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THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN) IN THE CONDUCT OF CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN AKWA IBOM STATE NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
The roles religions have been playing in nation building are gradually being noticed by the larger society. Both Christian and Islamic organizations have launched several efforts to address the matter of credible elections which were hitherto left almost exclusively to government and secular organizations. Several researchers have highlighted some of the contribution of Christianity toward sustainable development.That religious organization can play vital roles in addressing some of the ill in the society is a testimonial of their relevance to contemporary society.
Along this line of thought, Akanbi (2010:101-111) posited that religion is indispensable if Nigeria must have good leaders. He surmised that apart from the call for religious leaders to inculcate virtues necessary for good leadership in their members. They should also speak out against evil that plague the society. This is an acknowledgement of the role of religion in the society. Interestingly, Obaje (2005:31) sees religions as a vital tool for the development of national morality. He further noted that since religion is the greatest driver of morality, it becomes inevitable that Nigeria cannot pursue its quest for good governance which encapsulates transformation and rebranding-without the involvement of religious organisation as active players. Religion has made noticeable contributions in Nigeria. Similarly, it has been shown that the absence of good governance in Nigeria is more of deficiency in moral rectitude than political miscalculation or unsolicited amalgam of people of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Also, some Nigeria hold that moral rebirth is a Sine qua non if the quest for good leadership must be attained. Considering the place of religion in the Nigeria politic,the question now is what role CAN should play toward the conduct of credible election in Nigeria particularly in Akwa Ibom State. This question forms the basis on which this investigation is predicated; the expectation of Nigerians from the Christian Association of Nigeria towards promotion of credible election.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is a fact that virtually all election in Nigeria have been marred by gross irregularities. These irregularities include but not limited to electoral violence, voters apathy, snatching of ballot boxes, harassments, forging of result sheets, denying voters of their right to vote and buying. It is obvious that CAN has not playedenough role in ensuring the conduct of credible elections because there has never been free and fair election in Akwa Ibom State. Hence, it has become imperative that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) should play a role in ensuring the conduct of credible election in Nigeria and particularly in Akwa Ibom State.
Scholars have approached the issue of conducting credible election in Nigeria from various angles. However, a careful analysis of available literature indicate that none of the literature approached the issue from the point of view of involvement of CAN in conducting credible election in Akwa Ibom State. Thus as Nigeria is approaching another election season it has become imperative to carry out a study on how the conduct of credible election can be achieved. This explain why this work is very important.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The overall purpose of this research is to investigate the role of CAN in promoting credible election in Nigeria and particularly Akwa Ibom State in this light, the research will seek to address the following objectives.
- Investigate the forms of electoral irregularities in Akwa Ibom State.
- Examine the effect of electoral irregularities in Akwa Ibom State.
- Examine the roles CAN should play in conducting credible elections in Akwa Ibom State.
1.4 Scope of Study
Basically, this research investigates the conduct of credible election in Akwa Ibom State it does not involve into the roles other religious bodies can play.
1.5 Significance of the Study
By its scope and content, this research work spans several academic fields such as religion, sociology, political science, etc. As such, this research will be significant to broad spectra of people.
The findings of this study will be significant to people and organisations from various background especially those interested in the church-state debate, such as sociologists of religion, political scientists and analyst, legislators, policy formulators, and students studying religion of sociology. In religiously pluralistic Nigeria, this group of persons have been interested in the equidistance between religion and polities within the public space.