A social justice peace advocate, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam on Friday said neither he nor his wife, Prof. Funmi Para-Mallam was aware of their nomination as members of the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress as their consent was not sought.
While insisting that he is not a card-carrying member of any political party in the country, Para-Mallam said the Christian Association of Nigeria had taken a position against the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, despite the national outcry.
There was tension in CAN with the surprise appearance of about eight members opposed to the Muslim-Muslim ticket on the list of the APC campaign council.
Among them was Assistant General Secretary of CAN, Apostle Biodun Sanyaolu who was recruited as Assistant Coordinator; its controversial Lagos State chairman, Stephen Adegbite (member); Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Comfort Chigbue (member); and Testimony Onifade, former Personal Assistant to immediate past CAN President, Samson Supo Ayokunle (member).
Others are Victor Ivoke, Personal Assistant to Rev. Daniel Okoh, current President of CAN (member); CAN former Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel (member) and Prof. Para-Mallam (member).
Although the tenure of the CAN officials would elapse in ten days time, sources said that Samuel has applied for reappointment.
Since the names were made public, the issue had remained the topic of discussion in several churches and WhatsApp groups of CAN leaders.
But Para-Mallam in a statement said his name was smuggled into the list by APC.
He said, “My attention has been drawn to a list in circulation which indicates that I (or my wife – Prof. (Funmi) Para-Mallam) have been nominated to serve in the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council. Neither of us is aware of this nomination and our consent was not sorted.
“Nigeria is a great country; our present setbacks notwithstanding. But I believe that Nigeria will be great again. I love this country. I am not a partisan politician. I am a clergyman and a social justice peace advocate. I am non-partisan. I am also not a card-carrying member of any political party in Nigeria today (not that it would be wrong, but I am not at moment).
“Besides, CAN has taken a position against any Muslim-Muslim ticket and any Christian-Christian ticket. I respect that decision. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country. This contextual reality needs to show in the way our political parties play their politics through fair internal party politics.
“Accepting to serve in the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council will negate this fundamental reality of what we are as a multi-religious country. Politics of inclusiveness should override politics of exclusion not just in 2023 but beyond.
“I, therefore, wish to distance myself from membership of any campaign team of any political party in the forthcoming 2023 elections. I have some respected and close friends in all the major political parties. I will continue to work to promote political harmony and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. May God give Nigeria peaceful 2023 elections.
“God bless Nigeria and guide both the parties and Nigerians as the campaign season commences.”