The animosity between the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, and the leadership of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has continued unabated as the CAN National Executive Committee recently ordered the dissolution of NCEF.
However, the NCEF leadership described the alleged dissolution as a nullity.
In a communique issued last Wednesday and signed by the acting National Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria of CAN, Joseph Daramola, and the Director, National Issues and Mobilisation, Bishop STV Adegbite, the CAN leadership said: “The National Executive Committee sees all the negative and baseless publications against the CAN President as mere distractions and a calculated attempt to malign his integrity and derail him from his focus of giving CAN credible leadership.
“That CAN immediately dissolves the National Christian Elders’ Forum, NCEF, which was inaugurated on Thursday, January 15, 2015 by the powers conferred on the then CAN President. CAN NEC, by the same powers that inaugurated the forum, forthwith dissolves and dissociates completely from the NCEF in view of the incongruous and unacceptable operations manifested consistently by the group.”
But reacting, the NCEF leadership said CAN could not dissolve the body as it did not create it as claimed.
NCEF Secretary, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel said in a statement: “NCEF was birthed by Christian Social Movement of Nigeria, CSMN. On Tuesday 30th December, 2014, three members of CSMN, Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, Col. Ken Emechebe (retd) and Pastor Bosun Emmanuel travelled to Warri to meet the former President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and informed him about the intention of CSMN to establish a body of Christian Elders to intervene for the Church.”
The statement titled ‘Presumptuous Claim: CAN Dissolves NCEF’ further read, “The group also requested him to inaugurate the body to promote Church Unity. NCEF started working closely with CAN as a mediatory, advisory, reconciliatory and enlightening body in order to strengthen the Church.
“NCEF is currently focused on guiding Christians to establish a functional and effective political unity so that Christian votes will no longer be used against Christians. On Friday, November 30, NCEF held a very useful and promising meeting with new presidential candidates towards presenting a righteous president for the country in 2019. This is what is important to NCEF.
“The current action of CAN to discredit NCEF gives the impression of attempts to thwart the efforts of the Christian Elders at supporting Christian presidential candidates to arrive at consensus in order to harmonize Christian votes. Christians are called to note those who are protecting their interest and those who working against it.
“As NCEF has repeatedly stated, the actions of Dr. Samson Ayokunle, the CAN President, constitute stealth jihad and portrays him as collaborator with Islamists.
“Whose side is Dr. Ayokunle? This latest unwarranted manipulation of NEC to extract another fake resolution is targeted at ensuring Christians do not unite to build a formidable “third force” to challenge the two Muslim candidates. This pattern of frustrating NCEF’s efforts at strengthening Christianity to resist the Islamists is in the character of Rev. Dr. Ayokunle.”
Members of the NCEF include Solomon Asemota, SAN (Chairman); Vice President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Prof. Joseph Otubu; Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd); Archbishop Magnus Atilade; Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke; Dr. Ayo Abifarin; Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd); Elder Moses Ihonde; Elder Nat Okoro and Gen. T. Y. Danjuma.
Others are Elder Matthew Owojaiye; 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); Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Chief Debo Omotosho; Dame Priscilla Kuye; Dr. S. D. Gani; Mrs. Osaretin Demuren; Prof. Yussuf Turaki and Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
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