At an event witnessed by many Christian leaders at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, Reverend Ayokunle formally assumed the leadership of Can having been elected president in June. Born on Friday, January 25, 1957 in Oyo, in Oyo State, the Reverend Ayokunle, the president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, who contested on the platform of the Christian Council of Nigeria, emerged Can president on June 14, polling 54 votes to defeat his only rival, Elder Joseph Otubu of the Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide, who garnered 28 votes.
He becomes the seventh national president of the largest ecumenical body in Africa after Cardinal Dominic Ekandem, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, His Eminence Sunday Mbang, Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Pastor Oritsejafor. Reverend Ayokunle is taking the mantle of leadership at a very critical moment of inter-religious tensions and crisis in Nigeria that has left over 400 Christians dead.
However, the biggest challenge the new Can leadership will face is that of reconciling aggrieved parties in the association. There are daunting tasks ahead of Reverend Ayokunle’s administration which will require collective efforts to resolve in the spirit of the association’s motto, especially the insurgency in different parts of the country.
Recent documents also predicted more serious religious crisis in Nigeria if proper attention is not paid to reports from the nation’s intelligence community. According to sources, the politically-motivated crisis may shake the nation’s unity in the wake of the killing of Christians by Muslims in the Federal Capital Territory, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue States.