... The meeting not for publicity - Onaiyekan ...We are not party to CAN election, suspension, says Mbang

Chibok John Cardinal Onaiyekan Sambisa
Cardinal John Onaiyekan

A group of Christians under the aegis of Christ Redeemers Union, CRU, has accused two former presidents of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, of forming a bloc with the intent of frustrating the inauguration of the association’s president elect, Dr. Samson Ayokunle.

The organisation alleged that a former president of CAN and Catholic archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has summoned some Christian leaders including the outgoing president of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor to a meeting.

The said “political” meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, July 7, 2016 at the residence of another former president of CAN and and former primate of the Methodist Church, Sunday Mbang in Akwa Ibom State.

A statement issued by the national director of CRU, Dr. Ebenezer Abednego, in Abuja on Monday, July 2, 2016, described the meeting as illegal. The group warned that it would resist any plot to scuttle the inauguration of Ayokunle and “create confusion in the body of Christ”.

“We have been informed that the meeting was at the instance of Cardinal Onaiyekan who is from the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria bloc, who was defeated by outgoing CAN president, Oritsejafor. The aim of the meeting is to frustrate the inauguration of the newly elected president of CAN, Ayokunle and the vice president elect, Prof. Joseph Otubu.

“This same former president of CAN had earlier expressed his disdain and had sworn that no member of Pentecostals and white garment churches would be President of CAN. For us in CRU, the meeting is laced with serious mischief and we see it as a plot and bobby trap to cause crisis in the body of Christ and disallow the incumbent from finishing his tenure successfully.

“The Akwa Ibom meeting has no name, and is unconstitutional in CAN. Will Nigerian Christians allow this aggrieved ex-President of CAN to usurp the authority of CAN NEC which had validly and constitutionally elected a successor to Oritsejafor?”

Efforts by our correspondent to confirm from Oritsejafor if he had any knowledge of the meeting were not successful and his lines were completely switched off.

Ayokunle, president of Nigerian Baptist Convention, NBC, contested under the platform of Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, while his vice president elect, Prof. Joseph Otubu of the Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Movement, contested under the umbrella of Organisation of African Instituted Churches, OAIC.

The new leadership of CAN will be inaugurated on July 20, 2016 during the forthcoming general assembly of the Christian body to hold Abuja and to be presided over by Oritsejafor who is founder of the Warri-based Word of Life Bible Church.

When contacted on the allegation, Onaiyekan confirmed the meeting but warned that it was not for public consumption.

“Who told you about the meeting? I know you are a journalist, but just know that the meeting is not supposed to be given any publicity,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said.

When asked to shed more information on the meeting and respond to the allegation that it was to scuttle the inauguration of Ayokunle he said he had nothing else to say.

“I said I’m not ready to comment on that meeting. I have no information about whatever is happening now in CAN. You know that if there is anything I wish to share with you, I will not hesitate. By God’s grace, when it is time, I will speak with you,” he insisted.

Sunday Mbang, the former CAN president who will be hosting the meeting was unfriendly, when our correspondent called him.

“I don’t understand what you are saying, the issue you are raising has nothing to do with us. I repeat, it has nothing to do with us. The election, suspension and all others, we are not concerned. We are not party to it; have you heard me? Please ask me no further question. Full stop, thank you,” Mbang said.

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