The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has criticized the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leaders over their visit to President Muhammadu Buhari. The Nation reports that CAN President Samson Ayokunle led the visit, which the NCEF described yesterday as “shocking”. CAN insist that it remained apolitical and since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Buhari winner, it had no right to say no. The Christian association states that NCEF had no authority to speak for Christians because “it has been disbanded”. NCEF disassociated itself from the visit, saying that “It is, therefore, premature and presumptuous for anyone to congratulate President Buhari for ‘winning’ an election that is contested in court.” In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by the Chairman of NCEF, Solomon Asemota (SAN), the forum said the visit was not in the interest of Christians, “The NCEF wishes to state that the congratulatory visit to Aso Villa by CAN could not be in the interest of Nigerian Christians who daily bear the agony of thousands of their brethren being killed, maimed, displaced and marginalized in the Jihad launched in the northern parts of the country. It is well known the indifference of the Buhari Administration to the murder of Christians all over the country. This indifference has led many, including foreign observers, to conclude that the Buhari Administration is complicit in the genocide that is taking place in Nigeria.” Asemota stated that the forum was shock to hear that CAN had paid a congratulatory visit to the President, “The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) was shocked to read in the news that the President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, with some CAN officials and Christian leaders paid a ‘congratulatory’ visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on his purported victory in the 2019 General Elections. “The action of the CAN President, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, is a further confirmation of all the protests and petitions of NCEF in 2018 querying the faithfulness of Dr. Ayokunle to Christ and to His Church. In its 2018 Report titled FACTORS HINDERING CHRISTIAN POLITICAL CONSENSUS FOR 2019 ELECTION, the NCEF provided irrefutable facts that Rev. Ayokunle deliberately frustrated Christian political consensus in a country in which religion has become a major factor in politics. “With this ill-advised congratulatory visit to President Buhari, it should be clear to every Christian of good conscience that Rev. Ayokunle is running CAN as an appendage of APC which has proven by its religiously popularism biased appointments and policies that it is primarily a religious party that is to the disadvantage of Christians whom Rev. Ayokunle claims to be representing.” The statement read. Speaking on CAN’s Arranged election observers, the forum said “It would be recalled that during the elections, Rev. Ayokunle presumptuously deployed a 1,000 man CAN Election Observers team to monitor the elections nationwide. The action was presumptuous since CAN does not have the constitutional responsibility of engaging in politics. Christian leaders deliberately established Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) for this purpose in 2001 as the socio-political arm of the Church. “Nonetheless, after observing the elections, the 1,000-man CAN Election Observers is yet to release its report before CAN rushed to congratulate one of the contestants. Since all the other observers have since released their reports, where is the report of the CAN Observers Team?” NCEF in its statement noted that CAN’s behavior was in contrary to that of Catholic association, “This would be consistent with the communiqué issued by the Catholic Church expressing concern about the elections and advising that dissatisfied individuals should seek recourse in court of law. This in the view of NCEF is how a Christian body should respond to issues of this nature.” The forum went ahead to speak on matters affecting Christians in the country especially the killings of over 200 people in Kajuru and Adara in southern Kaduna and reports of Clergy routinely kidnapped and murdered in Middle Belt and parts of the North, adding that there are yet to be arrest made to this effect. NCEF which aligns itself with the decisions of the ethnic nationalities in South West, South East, South South and Middle Belt Zones called on the judiciary to ensure that the rightful winner of the 2019 Elections is sworn into office in May 29, 2019.
By: Anne Clement Bassey