NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
MEDIATION AND RECONCILIATION
… Based on the sensitivity of the issues under consideration, the National Christian Elders had stressed at meetings in Lagos and Abuja on December 6 and 7, 2016, that as much as possible, details of the issues should not be documented. The intention of the Elders was to have a “family discussion” with the CAN Executives and quietly resolve every issue. Unfortunately, the NCEF was given no other choice but to document these issues since there seems to be an intentional design to frustrate mediation and reconciliation in the affairs of the Body of Christ in Nigeria …
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary - 3 – 4
Section 1 - The Need for Mediation in CAN - 5 - 21
Section 2 - The Precarious Position of the Body of Christ in Nigeria - 22 - 46
Section 3 - Recommendations - 47– 51
Section 4 - Conclusion - 52
Based on the sensitivity of the issues under consideration, the National Christian Elders Forum had stressed at meetings in Lagos and Abuja on December 6 and 7, 2016, that as much as possible, details of the issues should not be documented. The intention of the Elders was to have a “family discussion” with the CAN Executives and quietly resolve every issue. Unfortunately, the NCEF was given no other choice but to document these issues since there seems to be an intentional design to frustrate mediation and reconciliation in the affairs of the Body of Christ in Nigeria.
The Memorandum is divided into four sections. With respect to Section One, the Memo points out how and why the NCEF was set up and its mandate. NCEF made attempts to meet with Dr. Supo Ayokunle but this was unceremoniously rebuffed. The impression was that the President of CAN did not want to meet with members of the NCEF, probably because he did not want to discuss the issues highlighted by the Elders Forum. The National Christian Elders Forum listed the following issues for discussion with the President of CAN:
- The existing relationship amongst the CAN Executive
- The relationship between CAN and Church Groups
- Geo-political Zone sensitivity in CAN
- Maintaining and strengthening the structure of CAN
- Ecclesiastical Bill
- National Christian Protest: Objectives and Methods
- Filling the vacuum of Christians in Nigerian Politics
- Violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by Islamists
With respect to lack of cooperation, the individualistic handling of the contentious visit of John Kerry to Nigeria and the visit of the “Northern CAN” to President Buhari showed that the National Secretariat of CAN is not functioning as a team. To worsen issues, the CSN served notice on CAN in September 2016 giving 16 conditions under which the Bloc would continue participation in CAN. The impression the NCEF has is that both within the National Secretariat and the Blocs, the present CAN Administration is plagued with contention which should immediately be nipped in the bud.
The NCEF provided guidance from the Social Teaching of the Church that could help in meeting between CAN and CSN. The meeting should hopefully take place next month.
The Memo also touched on the need for CAN to be geo-politically sensitive in its appointments at the National Secretariat in order to sustain the budding unity of the Church as well as strengthening the structure of CAN from external infringement. The issues concerning accommodation for CAN President in Abuja, CAN Trust Fund, National Christian Protests, in addition to Ecclesiastical Bill presently at the National Assembly are discussed. Also mentioned is the need to re-organize CANAN (Christian Association of Nigeria American) which presently does not reflect CAN in any way but is using the name of CAN to promote sectional political interests in the Church.
Section Two of the Memo focuses on the PRECARIOUS POSITION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST IN NIGERIA. The Islamists in Nigeria had hidden the fact that Jihad and Islamic Supremacy are the centrality of Sharia. That Sharia is incompatible with Democracy was discussed at length. There is need for Christians in Nigeria to fill the vacuum created by Christian indifference to Governance; after all, Politics is a Battle of Ideas. Christians have no political party that represents Christians in Nigeria. With respect to the Violation of the 1999 Constitution, the Memo referred to two articles by Professor Nwabueze (a) and (b) at page 29 and concluded that the Constitution did not say that only political parties are voted and not individuals as was decided by the Supreme Court in Amaechi’s case. Also, Section 315 (5) (c) which provides for four Acts to apply as part of the Constitution, constitutes a distortion of the Constitution, and that the entire Constitution should be abrogated. With respect to the Police, it is the view of Prof. Nwabueze that Sections 9 (4) and (5) of the Police Act are inconsistent with the constitution and should be declared null and void. The Constitution did not provide for a Commander in Chief for the Police.
With respect to the fight against corruption, the NCEF is of the view that it is the Rule of Law that is fighting back and not corruption. It reminds Nigerians of Decree No.4 of 1985 which legalized Corruption and further constituted the first Post – Truth legislation in Nigeria. The NCEF pointed out in the Memo that Islamism has come to stay in Nigeria referring to Pakistan and Malaysia, where though they are Muslim States, they are still grappling with terrorism.
The Memo explained what is meant by Post-Truth, that Political Islam is not Islam and made some concluding remarks concerning political party imbalance, the old lady Barrister Mrs. Grace Onaiwu Omogui as well as some relevant portions in Obama’s farewell address of January 10, 2017.
Section Three contains 23 Recommendations while,
Section Four, the Conclusion suggest that the ball in now on the court of Dr. Supo Ayokunle that Christian Unity must not be compromised and further that:
The NCEF has decided to make this Memorandum in the interest of Christian Unity and Common Good open to scrutiny to enable good reasoning give way to better reasoning.
God bless Nigeria.
Solomon Asemota, SAN
12th January, 2017
THE NEED FOR MEDIATION IN CAN
The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) was inaugurated by the immediate past CAN President , Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor on January 15, 2015 as an advisory, mediatory, reconciliatory aid to the Body of Christ in Nigeria – CAN. While playing mediatory and advisory roles within the body of Christ, the NCEF also engages Government on policies - social and political issues that concern both Democracy and Christianity in Nigeria.
Each of the Christian Elders was formally invited by CAN with a letter signed by the General Secretary on behalf of the CAN President. The Christian Elders are not busy-bodies but responsible men and women who have served the nation with distinction in various capacities and, in their old age, were invited to bring their combined experiences, wisdom and competencies, to help the Body of Christ in Nigeria in its life-threatening struggle with Islamists (Political Islam) who are determined to supplant Democracy with Islamism by applying “Taqiyya” (lying) and also to stealthily transform the Nigerian Constitution to a legal document that would also provide for the Koran as a parallel source of legislation in Nigeria until such a time that it can be regarded as superior to the Constitution.
This clarification becomes necessary in view of the disturbing signals emanating from a few Church leaders who perceive the NCEF as a competitor in the struggle for earthly power among and between the Nigerian Clergy. The National Christian Elders’ Forum comprised mainly Laity members of the Body of Christ with a sprinkling of some senior Clergy. It was the reasoning of the then CAN President that Christians in Nigeria require other credible subordinate bodies within the Body of Christ to speak and act on behalf of Christians and Christianity in the country. During the inauguration of NCEF, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said:
“So far, it has been the Christian Association of Nigeria that has been speaking against the various acts of injustice and inhuman treatment meted out to Christians in the northern parts of the country. We have come to the point in which we need the Elders of Christianity from across the geo-political divides in the nation to speak with one voice. It is crucial that Christian elders engage the Government, at every relevant level, as well as the security agencies, the judiciary and other religions in the nation in order to bring lasting and peaceful solution to the crisis on the ground.”
Besides engaging the Government and Islamists in the country, Pastor Oritsejafor continued, “As the letter of invitation points out, the National Christian Elders shall be summoned as situation demands to speak out and resolve critical issues that affect both the Christian faith and the nation.”
It is in the exercise of this mandate to “speak out and resolve critical issues that affect both the Christian faith and the nation” that the NCEF sought audience with the new CAN Executive. The Christian Elders are persuaded that there are critical issues that require mature Christian counsel and intervention in CAN, primarily, and in the Body of Christ in general. The Elders met in two groups on December 6 and 7 in Lagos and Abuja respectively. Both meetings reached the same conclusion that an urgent interaction should be held with the CAN Executive.
In furtherance of this objective, the Christian Elders suggested four dates (from December 19 to 22, 2016) to the CAN President to choose from to meet with the NCEF. The Christian Elders are surprised that even though their letter was sent twice to the CAN President, (7th and 12th December, 2016) there was neither acknowledgment nor response. The closest in response is a follow up SMS message to the Secretary of NCEF stating the CAN President’s request that the Elders come to Ibadan on December 29, 2016 for the meeting. The Elders were unable to accept this date because it would deny its members across the nation (outside of Lagos), the opportunity to participate in the crucial meeting with the CAN President.
The NCEF is uncomfortable with the response from the CAN President as it confirms NCEF’s apprehension that there are serious contentions brewing in the CAN National Secretariat. As the Body of Christ in Nigeria facing external onslaught from the Islamists, it is crucial that its internal fortifications are cohesive and impregnable. Unfortunately, the disturbing signals emanating from the National Secretariat suggest disunity in the Body of Christ in Nigeria that has taken a new dimension in which even Christian Elders are perceived as foes.
Based on the sensitivity of the issues under consideration, the Elders had stressed at meetings in Lagos and Abuja on December 6 and 7, that as much as possible, details of the issues should not be documented. The intention of the Elders was to have a “family discussion” with the CAN Executive and quietly resolve every issue. Unfortunately, the NCEF was given no other choice but to document these issues since there seems to be an intentional design to frustrate mediation and reconciliation in the affairs of the Body of Christ in Nigeria.
We were however surprised to read that the CAN President was in Abuja on December 21, 2016, (one of the dates we suggested), to attend a Federal Government organized Christmas Carol Service. The NCEF is saddened and embarrassed by this “master” and “servant” treatment by the CAN President. Christian Social Teachings tells us “God's fourth commandment also enjoins us to honor all who, for our good, have received authority in society from God. It clarifies the duties of those who exercise authority as well as those who benefit from it. --- Those who exercise authority should do so as a service. "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant." --- The exercise of authority is meant to give outward expression to a just hierarchy of values in order to facilitate the exercise of freedom and responsibility by all. Those in authority should practice distributive justice wisely, taking account of the needs and contribution of each, with a view to ensuring harmony and peace. They should take care that the regulations and measures they adopt are not a source of temptation by setting personal interest against that of the community." [Articles 2234 – 2236] It is not the tradition of any of the 389 Ethnic Nationalities in Nigeria to treat elders with contempt. The oldest member of the Forum died a few days ago at 91 years. The current oldest member is 85 while average age in the Forum is 70. In the above circumstance, the NCEF should be shown respect and consideration. On our part, we pray that God will grant us, as Elders, divine wisdom to mediate on matters concerning the Body of Christ in Nigeria to which we belong and bring about reconciliation in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 5: -18 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” [KJV]. The Body of Christ in Nigeria cannot afford to have an acrimonious National Secretariat. A house that is divided against itself cannot stand.
