The attention of National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has been drawn to an article by Rev. Danjuma Byang on the recently concluded party primaries in Nigeria.
Rev. Byang referred in the article to Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) and NCEF, and the relationship of the two bodies to CAN.
While the comments of Rev. Byang are not considered offensive, and from our observation it is not borne out of mischief or ill will, there is still the need to clarify the issues he referred to for record purposes.
1. CSMN is not the brainchild of NCEF. On the contrary, CSMN established NCEF in January 2015 as think tank group for the body of Christ and invited the then President of CAN, his Eminence, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to inaugurate it in demonstration of Christian unity. CSMN was able to undertake this initiative because CSMN itself was established by CAN in 2001 under the administration of Prelate Sunday Mbang as the socio-political arm of the Church. CSMN was inaugurated in 2001 by Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the then Vice President of CAN on behalf of Prelate Mbang. CSMN was established as the socio-political arm of the Church The Constitution of CSMN can be accessed here: https://csmnigeria.org/constitution
2. The statement in the article that CSMN/NCEF do not “see eye to eye with CAN leadership that set them up” requires clarification.
CSMN/NCEF had seamless working relationship with Pastor Oritsejafor as President of CAN and NCEF prepared Christian coordinated response to the invasion of the Islamists. Unfortunately, the carefully laid out plans for the Church under Pastor Oritsejafor were not implemented by the successor. The consequences are what the Christians are witnessing today. A report prepared by NCEF in 2019 is one example of the unfortunate development. https://csmnigeria.org/blog/404-factors-hindering-christian-consensus-for-2019 This report explains why CSMN/NCEF did not participate in Christian political consensus for 2023 elections.
3. NCEF wishes to clarify that it was not in contention with CAN as an institution. What NCEF did not agree with is the mismanagement of CAN.
4. NCEF is hopeful that it will be possible for the Forum of Christian Elders to cooperate with the next CAN administration so that the task of building structures to defend the Church can resume.
5. NCEF thanks Rev. Danjuma Byang for giving it an opportunity to clarify these issues.
15th June 2022