A former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and ex-Commissioner for Information in Edo State, Kassim Afegbua, on Sunday, accused the main opposition party of masterminding the current stand-off between the Christian Association of Nigeria and the ruling All Progressives Congress over Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He accused some PDP chieftains of hiring some persons, whom they dressed in cassock as “Bishops and Reverend Fathers, just to embarrass the APC candidate; whom they dread so much.”
He claimed to have “insiders in PDP who are giving me blow by blow accounts of what transpires,” warning the main opposition party to “get serious and stop trivialising serious issues with mundane scripting of nebulous plots in the name of politics.”
The former Edo information commissioner noted that the”PDP is very desperate to make inroads into political camps that would help it pursue its political aspirations. C.A.N is being sponsored by the PDP, and the PDP works for C.A.N.”
Afegbua further said in a statement on Sunday entitled, “PDP BEHIND C.A.N STANDOFF AGAINST APC” that his latest findings had revealed that the PDP had been sponsoring CAN to whip up “undue religious sentiments” against the APC presidential flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
He accused CAN of working for the PDP with the sole aim of weakening the APC and forcing it to reverse its “well-thought-out decision” to have a Muslim Vice Presidential candidate.
Afegbua alleged that the plot involving the Christian religious body, CAN was to satisfy the
desire of the PDP to have a weak candidate from the North with a view to strengthening and consolidating its chances against the ruling APC in the 2023 elections.
He further alleged that the PDP had set up and had covertly been funding a committee to sustain the religious sentiments against the APC.
Afegbua also claimed that he got a confirmation from a very reliable source that a meeting of the PDP committee was held a few days ago at the Asokoro home of an unnamed media mogul “where a decision was taken to sustain the umbrage” against the APC.
The former PDP chieftain, however, warned that if members of the committee “refuse to desist from such satanic plots just to score cheap political points”, he would be constrained to reveal their identities and even mention their names.
The full text of Afegbua’s press release states as follows:
PDP BEHIND C.A.N STANDOFF AGAINST APC
For the past few days, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has been upbeat over the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives’ Congress- APC-. Taking an interrogative assessment of their activities, one would think they are altruistic in their demand for the number 2 position, but latest findings by me, have revealed that CAN is actually being sponsored by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party -PDP- to whip up undue sentiments against the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima and indeed, the APC. It started from former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who has never won in his polling unit, Hong Local Government, Adamawa state, to other CAN leaders who have never deemed it fit to cede the presidency of the association to a core Northern Christian. In the over 46 years of CAN, the closest was Cardinal John Onaiyekan, from Kaba, in Kogi state as president of CAN. All other Presidents have been of Southern extraction; yet, they desire to have a weak candidate from the North to strengthen PDP in the election.
Let me state categorically and without any iota of doubt that CAN as a body is working for the Peoples’ Democratic Party. They are being sponsored to sustain a political awareness that cannot pass any true test of ecclesiastical emanation. The PDP had earlier set up a committee to sustain these sentiments in the realisation that it will weaken the APC and force it to rescind its well thought-out decision to choose a Northern Muslim as the Party’s Vice Presidential Candidate. They are being funded covertly by PDP elements and my very reliable source confirmed a meeting held in Asokoro at the home of a media mogul, few days ago, where a decision was taken to sustain the umbrage. I will mention names very soon if they refuse to desist from such satanic plots just to score cheap political point.
It is one thing to be a Christian, and another, to be a member of CAN. In 2015, the Catholic body had accused the CAN under Pastor Oritsejafor of politicising the body instead of concentrating on serious issues that could advance the collective aspirations of the people. The Catholic body had suspended its participation in CAN activities as a direct response to such politicisation. CAN has just entered another phase of such politicisation again by its standoffish posturing in the name of muslim-muslim ticket of the APC. Bishop Matthew Kukah has given very informed perspectives on the muslim-muslim ticket, saying it only presents the voters with options and choices. Those who are fanning the embers of disunity and religious intolerance are located within the vineyard of the PDP. Rather than face their campaign with a candidate that is contesting against the run of play, they are already asking the APC candidate to withdraw from the race.
The PDP chieftains were the ones who went to hire some persons, decorated them with robes to assume the role of Bishops and Reverend Fathers, just to embarrass the APC candidate; whom they dread so much. I have insiders in PDP who are giving me blow by blow accounts of what transpires. Please PDP, get serious and stop trivialising serious issues with mundane scripting of nebulous plots in the name of politics. PDP is very desperate to make inroads into political camps that would help it pursue its political aspirations. C.A.N is being sponsored by the PDP, and the PDP works for C.A.N. Rather than devote time, energy and attention to articulate solutions to our existential problems, CAN leaderships are busy raising dust where there is none. Our problem is not religion. Our emphasis should be how to find solutions to our problems and not dig into our religious differences.
PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA.
FORMER MEMBER, PDP.
FORMER COMMISSIONER OF INFORMATION, EDO STATE.