ISSUES OF CONCERN
In our letter to the CAN President, the National Christian Elders Forum sought opportunity to meet members of the CAN Executive viz:
- The CAN President
- The Vice President
- The General Secretary
- The Asst. General Secretary
- The Honorary Treasurer
If the meeting had taken place, the National Christian Elders’ Forum had intended to discuss the following issues, among others:
- The existing relationship amongst the CAN Executive
- The relationship between CAN and Church Groups
- Geo-political Zone sensitivity in CAN
- Maintaining and strengthening the structure of CAN
- Ecclesiastical Bill
- National Christian Protest: Objectives and Methods
- Filling the vacuum of Christians in Nigerian Politics
- Violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by Islamists
In the absence of the meeting, the NCEF wishes to state as follows:
THE EXISTING RELATIONSHIP AMONGST THE CAN EXECUTIVE
Following the acrimonious electoral process that finally resulted in the election of the incumbent President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle PhD, it is on record that the CAN General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, took a bold stand that frustrated overt attempts by Islamists in government to plant an operative stooge as the CAN President . It was this stand that made Dr. Asake both loved and hated at the same time. He was loved by those of us who desired and worked for the independence of CAN and hated by the Islamists who wanted to see CAN compromised as part of the ruling party. As it turned out, the renewal of the tenure of the General-Secretary provided another opportunity for the amorphous groups that wanted to see CAN compromised to obtain their pound of flesh from Dr. Asake.
It is pertinent to point out that when Dr. Asake was recruited, his contract was for four (4) years renewable for another four (4) years. The NCEF was aware that the Islamists and their agents were determined to “punish” the General Secretary for throwing a spanner in their works. At the same time, a larger portion of the Body of Christ wanted to see Dr. Asake continue as Secretary primarily to “appreciate” him and to safeguard Christian ethos and ideals in Nigeria. Sensing the mood in the Body of Christ, the NCEF, during its inaugural meeting with the newly elected President on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 appealed to him, to allow the General-Secretary continue in office. The Elders took time to remind the President that but for the stand of the General Secretary, he, the incumbent, might not have been elected.
Despite the counsel of the Christian Elders, during the meeting of the CAN National Executive Committee (NEC) held on October 4, 2016, the President was not disposed to the renewal of the tenure of the General-Secretary. The NEC eventually took the final decision as three out of the four Blocs that participated in the meeting, voted to retain the General Secretary while one Bloc voted against it. This marked the beginning of a crisis that could have been averted.
It would appear that the new President was either unable to gauge the mood in the Body of Christ correctly or the pressure put on him by the outside body referred to earlier, was too strong for him to resist. Needless to say, that this episode soured the supposed cordial relationship that should exist between the President and the General-Secretary of a Christian organization and also partly responsible for the lack of harmony in the CAN National Secretariat.
It is necessary to point out that the NCEF, even though it was neutral during the CAN election, suggested to the Church leaders that based on the feelers it received during its Unity and Reconciliation meetings, the mood in the Church was to permit Blocs that have never produced the President of CAN to do so. This view was supported by those who desire equality and balance amongst all the Church Groups. This fact notwithstanding, a delegation of NCEF was the first Christian Organization to visit the new CAN President in Ibadan because of the understanding that the office of CAN President is the creation of God, but how the position is filled is left to the free will of the people, in this case, Christians in Nigeria of which NCEF is part. NCEF’s apprehension about the other candidate, who unfortunately, worsened matters by proceeding to the court, was predicated on the perceived improper handling of his candidacy. To date, NCEF is yet to understand how a man not duly nominated by his Bloc, could claim such mandate and impose himself not only on his bloc, but also on the entire Body of Christ in Nigeria.
We have it on good authority that the CAN President paid a private courtesy visit to a former Head of State and a prominent traditional ruler immediately he was elected. While some may perceive the visits as innocuous, our fear is that the CAN President may have been admitted into the axis of modern colonialism in Nigeria – Military and Traditional Rulers, the two bodies that are the power house of colonialism and are the closest friends of the Islamists in Nigeria, who see Christian unity as anathema. It is not impossible that this axis would have sought to convince the CAN President to toe the line of modern colonialism and mediocrity which involved not only the removal of its General Secretary, Dr. Asake but also the dissolution of NCEF, and abrogation of the Christian Trust Fund. We are pleased to note however, that the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle PhD has realized that the NCEF operates with the best of intentions for the Common Good of Christians and Nigeria.
LACK OF COOPERATION AT THE CAN NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
The NCEF is sad that the present crop of the CAN Executive find it difficult to work together as a team. Two examples would suffice:
- After the divisive visit of John Kerry to Nigeria, members of Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) prepared a protest letter addressed to the US Congress. They wanted the CAN President to sign the letter so that it can carry weight internationally. The CAN President however declined because, as he said, the newly appointed American Ambassador to Nigeria (Mr. David Young) wrote a letter of apology on behalf of the government of USA and brought it to him. To date, both the CAN Vice President and the General-Secretary claim not to have seen the letter. It would seem that the letter forestalled the planned Christian protest at the US Congress, Washington DC, which would have made a good case for the Body of Christ in Nigeria in the United States. The conclusion is that the decision to suspend protest at the US Congress was taken without the involvement of both the Vice President and General Secretary of CAN.
- In November 2016, a group called “Northern CAN” approached the CAN President and informed him that it had received appointment to pay a courtesy visit to President Buhari. This was at a time when the Buhari Administration refused to see the CAN President and his team. When the issue came up for discussion during the President in Council meeting on November 4, 2016, it was discovered that the decision to permit “Northern CAN” to visit President Buhari was solely taken by the CAN President without the inputs of the Vice President and the General Secretary. The President-in-Council roundly condemned the action and he, (the CAN President), had to apologize. This embarrassing situation could have been avoided had the Executive been working as a team. “North” and “South” as shown in this Memorandum ceased to exist since 1967 when General Gowon created the 12-state structure for the country.
The NCEF undertook this reconciliatory project because of its understanding of the workings of the Islamists to achieve their goal of political Islam. These include:
- Co-opting key leadership of Christians. The way some Church leaders behave toward other denominations tend to suggest that they have been co-opted by the Islamists. An example is when Church leaders say ‘nobody can Islamize Nigeria’, when Nigeria has long been Islamized as established in this Memorandum. In 1976 when Nigeria became a member of the OIC consequently an Islamic State, Section 10 was not enshrined in the Constitution as Nigeria was under the dictatorship of the Military. But the Military Government continued to deny membership of the OIC until 1996 when Sultan Dasuki informed the Pope that Nigeria was a member of the OIC. The effect of the statement of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is that Nigeria’s membership of the OIC is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
- Subverting Christian organizations such as accusing the erstwhile CAN President as being corrupt for acquiring an airplane when some Church leaders have two or three airplanes or suggesting that the plane was involved in money laundering when this falsehood was the machination of the Intelligence Service to discredit among Christians and Church leadership prior to the 2015 election, thus promoting Post Truth politics – a reliance on assertion that “feel true” but has no basis in fact. Even when the truth is discovered it becomes of secondary importance.
- Many well-meaning leaders of other faiths and their Churches and Synagogues penetrated have been compromised through Islamist influence under the guise of “interfaith dialogue”.
- Prominent secular leadership figures in communities across the country are induced to provide what amounts to political cover for the Islamists. This is done when they lend their prestige and authority to Islamist (Taqiyya) and publicly consort with Islamist hard liners.
- The other country’s financial community have been deeply penetrated and compromised via the promotion of Sharia-compliant finance with encouragement from their governments.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAN AND CHURCH GROUPS
On September 14, 2016, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria wrote a 16-point letter titled MEMO TO THE CAN PRESIDENT ON THE CONTINUED PARTICIPATION IN CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN) BY THE CATHOLIC SECRETARIAT OF NIGERIA (CSN)
Working through third parties in the interest of Christian unity, the NCEF succeeded in reaching out to the leadership of CSN to attend a reconciliation dialogue with CAN. The reconciliation dialogue would take place in the first quarter of 2017. However, the NCEF is disturbed that since September 2016, a Bloc of CAN had stepped aside and the CAN Executive appear unperturbed. NCEF is persuaded that everything possible must be done to address the grievances of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and bring them back into the fellowship of CAN. The complaints of CBCN are contained in their letter of September 14, 2016 part of which reads, “However, for the CSN to actively continue her membership in CAN, we request the following:
- That CAN should be faithful to the original objectives of the association which is unity of all Christians. There should be an attitudinal change among the members of the CAN to heal the wounds of division. The spirit of suspicion, distrust and rancour should yield place to mutual understanding, trust and respect. Praying for the unity of all Christians should be an essential part of the programme of CAN.
- That CAN is not to be perceived as a “Super Church” but an “Association of Churches”. Therefore, we do not accept that the position of the CAN President be described “Head of all Christians in Nigeria”. The autonomy of each Church remains intact, for as long as we still remain, unfortunately, divided as we obviously are.
- That respecting the principle of the Separation of Church and State, CAN should not be involved in partisan politics. It should maintain neutrality in political elections. The Christian Association of Nigeria should also resist the influence of politicians in its internal affairs such as elections, governance, policies, etc. The more CAN descends into politics, the less clear will our Christian voice be. We should not forget that the political and economic interests of Christians are not the same all over the nation.
- That the introduction of Regional, (North/South) and Zonal (Six Geographical zones) levels of CAN, only complicates issues and further politicize CAN activities and therefore should be expunged from the Constitution of CAN. Recall that CAN is an Association of Churches. This does not stop any group of State CAN to co-operate in matters of common interest.
- That no bloc or individual should seek the civil court to resolve issues in CAN.
- That public Pronouncement of CAN should be based on consensus of the stakeholders of the Association. This will help to avoid too many cases of serious split within CAN on important national issues. Therefore, unnecessary hasty media pronouncements should be avoided. The CAN President could be in touch with the Heads of Blocs through social communication likes Skype, telephone conferencing email, etc.
- That it would be very helpful for the leadership of CAN to meet with the leadership of CSN to dialogue on the way forward for the Association.
- That there is need to review the many new agencies that have been recently set up in CAN with the pretension that the Association must take responsibility for everything that touches Christians all over Nigeria.
- That CAN is to keep on hold the new draft constitution to enable us make our serious contributions to certain new items introduced into it.
- That as Catholic Church, we take seriously the imperative of dialogue with our major religious counterparts, the Muslims. We therefore believe strongly in the importance of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), and we expect it to be resuscitated as soon as possible.
- That using the platform of CAN for selfish political favors is absolutely unacceptable.
- We recommend that a person who occupies the office of the General Secretary of CAN should have a good knowledge of Ecumenism, preferably an expert in Ecumenical Theology with administrative skills.
- That there should be a clear programme of activities for the whole year to avoid impromptu and emergency meeting except when it is absolutely necessary.
- That there should be proper updates and independent auditing of CAN accounts and patrimony for transparent accountability.
- That we must correct the distorted history of CAN and give an accurate documented history in the archives of CAN.
