Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Ayo Oritsejafor Voted CAN President

President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor was yesterday voted as the new president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

He was voted by an electoral college of 104 members, where he polled 66 votes against the incumbent, His Grace John Onaiyekan's 38 votes.

Archbishop Daniel Okoh who is of the Organisation of African Instituted Church of Christ (OAIC) was made vice president.

Oritsejafor's election along with that of his vice will be ratified today by the General Assembly comprising 301 members.

Going by CAN's constitution, Onaiyekan, who is also the Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, would have been the vice president having scored the highest votes after Oritsejafor, but he said he cannot comeback to be vice president having been president himself.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the election, the CAN General Secretary Engr. Samuel Salifu said the election was peaceful.

Salifu said that while in office Onaiyekan was able to bridge the rift between Christians and Muslims in the country, stressing that Onaiyekan was a peaceful person who did not believe in spitting fire when presenting Christian issues.

"He has also bought an estate for CAN in Kubwa and laid the foundation stone for the construction of 300-bedroom Guest House at the Ecumenical Centre," Salifu added.

Onaiyekan as well as the newly elected president declined speaking to journalists yesterday.

Delegates who spoke to Daily Trust expressed satisfaction with the way the election was conducted.

The Niger State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Musa Dada, said: "I like the way Onaiyekan conducted the election. Immediately the results were announced, he shook Oritsejafor, congratulating him."

The election was conducted by an electoral committee headed by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Ola Makinde under close doors.

The 104 NEC members who voted were drawn from the five blocs in CAN - Catholic Church, Christian Council of Nigeria, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Evangelical Church of West Africa, ECWA, and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. Each of these blocs produced 10 members to vote at the election.

Other members included the Women Wing and the Youth Wing, which have a member each represented at NEC.

There are also 37 members, one drawn from each state of the federation including Abuja.

Oritsejafor, an Itsekiri, is happily married and resides in Warri, Delta State, with his wife Helen and family. He is also a prolific author of Christian books.

In 1980 Oritsejafor started the regular and popular television programme, "Hour of Deliverance", which presently airs in many local and international television and Satellite Stations.

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