The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has accused the President
of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev Sampson Ayokunle as
anti Christ who has no interest in the body of Christ or Christians in
NCEF being piloted by a former Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen.
Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) and Solomon Asemota (SAN), has faulted the
“congratulatory” visit of the Christian Association of Nigeria to
President Muhammadu Buhari on his purported victory in the 2019
general elections, describing it as “morally and spiritually
The organisation specifically alleged that from “the ill-advised
congratulatory visit to President Buhari”, which said amounted to
subjudice, it should be clear to every Christian of good conscience
that the President of CAN, Rev. Sampson Ayokunle “is running CAN as an
appendage of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“NCEF is making these points for record purposes so that in years to
come, if any further evil befalls Christianity in Nigeria, no one
would claim ignorance of the issues that led to the emasculation of
the Church. As Christian Elders, we affirm that it was ill-advised and
ill-motivated for anyone claiming to represent the Body of Christ to
rush to congratulate President Buhari pending the determination of the
suit in Court”, the elders affirmed.
According to the elders, the action of the CAN President, Rev. Samson
Olasupo Ayokunle, was a further confirmation of all their protests and
petitions in 2018 querying his faithfulness to Christ and to His
NCEF in a statement by Asemota (who is its chairman) entitled: “Not on
our behalf, CAN President, Not on our behalf”, obtained by journalists
in Abuja, said such visit was “subjudice” as the determination of who
won the 2019 general election “is still in Court.”
Apart from Danjuma and Asemota, other members of NCEF included Prof.
Joseph Otubu, Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (retd), Archbishop Magnus Atilade,
Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (retd),
Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Nat Okoro and Elder Matthew Owojaiye.
Other members included Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (retd), Elder Shyngle
Wigwe, DIG P. L. Dabup, Sir John W. Bagu, Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Elder
Mike Orobator, Justice James Ogebe, JSC (retd), Dr. Chukwuemeka
Ezeife, Chief Debo Omotosho, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Dr. S. D. Gani, Mrs.
Osaretin Demuren, Prof. Yussuf Turaki; late former General Secretary
of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake and Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
The statement reads: “It is therefore premature and presumptuous for
anyone to congratulate President Buhari for “winning” an election that
is contested in Court. 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
The elders recalled that in the 2018 report of NCEF entitled: “Factors
hindering Christian Political Consensus for 2019 election”, the
organisation provided irrefutable facts that Ayokunle deliberately
frustrated Christian political consensus in a country in which
religion has become a major factor in politics.
Asemota said, “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.
“It would be recalled that during the elections, 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 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
“NCEF noticed that a notable arm of the Church, the Catholic Church,
did not join the delegation that went to congratulate President
Buhari. This would be consistent with the communique 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.
“Presently, Christians are mourning over 200 people murdered in Kajuru
and Adara in southern Kaduna. There are increasing reports of clergy
routinely kidnapped and murdered in Middle Belt and parts of the
North. These are in addition to genocide in Benue, Taraba, Plateau,
and other parts of southern Kaduna.
“So far, no arrest has been made and no one has been prosecuted.
Therefore, for any Christian leader to go and shake the hand of the
man who has done nothing to stop the genocide is morally and
“In addition to the concerns expressed above, it should be remembered
that we all witnessed the debacles during the campaigns for the 2019
elections as well as the violent conduct of the elections. We
witnessed the widespread application of “inconclusive” elections where
the opposition party had upper hand.
“We saw with regret the way Kano, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Lagos,
Taraba, Bayelsa, and Plateau states elections, amongst others, were
handled. The campaign debate and Presidential interview exposed the
competence and capability of the candidates and Nigerians spoke
through their votes and expressed their preference.
“Therefore, the will of the people must not be subverted. It is wrong
for anyone, or any group of people, to seek to use CAN to legitimize
an illegality. That congratulatory visit, we insist, was not on behalf
of Nigerian Christians.
“Fortunately for the NCEF, in making this clarification, no one can
accuse the Christian elders of religious bigotry or ethnic
discrimination since both front runners are Muslims from the North and
of the same ethnic stock. In the same vein, no one could say that NCEF
is holding brief for any political party since NCEF neither supported
any political party nor adopted any candidate during the elections.
“The interest of NCEF is that democracy should be permitted to
flourish and prevail in Nigeria. As President Goodluck Jonathan
demonstrated in 2015, the will of the people must not be subverted. We
are no longer in the era of military coup in which individual(s) can
impose themselves as rulers over the nation.
“This is democracy and the will of the people must not be subverted.
Any attempt to kill democracy by a President who subverts the very
process that brought him to power under the instrumentality of stealth
and conventional jihad must be resisted and rejected.
“NCEF aligns itself with the stand of the ethnic nationalities in
South West, South East, South South and Middle Belt Zones that the
Judiciary should perform its rightful oversight and ensure that the
rightful winner of the 2019 election is sworn into office in May 29,
“If the Judiciary, for whatever reason, is unable to take a stand and
defend the will of the people then Nigeria would have destroyed
democracy and signed on as a fascist state.
“Now is the time for every man of good conscience to rise and speak.
It is no use waiting for an illegality to be stamped upon the country
before people would start complaining. Government should not be
permitted to become illegitimate in Nigeria. This is the time to stand
up and speak out. In this season, silence is not golden.”