Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), An Organization in Need of a Rebirth

During my formative yeas of transition from a boy to a man under the tutelage of my biological parents, I came into contact with Christianity as a means of worship of the most High. In those days, my parents were strong adherents of the cherubim and Seraphim denomination and one of the strong points of this religious sect, is the regularity of holding revivals which we call “Isoji” in the Yoruba language. Isoji or revival was seen as a means of redirecting man’s destiny to its rightful path from which he has deviated because of a breakdown in relationship between man and his Creator due to sin.

Revivals was not just held for the fun of it, but rather was embarked upon when things were going wrong and a spiritual correction had to be made to re-establish contact. During revivals, members of the church embarked on fasting and prayers religiously with prayer points at specific periods of the day to ward off impending danger, repent and seek the favour of God in one’s life. Clergymen were usually invited from other religious sects to preach on selected days till the end of the revival which was celebrated with pomp and pageantry on the last day, usually a Sunday in a manner that suggest a renewed relationship between man and God.

If there is anybody or group in dire need of rebirth through revival because of what it supposedly represents in our life, but has been found wanting due to irresponsible and unGodly conduct at variance with its calling, it is the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Recently, the United States of America, Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry visited Nigeria as part of his African tour which also included Kenya. While in the country, the American envoy visited the head of the Muslim community in Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto and Governors of states ravaged by Boko haram as well as paying a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari, wherein, he lauded and admonished the country on it’s war against terrorism and corruption.

From the schedule of his tour and statements made, any reasonable person could see clearly that the purpose of the trip was focused primarily on terrorism and corruption and that Mr. Kerry came purposely on a familiarization visit and to have a one to one interaction with traditional and political leadership of the areas ravaged by terrorist activities.

But, one was taken aback by the position of the troubled leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who instead of working hard to reconcile the aggrieved factions of the divided body as a result of its recently concluded acrimonious election, engender unity among Christians and with other religious adherents and focus on reorientating Christians along biblical lines for a better society, rather took on the American government by making unreasonable and illogical allegation to the embarrassment and consternation of right thinking Nigerians even beyond the Christian folk.

Ordinarily, you want to ask yourself that, is the attendance of Christian leaders at meetings mobilized for the visiting American envoy or whoever visits the country on specific mission now a part of their calling according to the Bible?

Unfortunately, one thought that we had put behind us, this type of reprehensible conduct which characterized the tenure of the immediate past predecessor of this new crisis infested CAN leadership.

As a Christian, one is pained and saddened about what has become of the integrity of CAN, which was once headed by eminent, responsible, focused and Father figure Christian leaders like Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, Bishops Adetiloye, SundayMbang, etc to the glory of God, but has continuously been dragged in the mud as we have seen lately?

For our information, if we all recollect, since the tenure of the immediate predecessor of Pastor Ayokunle, CAN has never been the same again. That was a period in which the body was  dragged into the murky waters of Nigeria’s politics, of which it is yet to recover, but can recover if only Christians can come together to carry out a revival as the Lord directs for the organization like we do in other matters of our private lives.

To refresh our memory, under ex CAN President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the office of the President of CAN was relocated to Nigeria’s seat of political power, Aso rock villa as he became an unofficial political special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, accompanying him almost everywhere and returning “fire for fire” of any criticisms against his “principal” from any quarter.

Infact, prior to the 2015 general elections, to the embarrassment of Christians, who are conscious of the Christians tenets of love, promotion of peace, selflessness and good neighbourliness, pastor Ayo Oritsejafor took up the position of ex President Goodluck Jonathan unofficial special adviser on Muhammadu Buhari matters as he went all out attacking the candidacy of President Buhari and propagated messages of hate and division of Nigerians along religious lines, but to God be the glory as he failed woefully because he deviated and served flesh, instead of God.

This is not to forget that this same pastor Ayo Oritsejafor also abused his office as CAN president for personal business as he became a contractor to the federal government of Nigeria which hired his private jet to ferry raw cash of 9.3 million dollars in “Ghana must go bags” to South Africa, to supposedly purchase arms but which became a huge embarrassment to Nigeria as the money was confiscated by the South African authorities for violation of the country’s financial and international financial rules on the movement of cash across borders.

Who can also forget how CAN denigrated and assaulted the sensibilities of Christians by the unGodly activities of some christian leaders who became dealers by selling their conscience for money like goods available for sale on the market stalls and preaching messages of hate and religious divisions prior to the 2015 general elections?

The height of the show of shame by the leadership of CAN came when it was alledged that the body received a bribe to the tune of N7 billion naira from ex President Jonathan to rally Christians to support his political ambition, but just like the bible posited, that any plan that is not of God, shall not stand, these christian leaders or should we say dealers who soiled their names and the image of Christianity for filthy lucre, failed woefully in their business enterprise of monetizing Christianity.

However, in all these period of the absurd, we must sincerely commend the Islamic religious leaders who endured all the provocations and inducements to remain patriotic, faithful and focused to their calling by not selling their conscience for a pot of porridge nor raise an eye lid or copy their other religion counterparts to retaliate by preaching messages of hate and division.

Also, we must note that since his assumption into office, President Muhammdu Buhari has deviated from his predecessor abuse of office and policy of promotion of self religion over others by refraining from indulging the presence of the head of Nigeria’s Islamic faith in federal  government entourage at official public functions or when on a foreign trip. This is very commendable.

For the education of our misguided and lack of focus CAN leadership, they need to be reminded that this latest outburst constitutes an embarrassment not only to Christians whom they purport to represent but have turned to representing themselves, but also the generality of Nigerians.

The trip to Nigeria by Mr. Kerry was designed and funded by the American government for a specific purpose and not for jamboree and so, they reserve the right to determine which persons and groups should be invited to meetings with the envoy during his stay and not every dick, tom and harry.

Thus, the time has come for Nigerian  Christians to come together to rescue CAN which continues to sink deeper into ignominy by admonishing the new leadership to cement the crack tearing the body apart as a result of leadership tussle and rededicate themselves to building a christian community primarily focused on biblical tenets for a peaceful, good neighbourliness and citizen, corruption and crime free and prosperous society.

And one of the identifiable ways to do this, is by organizing a revival (Isoji) for rebirth as the spirit directs, to repent and seek God’s face in repositioning the organization which has lost focus from its core mandate.

The time to start is now!

Thanks.

Yours Sincerely,

Nelson Ekujumi

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