The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has revealed how over 400 clergymen in the state shared money offered as bribe to the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, by the Peoples Democratic Party to support President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election.
The party, in a statement on Sunday, said some of the pastors drawn mostly from the Pentecostal bloc of the association, received between N50, 000 and N2 million from the N7 billion CAN allegedly got as bribe from the PDP and Mr. Jonathan.
It, however, commended the Edo State chairman of CAN, Peter Imasuen, for not partaking in the sharing of the largesse.
Following the revelation by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State that CAN received N6 billion to support Jonathan’s second term ambition, a Borno-based pastor, Kallamu Musa-Dikwa, came forward to say the actual figure was N7 billion.
The clergyman, a former associate pastor with E.Y.N. Church in Maiduguri and Executive Director, Voice of Northern Christian Movement, said the money was routed through the national secretariat of CAN, which in turn distributed N3 million each to its state branches.
The CAN has since denied the allegation and asked Amaechi and Musa-Dikwa to substantiate their allegations.
In a move that is sure to reignite public interest in the bribe-for-support scandal rocking the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, the Edo APC said on Sunday in the statement by its spokesperson, Godwin Erhahon that an insider in the CAN revealed to it at the weekend in Benin City how the money was shared.
It said “over four hundred pastors in Edo State, majority of whom are of the Pentecostal churches, shared from the bribe with some of them getting between five hundred thousand and fifty thousand naira each”.
It added that “a few others from the so-called super churches received as much as two million naira each because they claimed that their churches have more members”.
The party said it was reliably informed that while the national leadership of CAN disbursed N4 billion to its branches, it held back N3 billion with an instruction that Catholic churches be left out of the largesse from the PDP.
It said some of the bishops in Edo State were however, dissatisfied with the “greedy manner” their leaders at the top shared the money.
The APC said it could reveal authoritatively that Mr. Imasuen was one of the state chairmen of CAN, “who were godly and patriotic enough to reject the bribe, which was given to Christian leaders to campaign for President Jonathan and condemn APC Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari”.
The party also claimed that one of those who participated in the sharing of the money was already finding ways to reconcile with the APC flag bearer.