By Sam Eyoboka
ADVOCATES for Freedom and Democracy (AFD), a coalition of 63 Christian fellowships and groups of professionals bonded with the vision to address anti-Christian and undemocratic agenda in Nigeria is poised to throw a spanner in the wheel of CAN president, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle’s ambition for re-election.
In a letter titled: Christianity endangered in Nigeria: The need to reposition the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) soliciting support of members of National Executive Council of CAN who will decide who becomes the next CAN president, the group argued that Rev. Ayokunle does not deserve a re-election.
The letter signed by Prof. Kontein Trinya, Prof Joshua Ojo and Barr Isaac Eze on behalf of the group stated that the “Church in Nigeria in our day is confronted with an existential threat from Islamists emboldened by foreign governments and their local collaborators in high and low places.
“Daily, we are inundated with very saddening news of the abduction of priests and Christian traditional leaders, forced conversions, Christian girls being forcefully ‘married’ off to Islamists, Christian villages being overrun and resettled by jihadists, massacres at educational institutions, etc., all of which appears to be swelling to the eventual Armageddon, unless someone rises soon.
“Against that painful background is the never-before assignment of only Muslims of a particular northern extraction to head virtually every arms-bearing security agency in Nigeria; a pattern that has been replicated in every other strategic agency, for example, the education sector. The only exception in that sector is the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board where the Moslem head is from the south-west, but who is also the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs.
“During his visit to Aso Rock in November last year, the Rev Dr Dachollom Chumang Datiri of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) presented a gruesome report to President Mohammadu Buhari, of horrendous persecutions and terrors deliberately targeted at the Church; hundreds being killed and displaced without mention in the press. Christians in Nigeria have become an endangered species. This is certainly a time of war, as our opponents themselves have declared, although there are those who still insist on the gross denial. That brings us to the focus of this letter.
Between Solomon and Jephthah
Every season calls for its peculiar leadership. Excellent peace-time leaders do not always make effective war generals. Winston Churchill was a great war time leader; a prominence that might have been diminished if he had been leading in calmer times. God knew why He raised David when He did, and Solomon not in the days of the wars of David. That was also the wisdom of the elders of Gilead in Israel. They had the numbers, they had the arms, but they needed the weapon of right leader at a time of war, even if they had to go far to fetch that prepared person (Judges 11:4-6).
While we suggest that the contributions of the current leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) be recognized, given the tempestuous season, it is our persuasion that the Church in Nigeria has found itself where the wise elders in Gilead once stood.
The office of the President is obviously the most critical among the national offices. In her wisdom, the National Executive Committee of CAN at its last exercise, has already cleared two candidates for the office. We wish to suggest for your prayerful consideration, that instead of a contentious election that will make us even more vulnerable to the forces of darkness threatening to devour the Church in Nigeria, Dr Caleb Solomon Ahima be presented as consensus candidate. Especially coming from the persecuted regions of the Church in this season of war, we are persuaded that he feels the pinch enough to lead in the present confrontations against those opposing forces. This will also be charitable to his TEKAN/ECWA bloc which is yet to produce a CAN president in the 43 years of existence of the Association. A fresh hand would be a great leadership asset in the present threats against the Church in Nigeria.
We thank you immensely for taking time to go through this letter. We trust your prompt response to our humble call, that we don’t miss this critical opportunity to reposition the Church and effectively mobilize against the forces of Hell that desperately seek to destroy us and our heritage. We plead with members of the National Council of CAN to kindly appreciate the significance of this period in enforcing the will of God on earth. May it not be said of anyone, like Esau, that they sold their destiny for temporary food, waking up thereafter in tears, but too late to regain the treasure they had traded off (Heb. 12:16-17). History, and more importantly, Heaven, waits to witness our response; yours.
We thank you for your kind attention, and may Heaven depend on you. Amen