Our attention has been drawn to a Press Release signed on behalf of CAN by Bishop Steve Adegbite, the Director of National Issues and Mobilization, on Wednesday 14th November, 2018 condemning the intervention of NCEF in the contentions and crisis amongst the CAN Executive.
Arising from the aforementioned Press Release, NCEF wishes to clarify as follows:
- It is not possible for NCEF that was inaugurated on 15th January, 2015 to be in the current Constitution of CAN which was signed into effect in 2004. The statement that because NCEF is not in the Constitution of CAN and therefore not qualified to make comments on CAN issues is trite and irrelevant. If that logic should stand, then CAN itself has no right to make comments on National Issues and engage the Federal Government because CAN is not mentioned in the Nigerian Constitution.
- NCEF would want to remind Rev. Ayokunle and his officials in CAN of the song of warning that God caused to be sung for them during the meeting of NEC on Friday 12th October, 2018, after Apostle Alex Bamgbola submitted his contentious Committee Report:
“You cannot hide it from God
You may cover your (deeds) sin that no one else may know
But you cannot hide it from God.”
- It would be pure mischief and disrespectful impudence to claim NCEF is unknown to CAN. The Forum was inaugurated by the immediate past President of CAN and it held various meetings with all Executives of the five Blocs of CAN, the Executive and National Directors of CAN, the Zonal Chairmen, and all the States Chairmen during its Unity and Reconciliation Meetings in 2015. NCEF also produced the first Strategy Document of the Nigerian Church. All these Reports were presented to NEC and adopted by the National Executive Committee of CAN. Therefore, for anyone to claim NCEF is not known to CAN is unfortunate.
- When the crisis of the current Executive of CAN started, NCEF convened Mediating Meetings with all the Executive and National Directors to resolve the conflict. The Christian Elders also set up two Committees of eminent Christian leaders to investigate and help resolve the crisis.
The first NCEF intervention Committee was headed by a retired Military General.
The second NCEF intervention Committee was headed by a Supreme Court Justice (Rtd.).
The mediations did not achieve desired result because CAN leadership ignored the Reports of these two independent Committees. This is the reason the crisis lingered in the Church. The indicted CAN Officials opted for self constituted Committees which attempted to sweep the scandals under the carpet thereby exacerbating the crisis.
- The Nigerian Church is very unfortunate in its current group of CAN Officials. The intransigence and unwillingness to accept correction is un-Christian. Even if crime was committed or mistakes were made, the Christian response is to repent and seek forgiveness. This would have resolved the crisis a long time ago. The unwillingness to resolve issues based on truth and righteousness by the indicted CAN Officials place serious question mark on conversion and discipleship.
- It is equally unfortunate that Nigerian Christians are vociferous in condemning corruption of politicians as well as the mis-governance of the current Federal Government. Scripturally, Christians are pointing at the speck in the eyes of the politicians while ignoring the beam in their eyes. Lk. 6: 41 – 42) If this level of cover-up is going on in the Apex body of Christianity in Nigeria, no Christian has the moral right to complain about corruption in Nigeria.
- NCEF does not agree that it is trying to “supervise” CAN; far from it. The National Christian Elders Forum are stakeholders in CAN and has the right to demand accountability from its representatives. The “immunity clause” that the current CAN officials wish to accord themselves is non-existent.
- The current officials of CAN should remember that they are elected/appointed to serve tenure. Other people have held the office they currently hold and there would still be other officials after them. Therefore, the current officials should be careful not to jeopardize Christianity in Nigeria due to moral shortcomings.
- After due investigation and various consultations, NCEF affirms to Nigerian Christians that Prof. Joseph Otubu is neither mischievous nor deceitful. There are definite acts of fraud, violation of CAN Constitution, lies, criminal Audit Report, and so on, that are consistently being swept under the carpet. If the Church is unable to confront sin within its camp, how would it confront sin in the nation?
- NCEF is made up of 27 Christian Elders from all the geo-political Zones in Nigeria. Average age in the Forum is 70 years. It is inconceivable that these accomplished Elders would seek to malign or slander a younger man occupying the office of the President of CAN. If Nigerian Church does not confront sin and evil within its household, the consequences could be disastrous to Christianity in the entire country. “A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump.”
- NCEF once again calls on all Christian leaders in Nigeria to note that what is going on in CAN is not an entertainment. If it is not confronted firmly with truth and justice, its consequence on Christianity in Nigeria would be calamitous. It is righteousness that exalts, sin brings destruction.
- NCEF wishes to remind Nigerian Christians that the greatest danger to Christianity in Nigeria is Christian collaborators with Islamists. Without the Christian collaborators, Islamists could not have the upper hand in the nation. The Church has to be circumspect to ensure that it is represented by individuals of high moral integrity that would not become easily susceptible to financial inducement.
Solomon Asemota, SAN
14th November, 2018