By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
NATIONAL President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, for the first time yesterday attempted to respond to recent verbal attacks on his person by the CPC presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, describing the attack as better ignored.
The CAN president congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan and elected persons at different levels for their success at the April 2011 elections, saying the president should write his name in gold by appointing credible and God-fearing persons into the next cabinet who will deliver the dividends of democracy to the masses of the country, adding: “Political or any other consideration should not play any role this time around because Nigerians have grown wiser and the nation is marching on to greater heights.”
According to him, the Government should focus on the power sector, healthcare, infrastucture, security, stating that insecurity in the country is a function of massive unemployment in the country.
Pastor Oritsejafor told reporters at the Lagos while responding to a question during a press conference on the state of the nation: “I will not respond to foolishness. Such persons should be left to their foolishness. Anybody who knows what I stand for. Some of you know what I have done over the years and know what I stand for.” So, people who for whatever reason, now want to defend things which are not defendable, should be ignored,” he added.
Earlier in his statement, Oritsejafor again condemned the post-election violence, describing it as “absolutely unnecessary, barbaric, primitive, crude and the most senseless thing to do at this period of the nation’s political history.” He maintained that Nigeria cannot continue to crave for unity at the expense of one segment of the country, pointing out that the only viable road to unity in the country is when every religious, political and traditional leader make deliberate efforts to speak the truth to their adherents always.
According to the CAN president, the only way the nation can arrest incessant ethno-religious crises in the North is to amend the nation’s laws with a view to making host governors where violence takes place accountable for any damage arising from the crises.
“As a nation, we cannot continue with this culture of impunity,” he said “I will suggest that governors of states where such violence occurs in the future, must be held accountable for the colossal loss of lives, property and business premises. The National Assembly should enact a constitutional provision making it mandatory for the Federal government to assess the extent of damage and deduct monetary compensation from the statutory allocations of such governments.”
In addition, Oritsejafpor said such governments must be made to rebuild torched worship centres, adding that as a remedial measure, President Goodluck Jonathan should immediately convene a meeting of all state governors and security chiefs where, he said governors should pledge to maintain peace and tranquility in their respective states.
Stating that socio-political progress of any nation depends, to a large extent, on the ability of every individual to stand in brotherhood despite all our religious, ethnic, tribe, political, economic, social and all other various differences.
On the debate over the continued relevance of the NYSC scheme, the CAN president argued that the Federal Government should do more to protect these innocent young people who are the hope of tomorrow or in the alternative ensure that members of the scheme should be made to serve in their respective geo-political zones.
Asked if the monetary compensation offered by the president was adequate, Pastor Oritsejafor argued that Nigerians should be contented with the government’s gesture, adding that “no amount of monetary reward would be sufficient for the life of the lost members.”
He then averred that it is important for the Federal and state governments concerned to also compensate all those families who lost dear relatives during what, he called ‘madness.’ Oritsejafor revealed that 84 churches were burnt down during the post-election violence, stressing that these churches including mosques, if any, should be rebuilt.
“If you do not that, then you are encouraging this sense of impunity that has taken over this country completely, where people just feel they can wake up and do whatever they like because they fell they will get away with it. So, compensation is very important and it should be huge so that both the Federal Government and the state government will feel it and think twice in the event of another crises.”