Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nigerians Don't Fall for Akinola's Tricks

On June 10, Nigeria's Daily Sun ran this story:

...Love of power, it appears, is today threatening the brotherhood of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) following alleged attempts by the out-going National President, Right Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, to "manipulate the electoral process"...

...the contest has turned into a battle of will as the incumbent, Right Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, allegedly changed the date of election to favour his candidacy.
The election of the National President of CAN is supposed to end with the ratification of one of the two candidates by the National Assembly of CAN after NEC must have voted in favour of the candidate.

The election of the two candidates who made the list of the Electoral College by the NEC of CAN was to take place on the 6th of July.

But Right Reverend Akinola, who is one of the two contestants and primate of the Anglican Church, is said to have rescheduled the election of CAN President back from the original 6th of July to the 19th of June when Onaiyekan is already scheduled to be in Rome attending a conference of World Catholic Bishops...
One wonders why a supposed rising star like Akinola would have to result to such tricks to win an election. Possibly he is not as popular among those in his own nation; those who have been watching him up close for many years, as his supporters try to make him appear? According to this article, that is apparently the case:

...Sources at the PFN Secretariat in Abuja told Sunday Sun. that the grounds may be shifting under Akinola’s feet as he may be forced to opt out of the race due to stiff opposition to his candidacy by majority of the members.

Signs that more CAN members are uncomfortable with his tenure became clearer two weeks ago during the primaries. According to top CAN insiders, Akinola’s problem have been compounded by his penchant for keeping quiet and not criticizing former President Obasanjo’s government while “it assailed the citizenry with shoddy handling of the economy"...
Of course he's not going to criticize the former President. He owes him at least one favor that we know of. The former President pushed forward Akinola's scheme to silence Changing Attitude Nigeria by proposing legislation to jail all gays and their supporters. This does cause one to wonder what the Archbishop offered in payment for this favor. His silence, perhaps?

It gets worse. Even after manipulating things to make sure his opponent was out of the country, it appears Akinola could not rally sufficient supporters to run his campaign. His creative solution was to recruit his own bishops as campaign workers, since they all owed him a favor:

...Last week, the CAN President and Primate of the Anglican Church reportedly called a meeting of all Anglican Bishops in Abeokuta and reportedly asked the Bishops to recruit campaigners for the task of ensuring victory for the Anglican Church at the poll...
Beyond all of that, it appears Akinola failed to recognize that Nigerians no longer find his "big man" style of leadership acceptable:

...But opposition against Akinola’s candidacy is also waxing stronger with his critics citing several of his alleged misdeeds as reasons for their opposition.

For instance, one of the critics said, “throughout the period Akinola was in the saddle as President, in most meetings, there were no deliberations”, adding “Leaders will now complain about how they came from a distance without being given opportunity of airing their views."

“Again, the fire directorate of CAN did not function well throughout Akinola’s tenure. He was running a one-man leadership and treats his secretary as if the man is an errand boy"...
The election was held on June 19. Here is a report of the results:

CATHOLIC Archbishop of Abuja, Rt Rev John Onayeikan has been elected president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

In a keenly contested election in Abuja yesterday, Onayeikan polled 72 votes to defeat the incumbent and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most Rev. Peter Akinola who scored 33 votes...
It is anticipated that Peter will not be gracious in defeat:

...According to the association's constitution Onayeikan, who won majority of votes of the NEC, shall be deemed nominated as president while Akinola the runner-up is vice-president (VP), nominee.

However, sources at the NEC said: "Akinola is not likely to accept the position of VP. It may be a bit condescending for him. I will be surprised if he accepts that position when the general assembly meets on July 6"...
I suppose one must have some sympathy for the Archbishop. Most likely his success in manipulating a room of Primates in Tanzania gave him a false sense of confidence that he would be successful using similar tactics in the CAN election. Unfortunately, his countrymen appear to be wise to his tricks. Maybe he should have flown in Martyn Minns to give him instructions from the next room?


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