- That CAN administrative positions in the headquarters should reflect the geographical diversity of Churches.
NCEF view on issues raised by CBCN:
We place reliance in the Social Teaching of the Church which provides “The social doctrine of the Church developed in the nineteenth century when the Gospel encountered modern industrial society with its new structures for the production of consumer goods, its new concept of society, the state and authority, and its new forms of labor and ownership. The development of the doctrine of the Church on economic and social matters attests the permanent value of the Church’s teaching at the same time as it attests the true meaning of her Tradition, always living and active. The Church’s social teaching comprises a body of doctrine, which is articulated as the Church interprets events in the course of history, with the assurance of the Holy Spirit, in the light of the whole of what has been revealed by Jesus Christ. This teaching can be more easily accepted by men of good will, the more the faithful let themselves be guided by it. The Church’s social teaching proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action: Any system in which social relationships are determined entirely by economic factors is contrary to the nature of the human person and its acts.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church Page 517-518]
“God has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. The mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church Page 414]
As a result of Post Truth and Fulani colonialism, as contained in this Memorandum, the NCEF felt the need to participate in the discussion to avail the Body of Christ its knowledge and experience especially Islamist strategy of dividing Christians through corruption, intimidation and by promoting disunity among Christian denominations.
We submit that CAN is the Body of Christ in Nigeria that is under the threat of Islamism and must be strengthened for the purpose of Christianity and the Common Good of Nigerians. We must not only pray but also work for unity. The Islamists want to set Christians one against the other.
We agree that the CAN President is not the Head of all Churches in Nigeria but appreciate the fact that CAN is setup in accordance with Christian Social Teachings recommended by the Church. “Human society can be neither-well ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as is necessary to work and care for the good of all… By ‘authority’ one means the quality by virtue of which persons or institutions make laws and give orders to men, and expect obedience from them. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Page 416. Para. 1897). “Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the Common Good of the group concerned”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Page 416. Para. 1903) The body of Christ is not an exception. CAN is an Institution for the protection of Christians and Christianity in Nigeria.
Christians must be involved in politics for the reasons enumerated in this Memorandum and to stop the slide of Nigeria into an Islamic Caliphate. In a Post Truth strategy being employed by the Islamists, CAN is the only Institution available to Christians that can counter Post-Truth with “Pro-Truth”. This is politics; this does not prevent CAN from remaining apolitical.
NCEF must remind Christians in Nigeria that there is an Islamist strategy of mediocrity, modern colonialism and discrimination. An example is “No girl child equality” in Nigeria. To suggest the absolution of Regions and Zones is to work against Christian principle of Subsidiarity “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.” [Art 1883]
NCEF suggests that pronouncement of any Church leader should be made based on Christian principles and ideals in order to uphold Justice, Christian values, righteousness and the Common Good. When a church leader says” I cannot tell my members to come to church next Sunday in black dresses. We don’t get instructions from CAN; every church has its own rules”, suggests Islamists success in dividing Christians in Nigeria or portraying the Church leaders as agents or proxies of the Islamists.
NCEF see the new agencies including Trust Fund as pragmatism in an Islamist dominated society, to prevent a takeover by the Islamists and forestall modern colonialism being promoted by the Islamists. It is not by accident that Nigeria has become a very poor country.
NCEF agree that there should be dialogue not only with Muslims but with all religions, CAN must however be careful because well-meaning leaders of other faiths and their Churches and Synagogues in other countries have been penetrated and compromised through Islamist influence under the guise of “interfaith dialogue”.
With respect to on the General-Secretary, NCEF is of the view that efforts should be made to upgrade CAN to an Institution that should promote Democracy and Rule of Law with a technocrat as Chief Executive. The situation is not helped when the status of CAN is questioned by any Church group or leader.
The above facts are recommended to aid both parties arrive at conclusion that accord with Social Doctrine of the Church as instrument of the Common Good. The Federal Government operating as a colonial government did not consult Christian bodies in Nigeria before the new Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria (FRCN) Act.
Church leaders must distinguish between the voice of God and that of the devil. We must pray for God to restore the grace of distinguishing between the voice of God and the Islamists in the affairs of Nigeria especially in a period of Post Truth. Christians in Nigeria must convert CAN to a Pro-Truth institution.
GEO-POLITICAL ZONE SENSITIVITY IN CAN
Maintaining balance and equality in CAN oftentimes involves consideration of two important factors: Bloc representation and Geo-Political representation. In a nation where tribal and ethnic sentiments play key roles in appointments, it would be folly for any leader to ignore these factors and pretend that it does not matter. As a matter of fact, geo-political representation was a major factor that was manipulated to create a crisis during the last CAN elections. It failed because there was no consensus from any Bloc to buy into it.
The Sun Newspaper publication of December 18, 2016 titled Justice Mamman Nasir to Northern Elders Forum: Don’t divide Nigeria said “what happened for the first time in Nigeria's political history, there was very good, honest unity between the West and the North. Before then, Federal Governments were being formed by the North and the East, but this time around, it was the other way round”. The NCEF wonders whether this cooperation between the West and Islamist North has to do with the decision of the CAN President to appoint three of the Directors in the four Directorates of CAN, (currently recruited) from his ethnic nationality. This sectional bias in national appointments bears uncanny resemblance to the administrative style of Buhari. It would be unfortunate for Christianity if this sectional and divisive structure should be replicated in CAN. The structure of CAN should not be compromised in any manner. The NCEF urges NEC to look into this and ensure that balance and equal representation by all the geo-political zones is restored. It should be recalled that the CBCN in its letter specifically raised this issue as the 16th point. It should not be ignored.
MAINTAINING AND STRENGTHENING THE STRUCTURE OF CAN
The National Christian Elders Forum identified the existence of an “invisible government” as a dangerous move of Islamists in Nigeria. While the nation recognizes a visible government of President Jonathan, there existed an invisible one that actually wielded power. In effect, the visible government becomes ceremonial while the “power broker” was in the shadows. The “government within government” has been one major factor militating against peace and progress in Nigeria. Now the former invisible government is visible in the Villa.
There is, under the present administration of CAN, the establishment of an office of Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the CAN President. The holder of this office seems to be running a parallel Secretariat that bypasses and contends with the Office of the General Secretary of CAN. In addition, this individual has been repeatedly representing the CAN President at many public functions bypassing both the Vice-President and the General Secretary even though he is not an official of CAN. It should be remembered that all principal CAN Executive namely: The President, the Vice-President, and the General Secretary derived their authorities from NEC. Therefore, an amorphous designation should not be created to undermine any Official of CAN.
The NCEF is of the opinion that this office of SSA is unknown to CAN and should be dismantled. The officer in question should return to his denomination or his desk in the Intelligence Service and permit the structure of CAN to run without any infringement.
ACCOMMODATION FOR CAN PRESIDENT IN ABUJA
The NCEF is concerned about the welfare of the CAN President during his official trips to Abuja. From information available to the NCEF, the CAN President uses his resources to arrange hotel accommodation. This is not appropriate. The NCEF is aware that there is an Executive Suite in the Jubilee House. This Executive Suite should be placed permanently at the disposal of the CAN President for his use whenever he is in Abuja.
As much as possible, the NCEF would not encourage any arrangement to rent a house for the CAN President, unless of course, CAN has the resources to foot the bill directly and not from the Government or any other third party. With the cost of rent in Abuja, any attempt to rent a befitting house for the CAN President would involve the contribution of Islamists through their Christian proxies. This prospect must therefore be avoided at all costs.
CAN TRUST FUND
The NCEF is convinced that the CAN President , who is also the President of the Baptist Convention, should take the lead in mobilizing Christian support for the Trust Fund. For CAN to engage in meaningful mobilization and persuasion of Christians, the CAN President should set the ball rolling from the Baptist Convention. With eight (8) million members in the Baptist Convention, the CAN President is in the position to make meaningful impact from his Denomination.
This call is not only for the CAN President, but also the other members of the CAN Executive to engage their denominations and Blocs to participate actively in the Trust Fund. The CAN Executive should realize that they are the primary beneficiaries of the Trust Fund and therefore should be most pro-active in promoting and driving support for it. As the saying goes, “charity begins from home”.
NATIONAL CHRISTIAN PROTEST: OBJECTIVES AND METHODS
In view of the relentless persecution, marginalization, and wanton murder of Christians in Nigeria, it was resolved during the November 4, 2016 President in Council Meeting and the CAN Leadership Retreat, that Christians nationwide should hold a National Christian Protest to draw global attention to these dastardly deeds. A National Christian Protest is a good idea to draw global attention to the impunity and genocide committed by Islamists in Nigeria. However, it requires careful planning to ensure that all the Churches in Nigeria participate.
The NCEF commends the initiative of CAN to hold a National Christian Sunday of mourning on 8th January, 2017. This is a good beginning. However, the resolution during the meeting of the President-in-Council of 4th November, 2016 is for Christian protests, in safe areas. The meeting agreed that Christians are to march in large numbers simultaneously, in all states that are considered safe to do so, with placards on a Sunday morning to Governors Houses. This should be done within the next few weeks.
The NCEF further suggests that to avoid the kind of response elicited by Cardinal Onaiyekan, CAN should ensure that all the Church Groups and leaders of Denominations and ministries are informed. As a matter of fact, a personal invitation letter should be sent to the Cardinal soliciting his support as a former President of CAN. In the interest of the Body of Christ, CAN Officials should resist the temptation of reacting negatively to the outburst of the Cardinal.
ECCLESIASTICAL BILL AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The NCEF has taken note of the laid-back response of CAN to the vexing issue of Government Sponsored Ecclesiastical Bill at the House of Representatives. The NCEF recalled that two members of the CAN delegates to the 2014 National Conference briefed the President in Council on November 4, 2016 on the implications of Christians accepting Government Sponsorship of Ecclesiastical Court.
Since then, there has been no pro-active step by the CAN leadership to address the issue. The NCEF is apprehensive that if the Bill should be passed in the House of Representatives, there are genuine concerns that it would open the flood gate for nationwide implementation of Sharia.
The NCEF concludes that the inability of CAN to respond to topical issues that affect Christianity is not unconnected with the discord and strife amongst the Executive. It is disturbing that a group of Christians could approach the National Assembly to make a law for Christianity in Nigeria without the mandate of NEC and the National Secretariat would say nothing.
RE-ORGANIZATION OF CANAN
The former President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in his efforts to expand the frontiers of CAN and give the Association credible representation in foreign countries started the practice of establishing foreign arms of CAN. He established CANAN (Christian Association of Nigeria Americans) and CANSAF (Christian Association of Nigeria South Africa) before he left office.
As it would turn out, the people entrusted with managing CANAN failed to establish a proper CAN structure for the body. In the list of Trustees, many Blocs of CAN appear not to be represented. It would appear that the Trustees of CANAN is dominated by members of the CPFN/PFN with predominant membership of RCCG.
