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Monday, 22 February 2016

Leadership Of Christian Association Of Nigeria Jittery Over Nigeria's Muslim President's Alleged Plans To Foist New Hands At Their Helm

Ayo Oritsejafor

The Christian Association of Nigeria's, CAN, leadership is in panic mode over allegations that Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari is perfecting plans to sponsor a candidate loyal to him for their elections coming up in July. The current president of CAN is pastor Ayo Oristejafor, a wily prosperity preacher from the oil city of Warri, who benefitted immensely from former president Jonathan's insanely corrupt government.

Mr Oristejafor has a private jet to show for his lucrative relationship with the former president, the same jet that was leased from him and used to smuggle $9.3 million in cash to South Africa, and when the South African authorities nabbed the money launderers, former president Jonathan personally stepped in to say that the money was meant for the purchase of arms to be used in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. Mr Oristejafor denied any knowledge of the purpose for which his jet was leased, claiming he simply leased the jet to a client and was not in control of whatever the lessee wanted to use it for. Nigeria's former National Security Adviser under ex-president Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki, a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army, is currently in court facing corruption charges over how he distributed another $2.1 billion, supposedly meant for arms to fight Boko Haram, among members of Nigeria's then ruling political party, the People's Democratic Party, PDP.

The leadership of CAN have vowed to resist president Buhari's alleged intention to foist his candidate on the association during the next elections. They intend to do this "in the name of Jesus in whose presence "every knee must bow". Their excuse is that whoever president Buhari, a muslim, installs, would avoid any "violent criticism" of his government. How typically hypocritical! These same people shut their mouths and stuffed their pockets with lucre from the nation's treasury when Jonathan was president, and not even one of them raised a voice in criticism of the massive corruption that was going on all around them. They have all of a sudden become a bulwark against the corruption of elected officials.

Mr Oristejafor should remember the politics surrounding his election as the association's president, and how he used his position to line his pockets and those of the pastors loyal to him. That gravy train is grinding to an unceremonious halt due to president Buhari's famous frugality, and the fact that oil prices, from which Nigeria derives at least 80 per cent of its income, has fallen to an unprecedented low with no recovery in sight. Corrupt politicians  and civil servants can therefore not steal as much as they used to, which translates to a paucity of cash for the offering plate, a development that must be very worrisome to Mr Oristejafor and his cohorts. It is why they are desperately fighting to, at least, keep their strategic places in the association which they have so maliciously manipulated to serve their need for Mammon.

Mr Oritsejafor and the rapacious pastors loyal to his leadership of CAN, a position he has held since July 2010, are genuinely afraid (and they should be) that they will lose their influence in CAN, and the concomitant political connections they have enjoyed for nearly half a dozen years. The catholic church withdrew its membership of CAN in January 2014 citing the involvement of its leadership in partisan politics which was contrary to the association's ethos. Why are Mr Oristejafor and his fellow quislings so afraid of a change in leadership in CAN? Is he afraid that he will no longer be able to maintain his private jet?  He can continue to lease it out to money launderers. Perhaps they are afraid that the full extent of their corrupt activities will be exposed for Nigerians to see.  Whatever the reason, it is as clear as day that these 'men of God' are actually fearful of the increasingly real prospect of going into political oblivion. But July is fast approaching, as is their inevitable judgement day.

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