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and as such, will not speak on behalf of Christians on issues regarding policies.
“Pastor E.A. Adeboye and the RCCG have not and will not endorse any candidate for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria. The news reported by Daily Post is false. Daily Post and other News Outlets should desist from spreading false information about Pastor E.A. Adeboye and the RCCG, as it defeats the code and ethics of journalism and the full weight of the law will be employed if such happens in future. God bless you.”
The Special Assistant, Media and Communications, to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, had a few weeks ago condemned the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He stated, “The Christian Association of Nigeria has stated it clearly that the situation in the country now is not suitable for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“It is up to Nigerians to accept or reject. Today’s Nigeria is not the same as when Nigerians voted Abiola-Kingibe ticket which was eventually annulled. Our prayers are with Nigeria and Nigerians,
Also, CAN’s General Secretary, Rev. Joseph Bade Daramola, in a statement, said the group would consider Muslim-Muslim ticket “as a declaration of war.”
In a related development, the APC announced on Tuesday that it has rescheduled the presentation of Shettima for Wednesday.
The development is coming nine days after the national leader of the party the former governor of Borno State as vice presidential candidate.
Shettima will be officially unveiled by 1.00pm at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
Following the release of the statement, news made the round that aggrieved party members and religious bodies who were against the Muslim-Muslim ticket are planning to storm the venue in protest.
Our correspondent reached out to some aggrieved members to find out if they are equally participating in the protest.
When contacted, a staunch loyalist of former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Ibim Semenitari, declined comment but promised to call back.
As of the time of filing this report, she did not get back to our reporter.
He said, “I am not in Nigeria at the moment. I have been out of the country for over a week. I am in London. Even if I am in the country, I won’t go there to protest anything because I have left the party. Those who are still inside the APC are the ones that may protest because you want to show defence.
“I have moved on, though they have been asking me to come back. I have spoken with a number of chieftains in the party including Shettima but I have not changed my mind yet.”
The Director General of Asiwaju Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation, Adebayo Shittu, has claimed that Muslims make up 65% of the southwestern part of Nigeria.
He made this assertion in an interview on AIT, during the Focus Nigeria show, on Tuesday.
Shittu was justifying the decision of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, to pick a fellow Muslim, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate.
Tinubu, who is a southern Muslim, had incurred the wrath of the Christian Association of Nigerian, some party.
Tinubu, who is a southern Muslim, had incurred the wrath of the Christian Association of Nigerian, some party members and political stakeholders when he announced Shettima as his running mate.
Justifying his principal’s choice, Shittu maintained that southwestern Nigerians were predominantly Muslims.
“In the South-West of Nigeria, the Muslims constitute an average of 65%,” of the population, the lawyer asserted
When asked if his claim was based on fact or projection, he said, “I don’t tell lies. You can investigate. Do your research.”