With this lopsided structure, it was easy to manipulate CANAN for political purposes. During the 2015 elections, CANAN served as the international front office for APC. Included in its list of Trustees is Oby Ezekwezili who championed Bring Back Our Girls to discredit the Jonathan administration. The moment APC was sworn into Government, one of its first appointments was Laolu Akande, the Executive Director of CANAN who became the Media Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. A few months ago, CANAN organized an Award program for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the US without informing the National Secretariat of CAN.
While APC went round condemning CAN National Secretariat for getting involved in politics, it was actually APC that used CANAN to play politics. The Christian Association of Nigeria that got involved in politics is the American arm of CAN.
Attempts have been made to re-organize CANAN but it was realized that a letter has to proceed from the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Adeboye, to CANAN officials to cooperate with the re-organization. Without such authorization from Pastor Adeboye, any form of re-organization would turn into a crisis.
THE PRECARIOUS POSITION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST IN NIGERIA
The Social Teachings of the Church tells us that “human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as it necessary to work and care for the good of all. --- The authority required by the moral order derives from God: ‘Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.’ --- If authority belongs to the order established by God, ‘the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free decision of the citizens.” It is therefore wrong to suggest that it was God that gave Nigeria Abacha, no it was the act or omission of Nigerians that made Abacha and other Heads of State or President. It is not predestination.
It is therefore odd for any Christian in Nigeria to say that he or she is neutral when there is an opportunity to elect leaders in Nigeria and in the Body of Christ. Christians must as a duty exercise their free will to elect those with vision and initiative to transform Nigeria and the Body of Christ, especially now that the country has Islamists challenges. The need to strengthen unity and democracy cannot be over-emphasized and as can be seen from this Memorandum, the world generally is on a passing phrase of Post Truth and Islamism, that have not only challenged but attempt to supplant Democracy stealthily with Islamists Sharia. Truth as supported by fact, history and logic has now been vanquished by political correctness that has been imposed on Nigeria, Nigerians and its institutions an understanding of Sharia that hides the fact that jihad and Islamic supremacy are the centrality of Sharia. Islamist network in Nigeria explains why the third most dangerous terrorist can find Nigeria as a safe haven. Thanks be to God and that the Christians and Muslims in the DSS that Department that are not Islamists.
Professor Omo Omoruyi in his book titled The Tale of June 12, wrote “Alhaji Saleh told me that in his own words his definition of democracy: “Professor, my vote is not the same weight as the vote of the Emir of Bauchi and the vote of the Emir of Bauchi is not the same weight as the vote of the Sultan of Sokoto”. He then said “that is why we are not going to accept the mandate which Chief Abiola is claiming” [Page. 34]
It has to be placed on record, most regrettably though, that many southern Christian leaders and politicians have accepted and accorded the Muslim king (Sultan) the head position in their affairs and even pay homage to the caliphate and accord him such homage and privileges as revered and only due the Presidency in Nigeria. Recently it was reported that the Enugu State government and the security agencies including the military virtually closed the Enugu airport for the Sultan of Sokoto and halted air traffic under the cover of 'VIP MOVEMENT'. The story had it that a group of livestock dealers at the popular Artisan market in Enugu had a violent clash with the police which led to the intervention of the Enugu State Governor. The Sultan of Sokoto was claimed to have come to Enugu to address the issue under the guise of an award ceremony in honour of a celebrate football team, the Rangers International. Major roads from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport were decked with posters and banners of the Islamic royalty, the Sultan. Ceremonial departure parade and guards, due only to the Head of State were allegedly mounted for the Sultan and passengers in an incoming flight were not allowed to disembark on the ground that there was VIP movement at the airport.
The question that calls for an answer here, therefore, will be “when did the Islamic king become entitled to protocols and privileges of a head of state or state governor? Why did the Enugu state Governor embark on such homage?" "What was the real motive behind the visit?" “What message was the Enugu State Governor trying to deliver by such royal courtesy to the Islamic prelate?"
Some of the answers to these questions will be found in this Memorandum.
One wonders whether the politics in Nigeria is intended to develop a new political education programme to reflect this new and curious philosophy of democracy. This thinking however suggests Islamism and is also in accord with Islamists’ ideology as propounded by Professor Abrdur Rahman I. Doi who was in 1965 with University of Nsukka, University of Ife in 1967 and Ahamdu Bello University as a Professor and Director at the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies in 1977. He wrote in his book Shariah: The Islamic Law “In the shariah, there is an explicit emphasis on the fact that Allah is the Lawgiver and the whole ummah, the nation of Islam, is merely His trustee. It is because of this principle that the ummah enjoys a derivative rule-making power and not an absolute law-creating prerogative. The Islamic State, like the whole of what one might call Islamic political psychology, views the Dar al-Islam (Abode of Islam) as one vast homogeneous commonwealth of people who have a common ideology in all matters both spiritual and temporal. The entire Muslim ummah lives under the shariah to which every member has to submit, with sovereignty belonging to Allah alone.” [Page 2] This is predestination a dogma that is different form of disunity.
Nigeria got her independence on a “platter of gold” so said Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, but this independence has transformed from colonialism to modern or Fulani colonialism. In a divided Nigeria, Christians as the salt of the earth and the light of the world must lead the way for others to follow, after all, Christians in Nigeria were the first to obtain Western education even before colonialism. It is unfortunate that today, Christians are yet to make use of this education to protect Nigeria and Nigerians, unite the country and promote Democracy. What we got from the British was qualified freedom, now we are back to square one with Fulani Islamist as masters of modern colonialism. A Federal System where one ethnic nationality Islamist (Fulani) who were partners with the British during colonialism are now the modern or present day colonial masters with the Fulani Islamist herdsmen as the new “maxim gun” to silence Christians, non-Islamist Muslims and other Nigerians in the promotion of Islamist brand of modern colonialism. It must be pointed out however that without the collaboration and acquiescence of local elites as agents, proxies and security operatives in addition to ethnic and religious groups/collaborators, the Islamist Fulani just like the British would never have been able to carry out their stupendous task of conquering, ruling, dominating and controlling over 380 Ethnic Nationalities in such a vast country as Nigeria. The current Islamism and Islamic Sultanate and their collaborators can only be stemmed effectively by the collective action of non-Islamist Nigerians – Christians, Muslims, Animists and other religions. Nigeria is not able to achieve its potentials because from the word go, amalgamation was predicated on the principle that the success of the “Muslim” North is hinged on the failure of the “Christian” South. This was engendered in the hatred imported by British colonialists through the Recruitment Policy of English ex-soldiers, pro-Islamic and pro-Sudan for the Muslim North and better educated English, Scottish and Welsh for the Christian South, which led to Kirk-Greene’s analogy that if the British colonial officers North and South occupied Nigeria without the natives, they would go to war. This colonial hatred and dislike for educated Africans is responsible for a Nigeria where the North feels that its success is predicated on the failure of the South, therefore “Islamic” North must remain Islamic. All Nigerians based on the experience of over 100 years of amalgamation, must strive for freedom with the Nigerian Constitution as the only source of legislation. The Common Good in Nigeria demands that Nigeria cannot be a democratic and an Islamic State at the same time. Christians and Muslims must strive very hard in the interest of the Black Race to build a nation where peace and justice reign as example of the emancipation of the Black Race.
FILLING THE VACUUM OF CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIAN POLITICS
Nigeria has no political party properly so called, that would promote and champion the interest of the average Nigerian. Leadership of Labour and Trade Unions are compromised as Labour or Trade Union officials in most cases are civil servants or operatives of the Intelligence Service. In some cases, these operatives double as Ethnic and Church leaders. For many years, the President General of an Ethnic Nationality Congress was a desk officer in the Intelligence Service and since then the Intelligence Service has become the main promoter of Islamism by way of stealth jihad, inequality and Muslim supremacy of the North over the South, until the supremacists felt strong enough to overthrow the government of General Gowon in 1975. Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, another Christian, was retired in 1987 when he questioned Nigeria’s full membership of Organization of Islamic Congress (OIC), political parties set up, were with a collection of operatives willing to toe the line of these modern colonialists who, in some cases, have risen from Local Government - politics – to State to end up in the National Assembly.
The Vanguard Editorial of November 28, 2016, titled Pitiable state of our political parties, read in part: “Political parties are defining institutions in a democracy. They provide the platforms for engaging the electorate on the different perspectives of politics and governance. They serve as the channels for citizen participation in choosing those that govern them. Today in Nigeria, there are about 40 registered political parties, but of the lot, only the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) control all the elective offices in the three tiers of government. The APC (the ruling party) and the PDP (the main opposition and former ruling party) dominate the political landscape. It is, however, regrettable that none of the major parties is in sound health. All are in one form of crisis or the other. --- The main reason for the lack of cohesion in our political parties is that our politicians place more emphasis on the struggle for positions and power than on building virile institutions. The jostling for power overshadows the need to evolve strategies for sound governance and making the country a better place for its citizens. --- It is only when people of political like-minds come together that they can build great political parties based on Grand National ideals which can stand the test of political turbulence.” As mainly operatives, agents, proxies, they, of necessity, had, to jostle for power and position and therefore they cannot engage the electorates on prospective of politics.
The truth is that all the political parties are contraptions by the Military to protect their interests as modern colonialists and Islamists in the promotion of Islam. Professor Ali A. Mazrui said in his book titled Triple Heritage that “in West Africa, the impact of Islam varied considerably from one African country to another. Islam among the Hausa in Nigeria, for example, is very different from Islam among the Yoruba in the same country. For one thing, Yoruba Islam is significantly less politicized than Hausa Islam. In their political behavior, the Yoruba can often be as volatile and even violent as other Nigerians. But the Yoruba are more likely to explode in defence of ethnic interests than in pursuit of religious concerns. --- Yoruba Muslims have sometimes been regarded, as Yoruba first and Muslim second - while Hausa Muslims have been perceived as the reverse.” [Pg. 137]
Only last month President Obasanjo asked Nd’igbo to unite to get their dues. Another newspaper captioned it “unite to get an Nd’igbo President”. The correct advice should, in our view, be “Christians unite”. Not only Nd’igbo Christians must unite to free Nigeria from the hands of the Islamists of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen or any other such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Tablighli Jamaat, Jammat ui Fuqra, ISIS etc who are determined to conquer the world and turn it into Islamic sultanates.
In Nigeria, the Islamic North had succeeded in the marriage (amalgamtion) of the well conducted youth of the North and the Southern lady of means in 1914 to acquire an additional wife in 1939 when the South was split into East and West and developed what we call “harem politics” to force his wives to promote his interests at their expense and in most cases detrimental to the home.
