Oritsejafor is new CAN President.

After over three months of delay and tension, National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, on Monday emerged the new President of the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, the hristian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

He defeated the incumbent CAN President, Most Rev. John Onaiyekan, at the National Executive Committee (NEC), elections.

He becomes the first Pentecostal president in the 34-year history of the association.

CAN presidency had rotated between the Catholic Church, which had produced three presidents, Anglican Communion (one) and the Methodist Church Nigeria (one).

Oritsejafor posted 66 votes out of the possible 105-member NEC to defeat Onaiyekan who garnered only 38 votes.

Oritsejafor had earlier won the shadow elections at the Electoral College level by polling eight votes as against Onaiyekan’s four and his vice president, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, who polled three.

The PFN helmsman will now be recommended to the National Assembly of CAN, which meets on Tuesday at the same venue to ratify him as the next National President of the association.

According to reports from the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, the expected ratification will just be a formality as Onaiyekan has accepted the outcome of the elections and openly congratulated Oritsejafor.

Onaiyekan, who would have been nominated to become the Vice President in the incoming dispensation, also declined to serve in that capacity and NEC therefore resolved to propose Okoh to take his place as the CAN new Vice President in the next three years.

According to CAN Constitution, the National Assembly, the highest policy making organ of the association, comprises 50 members each from the five confederating church groups, one representative from each of the state branches of CAN and the Federal Capital, 10 national officers of the association, two members each from both the youth and women wings and past presidents and general secretaries.

Membership of the CAN National Assembly is made up of 301 members, excluding the number of past presidents and general secretaries, and they will be required by the constitution to ratify Oritsejafor as the President.

The ratification is simply by majority votes of the representatives qualified to vote, while the runner-up, Onaiyekan, would also be ratified accordingly as the vice president.

In the event that any candidate was opposed by the majority of the National Assembly, the CAN constitution says, the Electoral College would be requested to reconsider the suitability or otherwise of the candidate, based on the reasons adduced by those who opposed it.

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