Kaduna CAN Chairman Berates el-Rufai over Comments on Christians

Joseph Hayab
Rev. John Joseph Hayab

John Shiklam in Kaduna

The newly elected Chairman of the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. John Joseph Hayab, has berated the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, over claims that Christians did not vote for him in 2015.

El-Rufai, while defending his Muslim-Muslim ticket for the governorship election, had said even if he had nominated the Pope as his running mate, 67 per cent of Christian in Southern Kaduna will not vote for him.

However, speaking yesterday at the inauguration of newly elected state executives of CAN at its secretariat in Kaduna, Hayab, who described the governor as “an ingrate,” said Christians voted for el-Rufai to become governor.

The governor was represented at the occasion by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan.

The CAN state leader said: “We voted for them, and if the man tells you that we did not vote for him, he is a liar.

“He is a liar! Christians even made him governor, but because he is an ingrate, because he has no fear of God, he comes out and told Christians that we never voted for him.”

Speaking further, Hayab noted that “I have always used simple example, in Jama’a Local Government Area of the state, where the total votes in the 2015 was 86,000. The party in power (APC), got 39,000 votes, the party that failed (PDP) got 46,000. If the person feels that 39,000 is not votes, then he is an ingrate.

“We know the truth and we cannot compromise truth when people begin to twist facts.”

The CAN chairman also warned that Christians will no longer tolerate those who have made it their business to say bad things about Christians.

“I want to tell those who have found it a new business to say bad things about Christians, that we will not tolerate it.

“We wouldn’t even mind going to jail if we will tell them that they have insulted our people.

“I want them to know that they never came to power on their own.”

He said CAN does not belong to any particular political party, maintaining that as far as political parties field candidates for elections, people must be allowed to choose good candidates.

Hayab urged the government and its agencies at all levels to uphold the principles of fairness and equity, which according him, are nonnegotiable for a peaceful society, particularly at this decisive moment in the life of the country.

The cleric said having served CAN in different capacities from the local government to the state levels, he knows the challenges facing the state, especially as it concerns peaceful coexistence.

According to Hayab, “I have served CAN when different governors were in power in the state.

“Time had come in Kaduna State that we must tell leaders that we are not ignorant.

“If anybody tells you that there was no peace in Kaduna State, he is a liar.

“We were able to sustain peace for nine years, and from November 22, 2002, we never had any crisis again until the 2011 post-election violence. So we were able to sustain peace.

“What we are trying to do now is to work towards sustaining lasting peace. But when somebody said even when we were working together, there was no peace, that person is a liar.

“No one should confuse you with lies, some of us know the truth. I can tell you, especially those of you with the powers, it is quite disheartening and disappointing that at the time people are suffering in Nigeria, instead of winning people you are dividing the people, instigating Christians against Muslims, instigating Muslims against Christians…

“If someone is giving you a picture that there is enmity between Christians and Muslims, there is none.”

In his remarks, guest speaker at the occasion and a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, commended the association for the role it has been playing to promote unity among Christians and other religious groups.