In a Newspaper article the columnist argued that political parties are owned by few Nigerians who “manipulated them in every conceivable manner, to the point that it would amount to a flagrant abuse of language to call them political parties.” [The Nation, Olatunji Dare Dec 20. 2016]
Kenny Martins in an interview said “Let us go back to the 2015 presidential election, the alleged American intervention and why former President Goodluck Jonathan readily conceded victory to Buhari. What happened? In December 2014, I went to meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Ibogun, Ogun State. It was a festival day for Ibogun Town; --- I told him: “Sir, election is coming, and if Buhari wins, people believe that Niger Delta militants would not allow him to take over, and there would be bloodshed. If Jonathan wins, people believe that the northern extremists of whatever hue would not allow him, and there would be bloodshed. --- Sir, the country believes that you are the one who brought the two of them, so when the bloodletting starts, before they go for anybody, they are going to come for you first.” ---. “Everybody believes that you are the one who runs this country; they believe you are the cause of the problem, and I am just telling you that there is something you need to do.” --- “Sir, see General Babangida, he is there in Minna, everybody knows that he is a member of PDP, but everybody knows that he is also a member APC. He is standing with two legs on both sides. The other day, General Buhari was going to hold his campaign in Minna and the Chief Servant, the Governor, said they can’t give him the stadium, General Babangida told Buhari, please come and use my golf course, go ahead with the campaign. So, you are just on one side of the APC, and when this problem comes, and for Nigeria to scale this problem we need the likes of yourself, --- I have never been a member of PDP, I just helped in the formation of PDP. General Babangida, General Abdulsalami and myself were the ones who put heads together and said there will be two parties and apportioned the actors. And when I called the actors, I told them which part of the divide they will be for. Chief Sunday Awoniyi on one side, Baba Abraham Adesanya, on another side, with Dr. Olusola Saraki and Chief Olu Falae on another side with Chief Bola Ige. So, I have always functioned across party lines. --- [question] What is your take on the crisis rocking the APC? [answer] The APC crisis is expected. APC is made up of three legs, not strange bedfellows; they are one creature that has managed to use three legs to walk. It has not been done before, because they have CPC under Buhari, AC under Tinubu, and then the Obasanjo/Saraki-led part of PDP.” [The Sun Dec 24, 2016] The above suggest those who are owners of the political parties in Nigeria and they are mostly Muslims.
It is clear that while Hausa/Fulani use Islam as an instrument of domination and ethnicity as instrument of harem politics, Christians are merely participants and onlookers but not owners. Northern Hausa/Fulani with two wives Nd’igbo and Yoruba, hardworking wives who provide for the marriage with money derived from Christian Niger Delta to dignify their Hausa/Fulani husband. We have known that modern colonialism is responsible for the willingness of CAN to play second fiddle to Jama’Atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Sultan of Sokoto who is king of the Muslims in Nigeria, and who has decided that Nigeria as a Muslim country cannot enact a Gender Parity Act describing it as offensive and anti-Islam. In fairness to the Fulani, Christians need to give them kudos for their modern colonialism with the seat of the Caliphate Sokoto as modern London for Fulani colonies round West Africa. Nigeria’s 40 political parties are all established and managed to “protect” the interests of Fulani and other Muslims in that order. The negative aspect however is that Fulani colonialists use these parties to decide for the rest of Nigerians who should speak for them. In other words, agents of the Caliphate speak for Christians in all Christian States, two examples will suffice, in Edo State, two candidates for Governor were approved by their parties APC and PDP. The same applied to Rivers State, where the two candidates were allowed to fight it out although their preferred candidate of the APC lost. The winning candidate of the PDP had to go to Sokoto to pay homage as illustrated in an online newspaper Edujandon of Monday, January 2, 2017. Ochereome Nnanna a columnist with the Vanguard Newspaper on January 9, 2017 wrote an article titled Wike goofed at Sultan’s Palace. Part of which reads “he made a speech which I have reasons to pick bones with because I feel it was an opportunity for him to deliver a message to the foremost ruler of the Fulani ethnic group, king of Northern Nigeria and leader of the Nigerian Muslim community about things that need to be done to foster unity among Nigerians, which is being unsettled on several fronts mostly by elements from the North. And concluded “when next Wike goes to the North, he should table the concerns of his people. Let these provocations stop, and let Nigerians be allowed to have control over their lives. Let Nigerians be free. Then, the unity we all need will be ours.”
It must be reiterated that the British colonialists did not come to Nigeria for political education. On the contrary, most colonial officers came to the colonies including Nigeria to promote colonialism. In the book titled Ghost of Empire, the author wrote “Britain’s empire was not liberal in the sense of being a plural, democratic society. It openly repudiated ideas of human equality and put power and responsibility into the hands of a chosen elite, drawn from a tiny proportion in Britain. The British Empire was not merely undemocratic; it was anti-democratic.” [Kwasi Kwarteng pg. 7] The empire was about individualism, character and personality etc. It was only in 1951 that constitutional conferences were held to prepare Nigeria for independence. At independence, we did not appreciate the obstacles placed in the system that in fact ensured disunity. The Emergency Act 1961 passed by Federal Parliament as precursor to Western Regional Emergency declaration of 1963. Nigeria‘s Christian ethos that dominated Nigeria before and after independence up till 1975 were systematically replaced with Islamist ethos and culture. Today, Christians have no political party to promote their interest and the only voice – the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is being silenced with the co-operation of some Christian leaders. The Gowon regime was overthrown by a group of Military men, a majority of whom were Islamists. Eradicating corruption has always been the excuses of the Military to overthrow democratically elected governments in Nigeria and it is no surprise that the fight against corruption is the mantra of the Buhari government.
The popular form of government known to Nigerians since amalgamation seem to be colonialism, which explains why we share the nation’s oil wealth but very slow to create wealth. Why government funds are assigned to individual who occupy political offices to dole out gifts to ordinary Nigerians etc, this explains why State Budgets are padded so that modern “colonialists” in the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are provided with funds to give their modern “colonial” subjects. Which explains why the minimum wage is N18,000, and some office holders are paid N18 million a month to enable wages of modern colonialists equal wages of their counterparts in Europe and America. This seem to be the logic of Nigerian men and women in politics and who retire after four years, and are handsomely rewarded with “colonial” masters’ pension while the average Nigerian pensioners after working for the Government for over thirty or forty years, in some cases after 50 years die or are neglected on the queues of verification for their pension. This unacceptable situation must change, and this can happen when Christians in Nigeria decide that enough is enough.
Christians constitute over 50% of the Nigerian population yet they are unable to influence policies and the instrument of the State is daily being used to harass, intimidate, oppress, persecute, and murder Christians with impunity. The reason for this unfortunate situation is because Christians have no political clout and this status of second class Nigerians, will continue unless they wake up and decide to participate in Nigerian politics as Christians with a political party or parties that will promote the Common Good.
“NORTH” AS INSTRUMENT OF MODERN COLONIALISM
The question is why is it that some Nigerians are obsessed with the “North” even after 49 years that it ceased to exist. The answer is simple. Since 1914, the British and Emirs regard the North as a special region of British Empire vis-a-vis the South. The Fulani were junior partners with the British during colonialism 1914 - 1960. The Fulani are in most countries in West Africa, but a minority tribe in Nigeria. Modern colonialism enabled the Fulani to colonize the “North” through the Middle Belt before Eastern Nigeria. Most educated Fulani in West Africa have Nigeria passport and could cross the border when it is necessary, voters during elections and herdsmen during jihad.
All the States of the South have ceased to use the term “South”, yet the Islamists of the North continue to use the word ‘North’ to the detriment of Christians who are the engineers of Nigeria’s economy and well being. Modern colonialism provides the basis for the Islamists in government (2015) to pick and chose the Christian Group to see in order of preference (a) the card-carrying members of the “Islamist” party, (b) the extended Intelligence Community of agents’ proxies who now own churches, (c) the cult in the promotion of native colonialism before the others such as CAN. Islamists dictate the tune while Christians pay the piper.
VIOLATION OF THE 1999 CONSTITUTION (AS AMENDED) BY ISLAMISTS
The 1999 Constitution has been violated in several ways in order to transform Common Law principles in a democratic constitution to accommodate Sharia principles. We have witnessed firsthand, how President Obasanjo tried to change the Constitution to enable him as President have a third term and had members of the National Assembly co-operated, the 1999 Constitution would have been altered illegally without the consent of the people of Nigeria. The Constitution under Sections 9 provides:
(1) The National Assembly may, subject to the provision of this section, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) An Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of this Constitution, not being an Act to which section 8 of this Constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States.
(3) An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of altering the provisions of this section, section 8 or Chapter IV of this Constitution shall not be passed by either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is approved by the votes of not less than four-fifths majority of all the members of each House, and also approved by resolution of the House of Assembly of not less than two-third of all States.
(4) For the purposes of section 8 of this Constitution and of subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the number of members of each House of the National Assembly shall, notwithstanding any vacancy, be deemed to be the number of members specified in sections 48 and 49 of this Constitution.
This Section notwithstanding, the National Assembly has constituted a committee known as Constitution Amendment Committee headed by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. Some lawyers are of the view that the committee is being transformed into a committee to provide stealthily for Nigeria, a new Constitution. In others words, the National Assembly is being transformed into a Constituent Assembly. The NCEF would prefer that a new Constitution be drafted for Nigeria based on experiences gained since 103 years of amalgamation.
Professor Nwabueze examined some aspects of 1999 Constitution:
- Fundamental Elements of Constitutional Democracy as Formally Established in Nigeria in November 2016.
- Emasculation of our Constitutional Democracy through the Subversion of the Safeguards Enshrined in the Constitution for the Protection of the Individual Against the Oppressive Use of the Organized Coercive Force at the Disposal of the State in October 2016
From the two papers, it became very clear to NCEF that (1) a Constitutional Democracy like the one we envisaged for Nigeria cannot co-exist with State terrorism or a State Police, (2) that safeguards enshrined in our Constitution for the protection of the individual against the oppressive use of the State’s organized force of physical coercion and violence is being subverted by (a) the National Security Agencies Act, and (b) the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act 2004 especially by the illegal activities of the Commission in real life. With respect to the actions and methods of the operatives of the National Security Agencies Act enshrined in the 1999 Constitution under Section 315(5)(c) which provides that:
(5) Nothing in this Constitution shall invalidate the following enactments, that is to say –
- The National Youth Service Corps Decree 1993;
- The Public Complaints Commission Act;
- The National Security Agencies Act;
- The Land Use Act,
and the provisions of these enactments shall continue to apply and have full effect in accordance with their tenor and to the like extent as any other provisions forming part of this Constitution and shall not be altered or repealed except in accordance with the provisions of section 9(2) of this Constitution.
(6) Without prejudice to subsection (5) of this section, the enactments mentioned in the said subsection shall hereafter continue to have effect as Federal enactments and as if they related to matters included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to this Constitution.
