Crisis Brews As CAN Disowns Rebel Groups


Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Leadership tussle has crept into the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with the President of the organisation, Rev Samson Ayokunle, accusing his deputy, Prof. Joseph Otubu, of trying to factionalise the association.

In a statement issued by the Director of National Issues and Mobilisation of CAN, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the association frowned at the emergence of two organisations, Nigerian Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) and Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians (CNNC), describing it as fake.

It also described their allegations against the leadership of CAN as “frivolous, misleading and unfounded.”

Adegbite traced the genesis of the face-off between the top officials of CAN to an allegation leveled against the CAN president by his deputy.

According to the statement, CAN Vice President, Otubu, had petitioned the National Executive Committee of the association, and made some grave allegations against his principal, the CAN president.

It stated that following the petition, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association set up a Special Committee to look into the petition as demanded by the petitioner.

It said the committee invited all individuals involved to appear before it with their evidences to substantiate their allegations while the accused were also asked to come with available documentary evidences to defend themselves.

However, CAN said Otubu, who was behind the allegations, failed to show up before the panel.

“The only person connected to this historic assignment who did not appear before the committee throughout the committee sessions is Otubu, who is the petitioner.

“Unfortunately, he refused to contact the committee despite all the invitations in form of telephone calls, email and written letters sent by courier to him and signed for as received by his Personal Assistant,” it said.

The statement said the panel had investigated all the allegations of Otubu and “that they were found to be frivolous, baseless, false, misleading and unfounded.”

It noted that NEC has adopted the panel’s report with a view of implementing its recommendations.

CAN said: “We are taken aback that such reputable and credible newspapers could allow themselves to be used by some disgruntled elements parading themselves as the police of CAN to destroy the ‘Body of Christ’ for selfish reasons without crosschecking their facts from us as demanded by the ethics of journalism.

“Both organisations are aliens to the Constitution of CAN. These people are false-alarmists who are pursuing selfish interests appealing to public sentiment in order to mislead them against a credible leader and organisation.”

CAN is the umbrella body to all Christian in Nigeria and the highest decision making bodies of the organisation are NEC and the National Assembly.