by Isi Esene
The crisis brewing within the Christian Association of Nigeria does not seem to be abating with the association giving the Catholic Church the go-ahead to pull out of the religious group.
The Catholic Church recently decided to pull out of CAN noting that it no longer stood for what it was initially set up to do.
In a letter signed by the Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Monsignor Christopher Ajala, on Tuesday, the Catholic Church alleged that CAN had become an arm of government.
“The Catholic Church took their stand before the purchase or the aircraft was donated to him. But what the Catholic Bishops Conference is complaining about is about the way they are running the national CAN now that is not meeting the objectives and the goals of CAN and the forefathers of CAN.
“CAN is now being run as part of the government and we said no.
“Because they (government) will dictate to us what to do and they will not take our advice seriously. The Catholic Church decided to withdraw from the activities of CAN at national level; we are still part of the state. We made our stand clear in November, last year, and by December, the man bought a jet. I don’t know how he got it but the president was there on that day the jet was delivered to him.
“So, what we are saying is that our religious leaders should be honest, upright and they should also be the conscience of this nation.
“If you are bought, the masses of this country are finished. If you can use money to buy our religious leaders, then there is no hope for the common man. That is the Catholic Church’s stand. We are supposed to speak for the people to correct the wrongs in the society and assist every government to know the will of God for them and we still stand by that.”
But in its reaction to the allegations made against it by the Catholic Church, the leadership of CAN attributed the problem to the inability of a Catholic Church candidate to wrest power from the current CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the 19 Northern States of CAN and Abuja, Sunny Oibe, “There are some certain elements in the leadership of CAN led by Cardinal John Onaiyekan because he lost CAN Presidency to Oritsejafor who has a lot of achievements.”
Oibe whio spoke with reporters in Abuja on Wednesday continued saying, “There is no need for anybody to lose sleep over the threat by Catholics to pull out of CAN because without them CAN will still continue. The constitution of CAN makes provision that membership can be terminated by any group that is misbehaving or any group can also terminate their membership.
“Why is it that when Catholics were in the leadership of CAN, every bloc supported them, but now because power has changed hands, they are threatening to pull out and causing confusion?
“They have been agitating that the Presidency of CAN must come from the South. They are an appendage of PDP and PDP themselves. They are known for double standards. A man of God should not be double speaking.”
Oibe reportedly continued saying, “The Catholics are claiming that the current CAN leadership has deviated from the vision of the founding fathers when they don’t even know how CAN came about.
“Catholics have accused the present CAN leadership, led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of being pro-government. But if you look at the whole scenario, you will be able to find out who between Oritsejafor and Onaiyekan is closer to government.”
“The problem of Catholics is that they always display arrogance in knowledge. They don’t want to be under anybody but they want everybody to be under them. It doesn’t work like that because there is no seniority in CAN,” Oibe said.