It should be stated that the above-quoted provisions of section 315(5) & (6) were not in the draft of the Constitution prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) in 1976 or in the version of it approved by the Constituent Assembly (1977). They were put there subsequently by General Obasanjo’s Supreme Military Council. Subsection (6) was not even in the Constitution as originally enacted by the Federal Military Government (FMG); it came into the Constitution by way of a later amendment by Decree of the FMG.
The provisions of the two subsections, as they relate to the SSS established by the National Security Agencies Decree (now Act), are clearly an exercise that disfigures the face of our constitutional democracy.” Professor Nwabueze concluded the paper with “the entrenchment in the Constitution of the SSS constituent statute and the glaring conflict between its provisions and those of the Constitution are therefore part of Obasanjo’s grievous legacy of subversion of the Rule of Law in Nigeria. The National Assembly owes to Nigerians an explanation as to why its constitutional review exercise that has been going on for some time now left section 315(5) & (6) of the Constitution unexpunged and thus allowed it to continue to disfigure the Charter of our corporate existence. The Instrument (i.e. the Constitution) in its entirety should be abrogated if for no other reason than to excise the excrescence.”
In the paper of November 2016 titled Fundamental Elements of Constitutional Democracy as Formally Established in Nigeria, he suggested that Nigeria, like the USA has a Constitution “anchored on an individual as ruler” and continued “it is thus nothing but a perversion of a cardinal element of democracy for the Supreme Court of Nigeria to hold in the infamous Amaechi case that “it is a [political] party that wins an election. A good or bad candidate may enhance or diminish the prospect of his party in winning but at the end of the day, it is the party that wins or loses an election.”
No doubt, says Nwabueze, this particular element of the system is fraught with the danger arising from the incontrovertible truth that state power in the hands of an individual corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which creates by far the more compelling necessity of devising mechanisms for limiting the power in order to protect the people against it, hence the concept of limited government. The term “constitutional government” is apt to be confused with a government under a constitution, but it means simply limited government or government limited by law or what has come to be referred to as constitutionalism.”
THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE
The Nigerian Police Force with the Inspector General is the only civilian force outside the Armed Forces that is allowed to exist under the Constitution.
Section 214 provides (1) There shall be a police force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution -
(a) the Nigeria Police Force shall be organized and administered in accordance with such provisions as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly;
(b) the members of the Nigeria Police shall have such powers and duties as maybe conferred upon them by law;
(c) the National Assembly may make provisions for branches of the Nigeria Police Force forming part of the armed forces of the Federation or for the protection of harbours, waterways, railways and air fields.
215. (1) There shall be -
(a) an Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216(2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force;
(b) a Commissioner of Police for each state of the Federation who shall be appointed by the Police Service Commission.
(2) The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of the Commissioner of Police of that state.”
The Constitution further provides in Section 227
“No association shall retain, organize, train or equip any person or group of persons for the purpose of enabling them to be employed for the use or display of physical force or coercion in promoting any political objective or interest or in such manner as to arouse reasonable apprehension that they are organized and trained or equipped for that purpose.”
Professor Nwabueze opined “in physical terms, the state’s organized force consists, in the main, of
- A Nigeria Police Force (NPF), comprising 371,800 officers and men, with arms and ammunition at their disposal;
- An armed forces of the Federation, made up of an Army, a Navy and an Air Force, comprising a total of 102,000 – 6,000 officers and 96,000 men.
For purposes of civil government, the Nigeria Police Force is the primary coercive force at the disposal of the Nigerian state, supported by the armed forces to aid in the “suppression of insurrection and restore order when called upon to do so by the President.” The nature of the organized coercive force at the disposal of the state is defined, albeit only obliquely, by the reference in section 227 of the Constitution to “physical force or coercion.”
SUBVERSION OF THE POLICE ACT
In practice, the President makes himself the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), thereby usurping the position assigned to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) by the Constitution. In this usurpation, the President is backed by section 9(4) & (5) of the Police Act which provides:
“(4) The President shall be charged with operational control of the Force;
(5) The Inspector-General shall be charged with the command of the Force subject to the directive of the President”. This is unconstitutional.
The above provisions are patently and manifestly inconsistent with the provision of section 215(2) & (3) of the Constitution. The two subsections of the Constitution do not make the IGP’s command “subject to the directive of the President,” as regards the operational control of the Police Force. The Constitution does not provide in any of its sections that the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the NPF. The President’s power to give directions to the IGP is conferred by section 215(3) and is explicitly limited to the giving of “lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order.” Being inconsistent with the Constitution, the provisions of section 9(4) & (5) of the Police Act are unconstitutional, null and void.
In addition to this confusion, the NCEF wishes to point out that the Minister of Internal Affairs has a group of arm bearing organizations – including the Civil Defence, Nigeria Peace Corps and Vigilante Group of Nigeria, in addition to the fact that he is one of the many Fulani in charge of security in Nigeria to the exclusion of Christians that constitute over 50% of the population with headquarter in Abuja while the States and Local Government are prevented from having an organized State or Local Government Police Forces.
The concern of NCEF is that these duplications suggest “two narratives” one for the North the other for the South made up of only members of the Nigerian Police Force, under the control of an IGP a Northerner. Both narratives suggest preparation for the invasion of the South by the North. The recent killings in Southern Kaduna confirm the narrative: “There are people that are sending a message, defend yourselves. We will get them. Defend yourself is hate speech. You can’t defend yourself if there is a government. We are going to arrest and prosecute all those that pass that message”. This widely publicized and yet to be disclaimed statement credited to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, apparently reacting to the multiple calls by leaders and spokesmen of the indigenous, largely Christian, communities of the Southern region of the state to defend themselves against the persistent attacks of suspected Fulani herdsmen. The attacks had led to the sacking and razing of entire villages, gruesome murder of hundreds of innocent citizens and large-scale destruction of property. --- The unfortunate truth is that the governor, a Fulani himself, has not exhibited the requisite detachment and dispassionate disposition to be a credible and acceptable arbiter in the crisis. He has petulantly held to the implausible thesis that the perpetrators of the atrocities in Southern Kaduna are not Nigerians but Fulani herdsmen from across West Africa, including Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. This was also the conclusion reached by the General Martin Luther Agwai Peace and Resolution Committee earlier set up to trace the root causes of, and propose solutions to the protracted violence. Those who peddle this view contend that the foreign Fulani herdsmen have been avenging the loss of lives and property, including cattle they suffered in the post-2011 election violence that occurred when they were migrating back to their countries. --- No less insensitive has been the intemperate vituperation of the Minister of the Interior, Lt-General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (retd), against the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for legitimately and vehemently denouncing the atrocities committed against their members. Dambazzau claims that the conflagration in the region has no religious connotation. He must be living on the moon. It is bad enough, as CAN noted, that as the Minister of the Interior, Gen. Dambazzau has not even once taken a trip to Southern Kaduna to personally appraise the situation. For the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, semantics appears to be more important than life. He quibbles with CAN over the latter’s assertion that 808 people died in the crisis. For Idris, what is happening in Southern Kaduna cannot be appropriately described as genocide. It does not occur to him that his prime responsibility is to do everything to ensure that not even one life is lost.” [The Nation Editorial on: January 06, 2017] Southern Kaduna killing seem to be the first stage of the war against Christians in Nigeria. The invasion of the South, when and how is only within the knowledge of the Fulani Caliphate.
The subversions detailed in this Memorandum bear out the insightful observations of Robert Jackson and Carl Roseberg in their incisive study, Personal Rule in Black Africa (1982), part of which reads: “most African states have abstract constitutions and institutions ... but very few have them in fact; the formal rules of the political game do not effectively govern the conduct of rulers and other political leaders in most places, most of the time. In so far as rules are followed by African rulers it is only after they have been changed by the ruler or oligarchy in question to suit his or their personal - political convenience. But rules of expediency are not, patently, rules of institutional government.”
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: RULE OF LAW IS FIGHTING BACK – NOT CORRUPTION
It is necessary to point out that evoking the rule of law is not a fight in the hands of a corrupt person. It is his constitutional right. The NCEF is compelled to comment on the war against corruption now being undertaken by the Buhari Administration because most Nigerians have very short memories and, over 60% were not born until after British colonialism to appreciate the effect of Rule of Law and Post-Truth in the war against corruption.
Corruption has been the major reason the Military say was responsible for their numerous coups staged by them from Major Kaduna Nzeogwu to General Sani Abacha, this fight has never be defined in scope. As Okey Ndibe wrote “the soundest, most enduring move against corruption is to facilitate a society built on the stalwart foundations of the rule of law. A government that disdains the law, that is selective in its adherence to court orders, is, itself, corrupt and, know it or not, fertilizes corruption. An administration that discovers corrupt people only in opposition parties, seldom in the ranks of its own political affiliates, is hypocritical. Such an administration may declare at the top of its lungs that it’s warring against corruption, but such protestation amounts to little more than lip service.” [The Sun, December 2016]
President Buhari must develop a moral barrier in his pursuit of corrupt Nigerians because the coups plotters of 1975 including General Buhari accused Gowon and his Governors of corruption. General Gowon and his Governors were disgraced and retired, only for the plotters to turn round to find General Gowon, Governor Johnson of Lagos and Rotimi of Western Region were not corrupt. Thus they were found guilty before trial – this is Sharia. Governor Johnson was invited to participate in Government after the coup but before the “trials” which he declined. With time, the other ten Governors who had their seized properties returned to them. It has since become clear that the coup plotter of 1975 were working out a script of the Islamist/fundamentalist of the Islamic Brotherhood of Egypt.
The same excuse (corruption) formed part of the coup against President Shehu Shagari, a democratically elected President who was overthrown by the Buhari junta. Corruption has since then hit the high heavens. The NCEF appreciate that President Buhari though proclaiming commitment to stemming corruption in Nigeria has used the same method as was done in 1975. The method is selective, discriminatory, uncivilized, and barbaric such as waking Judges in the middle of the night to arrest them. It is the view of NCEF that it is the rule of law that is fighting back against the Islamist in the Villa. The invisible Islamist government cannot deny that they shared part of the two (2) billion Naira allocations for the purchase of arms handed to a Fulani Prince. Rule of Law is standing in the way of the Islamists not corruption. We are reminded of the Public Officers Protection Against False Accusation Decree No. 4, 1984. Section (1)(3) provides:
“it shall be an offence under this Decree for a newspaper or wireless telegraphy station in Nigeria to publish or transmit any message, rumour, report or statement which is false in any material particular stating that any public officer has in any manner been engaged in corrupt practices or has in any manner corruptly enriched himself or any other person”. This section no doubt, legitimized corruption.
Section (3)(1) provides:
“In any prosecution for an offence under this Decree, the burden of proving that the message, rumour, report or statement which is the subject-matter of the charge is true in every material particular shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any enactment or rule of law, lie on the person charged.”
