• Warns against complacency on Boko Haram insurgency
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on saturday asked the federal government to buckle up and confront the scorching economic recession and refrain from buck passing.
CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle stated this at the Thanksgiving and Appreciation Service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja to usher in his administration and honour other Christians leaders in the country.
He said: “The Church does not have the political and economic power to bring the change that Nigerians are expecting, what the Church has is the spiritual power and CAN just conclude a three-day prayer as fasting. We will continue speak to our leaders to do what is right. Many workers have not received their salaries for several months and they have wives, children, aged parents and relatives to take care of.
“Government should buckle up and know that it is not time to complain, government should know that it is the last resort for the people. Government is the one managing the national purse, so they should courageously address the economic challenges confront the country and not chicken out.”
Ayokunle stated that CAN “encourage Nigerians to be hopeful and know that the solution is not in going to commit suicide or go into depression or venting anger on people around them. The economic downturn is not only in Nigeria, it is in Brazil and other countries of the world but we want to kick it out of Nigeria and with concerted efforts we will all get there. Let us also change our attitude to work, some people don’t want to work, they just want to while away time.
“You cannot earn salary when you are not adding value; our attitude about work must change, hard work is what will lead this nation out of the economic recession we have found ourselves.”
He explained that “the challenge of being a Christian today in Nigeria is the challenge of standing firm for what is right because it appears the society of today has itching ears and don’t want to listen to the truth. They only want you to praise them and never to challenge them.
“There is evil in the society, the righteous does not have any value, we celebrate people who are half naked and call them celebrities so it is becoming a more dangerous world but as Christians, we owe it a duty to stand for the truth, build the body of Christ and not crisis. The church and the country already have a lot of crisis to deal with. Our togetherness and unity depends on the leadership of CAN. We need to lead by example and the fear of God.”
On insecurity and the Boko Haram insurgency, Ayokunle tasked the federal government not to give up in the war against insurgency until the battle is won. Insurgency is not Boko Haram alone; government should fight the menace of Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, armed robbery, and subdue every form of violence in the country.
“Let the government diversify their focus not only on Boko Haram but on other that are eating deep into the society”, he added.
CAN Vice President, Prof. Joseph Otubu assured followers that the new leadership would remain focused on the tenets of the association and in ensuring that the interest of Christians remains paramount.
Otubu harped on the need for Christians to unite and a forge a common front for the purpose of peace and development of the country.
Also, former CAN president, Peter Akinola said Nigeria has being laying waste as a nation, while so many things go wrong. Akinola, also a former Primate of the Anglican Communion, while delivering his sermon at the event, tasked the new CAN president to lead the Christian nation in the right direction regardless of the growing challenges.
“Nigeria has being laying waste, there has been a lot of blame game. Yet there is so much to be done. We have a lot of work to do, as a nation that talks about change.”
Akinola, who was represented at the event by Arch Bishop of Lokoja, Ecclesiastical province, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Emmanuel Egbunu said: “The problems of Nigeria require focus on what will work, rather than what has failed.”
Former leaders of the association honoured at the event include, the Catholic Bishop of Abuja Ach Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Anthony Cardinal Okojie, of the Lagos Diocese, Cardinal Dominic Ekandem, former Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Abuja.
Also, former Patriarch of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Sunday Mbang, Akinola, and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the immediate past president were all honoured for their contributions towards the growth of the association.