The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has thrown its weight behind President Bola Tinubu, pledging Pentecostal churches’ allegiance to his presidency.
PFN, in 2022, decided against voting for Mr Tinubu based on APC’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket and urged its 65 million Christians to shun any political party fielding a Muslim presidential and vice-presidential candidate in the 2023 election.
But in a congratulatory message published in a full-page advert on Thursday, the PFN said it would support Mr Tinubu’s government with prayers and counsel for him to succeed in office.
“We give Your Excellency the pledge of our support, cooperation, fervent prayers, and godly counsel at all times throughout your administration,” the PFN said in a message signed by its national president, Wale Oke.
On Monday, Mr Tinubu took an oath of office as the 16th president of Nigeria, promising to run an inclusive government and grow the country’s economy.
Tinubu, 71, a former Lagos governor, succeeded ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, who spent eight years of two terms in office.
Mr Tinubu is a Muslim politician from Nigeria’s South-West. Many groups and individuals severely censured his race for the presidency because he chose a Muslim as his running mate. Even prominent figures within his ruling APC and his so-called allies rose against Mr Tinubu based on the religious colouration of his presidential ticket.
The PFN noted that Mr Tinubu “fought a good fight and demonstrated uncommon courage, strategic capability and real grit” to emerge as the president.
“You overcame every formidable obstacle, and God Almighty has given you the desire of your heart. Please accept our hearty congratulations,” said the PFN message.
It further stated, “As you are fully aware, Mr President, our nation is grappling with daunting challenges that threaten even the foundations of her existence, ranging from horrendous nationwide administration, insecurity, near comatose economy, near infrastructural collapse, youth restiveness and heavy, unprecedented brain drain, systemic corruption, distrust of political leadership by the masses and several others.”
While urging the new president to bring the same wholehearted courage, focus and grit he used to win the presidential election, the PFN asked him to tackle the nation’s challenges and birth a new, united, prosperous Nigeria where no one is oppressed.
“It is a tough call,” said PFN. “But with God Almighty on your side, giving you uncommon wisdom to rally and unite all Nigerians for this common cause, you will surely succeed and write your name in gold in the annals of Nigerian history.”
In April, The Gazette exposed in a leaked audio how Peter Obi, a Christian from Nigeria’s South-East and a major presidential candidate in the February 25 poll, mustered Christian leaders to ramp up a sectarian appeal to push him over the line.
Last July, Peoples Gazette published an exclusive detailing an intelligence report SSS sent to President Muhammadu Buhari warning that Mr Tinubu’s decision to nominate a fellow Muslim as vice-presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election was a recipe for renewed sectarian crises that could destabilise Nigeria.