There is a contradiction here. This law is the direct opposite of corruption mantra of President Buhari in 2015. He is entitled to change his mind on corruption but this must be done with some measure of moral justification. He was pro-protection of corruption officials in 1984, now he is against corruption. We conclude that the issue of corruption in 2017 is mere politics. This is not to say we support corruption, far from it. We are however opposed to corruption as weapon in the hands of the Islamists to promote political Islam. It is our hope and prayer that President Buhari will re-consider his post-truth strategy concerning corruption in Nigeria. Treason is more vile a crime than corruption and he Buhari by Decree No. 4 of 1984 enacted the first post truth legislation in Nigeria.
ISLAMISM HAS COME TO STAY IN NIGERIA
CAN must join hands with moderate Muslims to reduce the influence and scourge of the Islamists and Islamism.
There is need to appreciate the political situation presently in some Islamic States such as Pakistan and Malaysia. The Economist of November 19, 2016 in an article titled Islamic State in Pakistan reads in part: “security officials in Pakistan used to insist that their country was immune to the threat of Islamic State (IS). Doctrinal differences, they said, would stop Pakistanis falling under the sway of the Syria-based militant group, which has demanded the fealty of the world’s Muslims ever since its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared himself “caliph” in 2014. But IS’s presence in Pakistan can no longer be denied. The group appears to be responsible for two atrocities in recent weeks. On November 12, IS dispatched a suicide-bomber to the Shah Noorani shrine in a remote area of Balochistan province. The blast took the lives of more than 50 people who had come from far and wide to watch its Sufi mystics dance. Just over two weeks earlier, three IS gunmen had stormed a police training centre on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Quetta, killing 61. IS’s media arm released photographs of the attackers in both incidents, giving credence to its claims of responsibility”. The NCEF is convinced that Islamic State (IS) is in Nigeria but the question is, how far is IS from the Villa?
With respect to Malaysia, The Economist of September 24, 2016 titled Religion and State in Malaysia, “Malaysia’s government is stirring up religious tensions to distract attention from its own shortcomings. For decades, Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party, PAS, has been agitating for the adoption of bloodthirsty Islamic punishments, such as amputations and stoning. It had seemed a forlorn quest. Malaysia is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country, with Muslims (most of them ethnic Malays) accounting for only 60% or so of the population. The Indian and Chinese minorities and indigenous people from the Malaysian part of Borneo are largely Buddhist, Christian and Hindu. The governing coalition includes parties representing each group. Successive governments, with the backing of Malaysia’s moderate Muslims, have shrugged off PAS’s demands. Malaysia’s current government, alas, is unlike its predecessors. It lost the popular vote at the most recent election, remaining in power thanks only to assiduous gerrymandering. --- Malaysia already has Islamic courts, to handle disputes among Muslims in matters of family law, such as divorce and inheritance. The government has said it is willing to put to a vote a bill introduced by PAS to expand the Islamic punishments --- Moderate Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims alike are appalled. Now the religious authorities raid bars and hotels to check the patrons’ religion. The law, in effect, bars Muslims from converting to other religions, and the Islamic authorities can jail those who stray from the official interpretation of the faith, including Shias. --- The increasing emphasis on Islam threatens the social compact that underpins Malaysian society. Indians and Chinese already put up with an elaborate system of official handouts and preferences for Malays. By championing Islam, the government is heightening the sense that minorities are second-class citizens.” Although Christians in Nigeria are not minority, they have been reduced to one due to fear and modern colonialism, and more importantly have no political party representing them.
Boko Haram was established by the Islamist to be a permanent fixture and, to suggest that it has been defeated is plainly Taqiyya (lying, deceiving, illusion). President Buhari rule also threatens the social contract that underpins the Nigerian society.
Post-truth politics is advancing in many parts of the world including Nigeria. Post-truth politics is made possible by two threats: a loss of trust in institutions that support its infrastructure and deep changes in the way knowledge of the world reaches the public. Mr. Roberts first used the term “post-truth politics” in the context of American climate-change policy. The rise of cable and satellite television channels in the 1980s and 1990s made it possible to serve news tailored to specific types of consumer as has been demonstrated concerning the former President of CAN; the internet makes it much easier. The Economist asked YouGov to look at different elements of magical thinking, including belief in conspiracies and a fear of terrible things, like Ebola outbreak or a terrorist attack, happening soon. Pastors and Imams that predict doomsday do not help matters. Facebook and other social media can filter news according to whether it conforms with users’ expectations. Weakened by shrinking audiences and advertising revenues, and trying to keep up online, mainstream media have become part of the problem. “Too often, news organizations play a major role in propagating hoaxes, false claims, questionable rumors and dubious viral content, thereby polluting the digital information stream,” it would seem that “the age of neutral journalism has passed. It is impossible because what you select from the huge sea of information is already subjective.” [The Economist, September 10, 2016]
Nigeria, like most countries of the world, is living in a period of post truth politics and Islamism. Post truth according to the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016, is an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Post truth has meaning for the National Christian Elders’ Forum, all of whom were born during colonialism and are therefore able to understand and appreciate the effects of Post Truth. Post-truth politics “is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of ‘secondary’ importance.”
The difference between post-truth and pro truth is one constitutes a distortion, while the other is not. Court trial will hopefully determine the truth. In addition, free speech means speaking out. The best way to protect free speech is to use it. It is a human right available to everybody, both the highest and the lowest. This the NCEF has done in this memorandum. Islamist Fulani herdsmen must not be made to believe that Christians in Nigeria are helpless because we are not. Politics is a battle of ideas.
In the above circumstance, it will be suicidal for Christians to allow Islamists to continue to dominate the politics of Nigeria in the hope that the Christian spirit of being “your brother’s keeper” would encourage Islamist to act towards Christians in Nigeria as brothers and sisters. Christians must lead in the struggle against Islamism by Christians supported by non-Islamist Muslims.
Islamism not islam
Islam is a religion articulated by the Quran, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allāh), and, for the vast majority of adherents, the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad. It is the world's second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.7 billion followers or 23% of the global population, known as Muslims. Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion that upholds that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God.
Muslims also believe that Islam is the original, complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment.
Political Islam Is not islam
Islamism also known as Political Islam is an Islamic revival movement often characterized by moral conservatism, and the attempt "to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life." Islamism favors the re-ordering of government and society in accordance with the Shari'a. The different Islamist movements have been described as "oscillating between two poles": at one end is a strategy of Islamization of society through state power seized by revolution or invasion; at the other "reformist" pole Islamists work to Islamize society gradually "from the bottom up". The movements have "arguably altered the Middle East more than any trend since the modern states gained independence", redefining "politics and even borders" according to one journalist Robin Wright January 10, 2015). ‘A Short History of Islamism’ Newsweek, Retrieved 23 December 2015.
Islamists may emphasize the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity, including an Islamic state; and of the selective removal of non-Muslim, particularly Western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world that they believe to be incompatible with Islam.
In the view of Vanguard Newspaper columnist who wrote “Buhari’s case is unique. The man, to the best of my knowledge, is hale and hearty. Yet, his kitchen cabinet has not only split into factions and they are fighting dirty. When a leader sits pretty while his “trusted men” fight one another, there is a leadership vacuum. --- The President’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, raised the alarm that “a few people” had hijacked her husband’s government leaving out those who helped him to power. She threatened not to support his 2019 ambition unless he did something about it. Buhari perfunctorily dismissed her concerns. Aisha merely confirmed that her husband was not in control. --- And where is Nigeria’s interest in all these? Where is the Change?” [Vanguard Editorial December 22, 2016]
It is very clear from the above facts that there are two forces in the Villa- the Muslims and the Islamists which should put Christians on notice. Christians in Nigeria must therefore provide the moral and political ground for Nigeria of the future – Pro-Truth.
Present day colonialism explains the behavior of present day Priests, Pastors and Imams, who pray for Constituted authority whether they are legitimate or not, moral or immoral, ignorant or educated and as a Pastor said, if the correct prize is paid, he is willing to be a Muslim, and of course, the double barreled made in Nigeria religion known as Chrislam. It would appear from the above circumstance that Nigeria may be embarking on a journey to nowhere perhaps to a colony of Islamism of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. During colonialism, the colonialists were Christians that had superiors in England to whom complaints were made. The Islamists as native colonialists take advice from politicians in Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the Christians in Nigeria do not have access to. Therefore when Islamists talk of constituted authority, Christians especially need to find that such an authority derives from the Constitution and is not a contraption of the Islamists. Above all, during British colonialism, there was no need for a Christian Association but now CAN is a necessity vital for the protection of Christianity against Islamism. Pro-Truth against Post Truth.
It is interesting to note that some council chairmen have been arrested for Boko Haram activities. We wonder whether this is genuine or mere show. We suspect however, that world opinion including a majority of Muslim are against Islamism and Islamic Caliphates. The de-briefing of repentant Boko Haram militants, the released 21 Chibok girls are evidence to give the impression of change – from Islamism to mainstream Islam perhaps to give Christians the main target, the wrong signal to lower their guards, and continue to be second class citizens in Nigeria. In other words, remain colonial subjects in their country. We need open discussion in courts of record to satisfy all Nigerians that Nigeria has only one agenda, one narrative-the Nigeria Constitution.
The Christian South especially its leadership under Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe underestimated the hatred the British imperialism had for the Yorubas. Lagos in 1914 represented the South and some Yorubas were educated in the best of British Universities even before Colonialism. These educated Yorubas the Colonialists, including Lugard, loathed, having themselves only spent eight months in a Military Academy. The Southern leaders were unable to appreciate the fact that British officers regarded Islam as the Religion for Africa not Christianity. Lugard in his Reports often referred to Christians outside the Protestants and Catholics as “so-called” Christians. To this day, some Catholics and Protestants in Nigeria see the Body of Christ in Nigeria as made up of imported and made in Nigeria Churches. This is not helpful to the Body of Christ in Nigeria.
When Chief Olaniwun Ajayi in his book titled “Nigerias Political Power Imbalance, the Bane and Chain of Nigeria’s Progress and Development” drew our attention to the facts of British hatred for educated Nigerians, we did not take him, his writings and the National Christian Elders’ Forum seriously until now – the period of Post Truth, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen that can all be summarized as the Native Fulani colonialism. It is however better late than never.
