By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – Pentecostal Bishops from the North who visited Asiwaju Bola Tinubu last week for an interface have taken a swipe at the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal who rebuked them for the visit wondering when the former SGF became the mouthpiece of Christians in Nigeria.
The said Bishops berated Lawal for recoiling to his cocoon when he was in office, not wanting to put his position to risk despite the “unimaginable marginalization in appointments into offices by the government.”
It would be recalled that last week Thursday, Archbishop John Praise led other Christian faithful for an interface with Senator Bola Tinubu, to highlight the marginalization and injustice meted out to Christians in the North over the years which has created mistrust in Christians in Nigeria in the Muslim/Muslim ticket of the APC and the former SGF faulted such a meeting.
Reacting to the condemnation, Bishop Jonas Katung, the President and founder of Living Stone Church Assembly on Friday in Jos, said that the Bishops should be commended for taking the plight of Northern Christians before the APC Presidential candidate rather than being condemned by the likes of former SGF whose comment was out of “mischief.”
His words, “My attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation in which he made disparaging remarks against Pentecostal Bishops from Northern Nigeria who held an interactive meeting with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in FCT Abuja.
“As Church leaders and concerned citizens, a group of Pentecostal Bishops from Northern Nigeria- the region which is most aggrieved by the same faith ticket decision of the APC, decided to engage with Senator Bola Tinubu – the person who is at the centre of the controversy to express the concerns and fears of the Christian community and to allow him to explain his decision…
“The Christian leaders also emphasized that the interface was not in any way an endorsement of the same faith ticket of the APC. The Church consists of members belonging to different political parties and not being partisan, it must not portray a posture of antagonism to any political party without first having a full appreciation of their decisions and actions.
“The efforts of the Church leaders ought to be commended by all people of goodwill. It, therefore, came to me as a shock that Babachir Lawal, an eleventh-hour Christian champion had the effrontery to describe these Church leaders as fake Bishops in his ill-motivated press statement.”
Katung added, “The question Babachir Lawal must answer is why is it now that he suddenly found his voice to speak for Christians in Nigeria? It is on record that Babachir Lawal was Secretary to the Government of the Federation under the Buhari Administration for about three years before he was unceremoniously relieved of the position for conduct not in accord with Christian teachings.
“In that time, Christians have suffered unimaginable marginalization in appointments into offices by the government and while many concerned Christians voiced their displeasure at the glaring injustice on adherents of the faith, Babachir Lawal recoiled to his cocoon not wanting to put his position to risk…
“Christians are not fools, they know their leaders, they know people who passed through dangers, toils, snares and martyrdom for the course of the Faith. Babachir Lawal does not by any stretch of the imagination fit the description of a Christian leader. As Secretary to the Government of the Federation, what was his impact on the Church?
“His sudden renaissance as a champion of the faith is never altruistic but rather self-serving and actuated by blind and selfish ambition. He must not be allowed to use the church to fight his selfish battles. He was never there for the Church and cannot now speak for her.
“His description of respected church leaders as fake Bishops simply because they gave his friend turned enemy a chance to be heard depicts how low he can go for his selfish ambition even if it means smearing God’s anointed servants…”