By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
As electorate in Osun state decide who would take over the mantle of political leadership in the state for the next four years, Christians in the state have been told to disregard the false information being peddled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agents in some churches that the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has instructed Christians in the state to vote for a Christian candidate in next month’s governorship election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement in Osogbo on Saturday, 11th July, 2014 said that it is not impossible that some officials and members of the churches involved may have received gratification from the opposition PDP to introduce religious sentiment into a purely political matter.
Equally, the leadership of the state chapter of CAN has categorically dissociated itself purported instruction.
While refuting the claim In a statement made available to journalists in Osogbo on Sunday, 13th July, 2014, the CAN leadership in the statement signed by its Chairman, Rev Ogundiya said: “Our attention has been drawn to a political statement going round some churches. OS-CAN leadership hereby dissociates itself from such as we are spiritual fathers to all irrespective of political affiliation. By this announcement, we hereby implore all to exercise their franchise according to their conviction devoid of any coercion whatsoever.”
Thus, Christians in the state, through the CAN statement, have been advised to vote according to their conscience, and not because one candidate is a Moslem and the other a Christian.
Reacting to this, the APC said: “The religion of a leader has nothing to do with the choice before citizens of Osun on August 9th. What is important is the quality of service which either of them has rendered to the people of Osun.
“The vital question before our people is, between Aregbesola and Omisore who would you rely on to make life in Osun State better for the people?
“Omisore and his party, the PDP had been in the politics of Osun for nearly eight years between 2003 and 2010. Their most outstanding achievement was the creation of Osun State University which was made beyond the reach of the poor. But for the most part, the duo of the PDP and Omisore practically ruined the State.
“It took Aregbesola’s intervention to make that state university accessible to everybody rich or poor alike. And within 47 months of being in office, the APC government under Aregbesola has so impacted the lives of the people that no leader since Osun was created has been as popular as Aregbesola.
“There is no discrimination whatsoever between Christians and Moslems in his administration. When Aregbesola decided to feed 300,000 primary school children- he did not discriminate between Christian and Moslem children. Through the O’YES programme, over 40,000 youths have been engaged without discrimination on religion. The over 3,000 tailors engaged sewing uniform for over 750,000 students in public schools in the state; and another batch of 3,000 food vendors providing food for our free lunch programme for pupils in elementary schools in the state were not chosen on religious basis. There are more. Simply put, the programmes of Aregbesola are people-oriented targeted at all people irrespective of race or religion. Even today, there are more Christians in the state cabinet than Muslims while there are more Christian members in the state House of Assembly than Muslims.
“Our balance, when you look at Christian- Christian governorship of PDP administration between 2003 and 2010 in comparison with the Moslem-Christian ticket that he has ruled Osun since 2010, responsible and reasonable Christians know the wide margin of difference between both. The latter outclasses the former.
“So Christians don’t need any church or pastor or bishop to say what is best for them. Christians are among the most rational people in Osun and they know that Omisore, the Christian candidate of the PDP is a notorious fellow.
“They cannot prefer him to the Moslem Aregbesola of the APC who has so transformed Osun from amongst the worst governed to one of the best administered states in the country today. His Islamic religion may have influenced his attitude to governance.
However his popularity and success in governance, today in Osun is purely on the basis of his performance. He has touched the lives of the people, and made their environment better than it ever was irrespective of whether they are Moslems or Christians.
“Thank goodness that CAN leadership has dissociated itself from the un-christian attitude of some pastors and churches in Osun that are trying to deceive their followers in the name of CAN calling for Christians to vote for a notorious so-called Christian politician of the PDP”.
The ruling party therefore called for unity among citizens of Osun as they go to the poll on August 9th to vote for the better candidate who they know will bring progress to the state.