BARR (MRS.) GRACE ONAIWU OMOIGUI
At the funeral mass held at Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral Lagos for late Barrister (Mrs.) Grace Onaiwu Omoigui a retired teacher and Magistrate, the mother of Nowa Omoigui a Surgeon and Military Historian, Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru the first Chairperson of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and three others, the Governor of Lagos State Akinwumi Ambode attended. In this mass, it was clear that (1) this disunity in the Body of Christ in Nigeria is being bridged. The officiating Rev. Fr. Marcellinus Tako began his homily with the metaphor of a Pastor who lost his two sons and the Christian attitude of the Pastor and his wife. Fr. Tako also drew attention to the circumstance of Mrs. Grace Onaiwu Omoigui’s death in the hands of armed robbers and drew the attention of Governor Ambode to the unfortunate demonstration of the insecurity in the land. The presence of Governor Ambode who was being regarded as a surrogate to a Muslim party leader in Lagos thus reluctant to identify explicitly with the Christian faith was exaggerated. He demonstrated that the circumstance of an 83 year old lady in the hands of armed robbers in Benin City who died in a Lagos hospital, a city where she was educated and taught in various Secondary Schools for over thirty years before her retirement to become a Magistrate till she clocked 60.
It was at Benin City that the second son of Grace Onaiwu Omoigui in his funeral oration, showed the decay in governance in the country. Dr. Sota Omoigui as a student in Kings College in 1976, was one of the three Nigerians whose lyrics won the competition for words that found their way into the National Anthem. Sota Omoigui reliet are first lines “Arise, O compatriots Nigeria's call obey and the last two lines “To build a nation where peace And justice shall reign”. He concluded that Nigeria failed his mother in her old age in that while on admission in Government owned University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City and Oghara Specialist Hospital in Delta State, facilities such as electricity and water were scarce commodities. He then called on all to provide for the needy in Nigeria who are being neglected by the elites.
In his farewell speech on January 10, 2017, US President Obama was quoted as saying, “It is that spirit, born of the enlightenment, that made us an economic powerhouse … the spirit that took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral; the spirit that cures disease and put a computer in every pocket.
It’s that spirit … a faith in reason, and enterprise, and the primary of right over might – that allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression; that allowed us to build a post-World War II order with other democracies, an order based not just on military power or national affiliations but built on principles … the rule of law, human rights, freedom of religion, and speech, and assembly, and an independent press.
That order is now being challenged … ‘first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets and open democracies and civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile. It represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently; a contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable; an intolerance of dissent and free thought; a belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.” The Islamists in Nigeria are afraid of change to civilization. (Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen)
- Since the National Christian Elders Forum was not given opportunity to mediate in the conflict amongst the CAN Executive, the NCEF strongly suggests that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of CAN, should, as a matter of urgency meet at the earliest possible time, and resolve every contention in the Association. This is crucial because each Executive represents a Bloc and individual contention easily becomes contention amongst Blocs as each Bloc would back its candidate. The CAN Executive must work together with mutual respect and acceptance. If there is any form of disagreement amongst the CAN Executive the unity of the Body of Christ becomes impossible. Therefore, every effort must be exerted to ensure that the CAN Executive function as one. NEC should be strict on any CAN official that threatens the unity of the Nigerian Church.
- The structure of CAN must be maintained and there should be no room for any unauthorized person to infringe on the office of any CAN official. All such intruders should be sent back to their denominations and their unofficial structures dismantled.
- The CAN President should be persuaded to engage in collective consultation with the other members of the Executive before taking critical decisions on behalf of the Nigerian Church (Body of Christ). NEC should ensure balance of functions and authority amongst the Executives. The attitude of the “winner takes all” should be discouraged. If the President is unavailable, the Vice President or the General Secretary should be empowered to act.
- The NCEF offered some recommendations earlier in this memorandum in the hope that both parties, CAN and CBCN, will consider them. We wish CAN and CBCN a fruitful discussion in the interest of the Common Good of all Nigerians.
- The Christian Elders recommend a re-organization of critical appointments at the National Secretariat to reflect both Bloc and geo-political diversity in the nation. In the quest to build unity in the Church, every geo-political zone in the nation should be adequately reflected in the leadership of CAN particularly in the Directorates.
- NEC should insist that every decision taken by CAN at various times should be implemented without delay. This includes response to Sharia Bill, Strategy Document of the Church approved by NEC, the National Day of Protest, as well as the decisions reached at the CAN Leadership Retreat of November 2016. NEC should ensure that an Implementation Committee is put in place which shall report regularly to it.
- NCEF recommends that the National Secretariat should, without any delay, write the National Assembly to suspend any debate on the Ecclesiastical Bill until NEC has met and reached a consensus for the Nigerian Church.
- NCEF recommends that Christians in politics should be invited to a meeting with CAN leadership on how best to promote parity for Christians with respect to privileges, benefits, etc accruing to Muslims in Nigeria.
- NEC should ensure that a befitting accommodation is provided for the CAN President at the Jubilee House for his use whenever he is in Abuja. The rental of accommodation for the President should be deferred until CAN is in a position to pay directly and totally for such accommodation.
- NEC by a direct mandate established the CAN Trust Fund to mobilize funding for CAN. It is expedient that NEC should instruct members of the CAN Executive to drive support and participation for the Trust Fund at their Denominations. Other denominations shall be encouraged and challenged to participate if the CAN Executive members are seen vigorously driving support for the Trust Fund from their base.
- The National Secretariat of CAN should contact the General Overseer of RCCG and intimate him of the need to re-organize CANAN to conform with the CAN structure. A letter should be requested from him to CANAN Trustees to cooperate with the CAN National Secretariat initiative that will ensure that all the Blocs of CAN are adequately and equally represented in the running of CANAN.
- CAN should be in the vanguard of demand for a Constituent Assembly for Nigerians to draft and enact a new Constitution not the National Assembly of APC, Saraki and Dogara.
- Knowledge is power: The approved version of this Memorandum should be disseminated in such a way that many Nigerians that can read and write in English and other languages should have a copy so that the above facts form part of Nigerian history to be read and taught in schools as a follow-up to the struggle to return History as a subject in Elementary and Secondary schools throughout Nigeria.
- All hands must be on desk to transform CAN to an institution to promote democracy with a department for the study of Islamism. As an institution, it must have a chief executive (a part-time President) and all the components of an institution that will endure to promote modern civilization and the Common Good.
- In 1975, a majority of Christian elites and professionals left the country to live abroad. Christians in 2017, have the duty to return Nigeria to Democracy and the Common Good, and as a matter of urgency, while remaining apolitical, support a political party that cater for the interest of Christians. To identify such a party should be treated as a matter of urgency.
- Section 40 of the Constitution, the basis on which the courts hold that parties not individuals are voted for as result of its proviso. NCEF’s view is that this interpretation cannot be read into this proviso concerning Independent Candidacy. Christians in Nigeria therefore have good reasons immediately to seek further interpretation in the Courts since the courts are institutions of record and a civilized way of resolving disputes. This will also give the Islamist the opportunity to demonstrate why the Koran is also the source of legislation in Nigeria in competition with the Constitution.
- The present administration has concentrated all military hardware, the leadership of security and intelligence in one part of the country and (in the hands of one tribe, Fulani). The NCEF has expressed its concern and CAN has the opportunity, to contest these lopsided appointments in court. Niger Delta (South), pays the piper while the Fulani Muslim “North” dictate the tune. This is colonialism and must be stopped.
- The Chairman of NCEF had, in a protest letter to the DG-DSS challenged the actions of that Department favorable to Boko Haram and further disputing the allegation of DSS that Canon Stephen Davis was “making merchandize of Boko Haram insurgency” when the facts showed otherwise. The protest letter showed disloyalty to President Jonathan by one of Nigeria’s very important institutions for security. This issue can be canvassed in court.
- Already, a number of Christian Organizations are in various courts. They include Dr Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe for himself and on behalf of & Genocide Research Network, in which Professor Nwabueze, SAN is leading Solomon Asemota SAN and other senior Lawyers in this matter. Another group of International Lawyers have taken the Federal Government, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen to the International Criminal Court of Justice.
- NCEF is of the view that without the collaboration and acquiescence of local elites as agents, proxies and security operatives in addition to ethnic and religious groups/collaborators, the Islamist Fulani, just like the British, would never have been able to carry out their stupendous task of conquering, ruling, dominating and controlling over 388 Ethnic Nationalities in such a vast country as Nigeria. Nigerians must also not be carried away by post truth statements and actions of Islamists that Nigeria is a multi-religious country in which Traditional Rulers and the Clergy are in collaboration with the elected Islamist representatives of the people. Nigeria is a secular state and the Constitution is the only source of legislation. Therefore CAN must set up a Department to identify misguided Christians (Clergy and lay faithful) and educate them until such a time that majority of Nigerians agree on one ideology or what someone called One National Narrative.
- The Muslim Fulani herdsmen commit atrocities amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes against Christians in the Middle Belt and beyond. It is the view of NCEF that there have been no adequate investigation of the atrocities and no prosecution of the perpetrators. Despite the fact that the OTP continues to consider the situation in Nigeria, no potential case against the Muslim Fulani herdsmen has been identified. Given the magnitude of the attacks directed against the Christian farmers in the Middle Belt, the OTP must consider investigating these cases as a matter of urgency. [ICC Report on Nigeria Fulani Herdsmen, Ewelina Ochab Legal Counsel (ADF International) CAN must join in this demand.
- In view of the fact that Christians in Nigeria do not have a crusading army, the only “weapon” available to them to ventilate their grievances against Islamism are the courts both Nationally and Internationally to compel compliance to the Rule of Law in Nigeria for the Common Good. CAN must lead in this civilized and intellectual arena. The NCEF has provided in this Memorandum sufficient materials for this purpose.
- These are very serious issues that require CAN to call a summit of Christians in politics to arrive at a consensus as to which party can be said to protect Christian interests in Nigeria. It must be done in order to use the voting strength of Christians to check the excesses of the anti-Christ. CAN must not allow any Church leader to sabotage the Body of Christ from within and without.
We have shown above that the election for the post of CAN President was unnecessarily acrimonious. Yet we have a CAN President in the person of Rev. Supo Ayokunle PhD. Professor Joseph Otubu contested with him and has been magnanimous to pledge loyalty and has tried to work with Dr Ayokunle so also is Dr Musa Asake the General-Secretary.
The ball we can say is on the court of the CAN President, Dr. Supo Ayokunle. Christian unity must not be compromised and it is our hope in the God we worship and as followers of Christ that Dr Ayokunle will unite Christians. The NCEF has by this modest contribution shown that it is possible. We have also decided to make this Memorandum, in the interest of Unity and Common Good, open to scrutiny, to enable good reasoning give way to better reasoning.
God Bless Nigeria
Solomon Asemota, SAN
For and on behalf of:
National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF)
12th January, 2017
Solomon Asemota, SAN (Chairman), Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd), Prof. Joseph Otubu, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd), Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri, Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Nat Okoro, Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, DIG P. L. Dabup, Sir John W. Bagu, Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Elder Mike Orobator, Justice James Ogebe, JSC (rtd), Chief Debo Omotosho, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Dr. S. D. Gani, Prof. Vincent Anigbogu, Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, Dr. Musa Asake, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary)