By Sam Eyoboka
AS discordant tunes continue to rage over the recent victory visit to President Muhammadu Buhari by some Christian leaders, a voice of reason has passion-ately appealed to both the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Nigerian Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, to sheathe their arsenals and stop expos-ing Christendom to further ridicule.
Reacting to a statement by CAN’s Dir-ector of Legal and Public Affairs, Mr. Samuel Kwamkur who argued that NCEF had no moral obligation to fault CAN’s visit to President Buhari because it has been disbanded since 2018, the Public Relations Officer of Northern Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, Elder Sunday Oibe said wisdom should have told the CAN official that its un-African to malign the elderly who have made invaluable contributions to the country.
He reminded the CAN official that NCEF is a statutory body birthed by Christian Social Movement of Nigeria, CSMN to promote Church unity, which was in-augurated in 2015 as a mediatory, adv-isory, reconciliatory and enlightening body in order to strengthen the Church and it can therefore not be dissolved by CAN because it didn’t establish NCEF. Oibe stressed that it’s unhealthy to wash our dirty linings in the public.
“What is happening between CAN and NCEF is a personality problem which uninformed officials must be careful to respond to because its deep rooted and unless you are fully briefed you will just making a mockery of our faith. There is no problem between the two bodies be-cause are playing complementary roles in the interest of the Church. It’s a per-sonality, ego and pride problem and it will soon be over. I can assure you that after July all of these will fizzle out,” he said matter of factly.
Advancing the concerns of the NCEF, Oibe expressed disgust that after the outrage that greeted the 2019 general elections which had been adjudged by local and international observers as the worst in Nigerian history, saying “any person who is reasonable must be con-cerned about the elections.
“Any serious Nigerian Christian should be concerned about the trial of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onno-ghen. He is a Christian and we have obligation to protect our own and must not be in a hurry to rush to congratulate the president over an election that is still being contested in the law court.
“I expect all the issues to clear before rushing to pay a congratulatory visit to the president. The people who went have their reasons for going but I am not happy that CAN and NCEF are pitched against themselves,” he stated, noting “do you see Arewa Consultative Forum, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, JNI and all the Islamic groups fighting in the public? Why must Christ-ians be fighting themselves?
“If tomorrow you have a different CAN president who has understanding there will be not fight because the role of CAN and that of NCEF are complementing one another. National Christian Elders are not looking for pulpit to preach. They are mostly people who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and just want to give back to the faith they belong to.
“I also need to stress here that nobody has the authority to disband any other because some of these people issuing statements today have forgotten some of these elders laid the foundation of the things they’re enjoying today.
“Why on earth will these young lads who were in their mothers’ wombs be making provocative statements in the public about eminent persons like Gen. Joshua Dongoyaro, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, Justice Obebe, Mrs. Priscila Kuye, who was once NBA president and Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye. There is nobody in CAN today who has contributed to the growth of the Nigerian Church as Owojaiye. Are these the kind of persons you can abuse and malign in the public? Can’t we solve our problems in house?
Elder Oibe who has served CAN at the national level for over 34 years, how-ever, counseled the national elders of the Church to please sheathe their sword after making their point known to the world.
“I don’t agree that members of the NCEF have nothing to do with CAN because they are members of CAN. Everybody who is a Christian in Nigeria is a member of CAN and nobody can dispute that; the fact that one is holding an executive office in CAN does not make any person a CAN owner than any other,” he added.