The lingering three-month crisis rocking the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) following a mediation visit by some Bishops to former vice president, Atiku Abubakar and some aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors has taken a new dimension with a plan to institute legal action against the CAN president and some of his bishops.
It would be recalled that Bishops and Clerics Forum of Nigeria (BAFCON) from the Niger Delta, under the aegis of Global Peace Relief Initiative, led by its President, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, visited Atiku Abubakar and the Adamawa State Governor, Muritala Nyako seeking to broker a peace deal between the G7 governors and the presidency.
It was reliably gathered that the visit did not go down well with Pastor Oritsejafor, who is a political associate of President Jonathan and some notable PDP governors. He took action against the clerics and slammed them with suspension from CAN.
CAN sources which confided in SaharaReporters said Pastor Oritsejafor viewed the visit as a plan to fight against the interest of President Jonathan.
“It’s no longer a secret that Ayo is a card-carrying member of PDP and he sees everyone who fraternizes with former vice president Atiku and the G-7 governors as enemies to his president friend. Are you aware that President Jonathan before now promised to make several billions of Naira to the CAN with coaster buses? But I can confidently tell you that about 50 billion Naira and some buses have since been released to the political CAN president in fulfilment of the promise ahead of the 2015 general elections. Why should the CAN president be angry because some bishops visited Atiku and Adamawa governor when he moves around with President Jonathan and romance with state governors?”
Investigations however revealed that in order to show to President Jonathan that he will continue to fight for his interest and protect him, the CAN president connived with one of his political Archbishops, God-Dowell Avwomakpa and a strong proponent of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, and slammed down the suspension order on the Bishops.
Avwomakpa, CAN’s South-South Chairman, said in a statement, “There is nothing wrong with clergymen initiating or brokering peace process between two factions but for some bishops to do so in the name of a body that I head and the head and other executives are not consulted gives a wrong signal and suggests a dangerous trend in the body of Christ.”
He gave the names of the bishops suspended as Prophet Jones Erue, Bishop Julius Ediwe, Bishop Bob Manuel, Bishop Abhulemen Josiah, Bishop Konel Offiong, Bishop Innocent Chiedozie, Bishop Alex Okubo, Bishop Felix Ezebunwo, Bishop Charles Okoh, Bishop Peter Abingon and Archbishop Eddy Ogbonda.
“As if that was not enough, Ayo and his cohorts went to town to pay different groups and bodies to castigate the Bishops on pages of newspapers as well as condemnation all to the interest of President Jonathan and their pay masters. Ayo, Avwomakpa and their cohorts are well known contractors who get jobs from the Delta state government even at times when they are given these jobs they sell them off, we know how they play their hide and seek games and nobody has ever challenge, castigate or condemn them in pages of papers, TV and radio. Yet they call themselves men of God,” another CAN source stated.
In addition to the suspension of the bishops, a group of Christian youths, Christian Youth Movement for Emancipation and Justice, (CYMEJ), said to have been sponsored by the CAN president and Avwomakpa, came out castigating and condemning the Bishops.
Shortly after the suspension, Pastor Oritsejafor dissociated CAN from the group of the Bishops in the visit.
Reacting to their suspension, Prophet Erue told SaharaReporters that his group has concluded all plans to institute legal action against Avwomakpa and CAN, saying that the Archbishop had no capacity to suspend them.
“Avwomakpa has no capacity to suspend us. He is not our member. We only invited him to join us when our delegation visited Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We give him 48 hours to retract the announcement of our suspension and all the bad things he said about us on Delta Television or else we will institute legal action against him and CAN.”
According to him, his group now knows the enemies of the country and would not allow them to sleep. He described the CAN president’s statement to the effect that CAN was apolitical as laughable, accusing him of getting involved in the politics of calumny and name dropping.
“Issue of national interest everyone must take seriously, the picture of our visit as being painted by these people is cosmetics, fake, the true picture is that this country is in a big mess because of the leadership crisis at hand. How can you go to pages of newspapers to suspend people without calling to hear from them first? On what ground is the man who is doing the suspension, are we members of your association, is CAN compulsory for every Christian, must you be a member of CAN before you can be a pastor? I am not a member of CAN, my church is registered with CAC and I don’t need permission from CAN or PFN to operate.”
Erue made it clear that they might not own private jets but they were people of unquestionable character, dependable leaders and steward of peace.
“We are disappointed that a leader could sit and watch his two children fight while the rest of us suffer only to come and blackmail those who take their time to seek solutions to the crisis,” he said, adding that no amount of blackmail or intimidation would deter them from the noble mission to rescue the country from imminent collapse.
During the Bishops visit to Governor Nyako of Adamawa state, BAFCON had blamed the government of the day for using police and other government apparatuses to victimize their perceived enemies, saying that as men of God, they will stand in the way of such politicians. The forum noted that although clerics are known to be apolitical, they should ensure justice and fairness prevailed in Nigeria’s political setting as their congregations should be well served through the equitable distribution of resources and wealth.
Erue also lauded the fight against impunity, injustice, and lawlessness by Nyako and other governors within the PDP, and for their resilience against all odds and persecution.
“Nigeria has two laws, one is selective. Olagunsoye Oyinlola was removed as the National Secretary of the PDP based on court judgment and another man was sworn in less than 24 hours [but] when another court reinstated him, the second law applies and they refused to honor the court order. I met somebody in Ghana when I went for a seminar who told me that Nigeria has invented a new mathematics formula where 5 is greater than 27 and 16 is greater than 19.
“We are bishops, the highest body in the Christiandom which comprises about 500 bishops; we are troubled in our minds with the situation in the country. Without mincing words, our traditional rulers have failed; we clergy men must wake up to our calling and join forces with those who are fighting impunity in the nation’s interest.”
Source: Sahara Reporters