By Shola Oyeyipo
As the quest for a better Nigeria persists, the activities of the judiciary has been described as the greatest clog in the wheel of progress.
Making this assertion Sunday during a special State of the Nation address tilted: “The Head that Refuses a Life-giving Rebuke will be Thrown Down the Cliff of Perdition,” the Congress for Progressive Change vice-presidential candidate during the 2011 presidential election, Pastor ‘Tunde Bakare, who drew inference from the recent judgment pronounced on former police pension accountant, Mr. John Yakubu Yusuf lamented that: “Nigeria judiciary is slapping the influential convicts on the wrist.”
Bakare who is the serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, urged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to speak the truth to national leaders at all times.
He described the two years imprisonment with an option of N750,000 fine meted out to Yusuf as contrasting to another judgment by a Abeokuta court, which sentenced one Mustapha Adeyinka to two years imprisonment for stealing vegetable valued at about N5,000.
He bemoaned that: “Nigeria is hellish to the poor but magnanimous to the corrupt rich.”
He also lambasted the Federal Government’s reaction to the recent accusation that monies in the excess crude oil account and foreign reserve have been squandered, saying that: “Rather than giving a lucid, reasoned and mature response to Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, the Federal Government, through its spokespersons, went into all manner of tirades against her person, virulently attacking the messenger while ignoring the message. Prior to belatedly presenting some mumbo-jumbo statistics on our foreign reserves from 2007-2012, which have only raised yet more integrity questions for the administration, the first puerile action of the Federal Government was to ask Oby to account for four years of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Education of which she spent only a few months as Minister.”
While he suggested that Ezekwesili’s pedigree as a founding director of the global anti-graft body, Transparency International, and Director of Due Process office, sufficiently exonerated her from “the charge of frivolity or ignorance on the subject of profligacy she chose to address in our body polity”, he also did not spare the Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor-led CAN for attempting to make an issue out a tweet by a Nigerian re-tweeted by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai where he attempted to corroborate the fact that the national leadership leaves issues and attack the person of critics.
“It is rather unfortunate that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that should bring understanding to the simple on matters like this has chosen to confirm its description by the Catholic Church as an arm of the government in power by fanning the propaganda of agents of the administration that Nasir el-Rufai is a “bigot” for a statement that did not originate from him and whose meaning should be clear to a non-mischievous person.
“This is nothing but feeding on mass neurosis and widening the gap between people of different faiths in our country. Is CAN saying the gentleman who wrote the “offending” statement who happens to be a Christian is a “bigot”? If they are not saying so, they are only showing selective integrity by picking on el-Rufai who re-tweeted simply because he is a Muslim! And can el-Rufai justifiably be called a “bigot” by any stretch of the imagination? I say NO as he has worshiped with us at the Latter Rain Assembly on several occasions and shared Christian messages from our services with all who follow him on Twitter. He is a liberal Muslim who respects the faith of others. Given the fragile state of our country today, we need faith leaders who are voices of moderation across the faiths who will preach harmony and not divisions.
“It must be pointed out that CAN’s bellicose posture came after el-Rufai publicly apologised for the re-tweet. Jesus Christ, who asked the Father to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross when they didn’t even acknowledge they did anything wrong, must be wondering what those who are supposed to be His servants are doing in His name to a man who asked for forgiveness,” Bakare noted.
He challenged CAN leadership to speak the truth to those in power and concern itself with putting the “House of CAN” in order following the withdrawal of the Catholic Church from CAN’s activities at the national level.
“It is a big shame that the response of CAN’s leadership is that the Catholics are withdrawing because they lost election to the current leader. What do we expect those in government to do when critical issues of good governance and accountability are raised and leaders in the church leave the substance and chase shadows? No wonder President Jonathan thinks the way he thinks and talks the way he talks because he is surrounded and encouraged by the likes of the present CAN leadership. I recall the response of President Jonathan to the fuel hike protest in January 2012. To him, the protest was spearheaded by election losers.”