Commentaries, News

PASTOR AYO ORITSEJAFOREL-RUFAIFirst up, let me say that I am a Christian by birth and I grew up in a traditional Christian setting. My parents were and my mum still is a church leader and by far, distinguished ones. I do not think however that they are above reproach; no I have never fallen for that kind of reasoning.

Next, let me confess that I am a Nasir El-Rufai fan and I hold him in high esteem, that by any means does not mean I suggest that he is a saint or without any faults or failings, No!

This piece is an outpouring of my thoughts on the current faceoff between El-Rufai and the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Mallam El-Rufai the former Minister of FCT had in a newspaper interview accused CAN president Ayo Oritsejafor of being a propagandist for the PDP and also added that he knew the source of his (Ayo Oritsejafor’s) private jet.

CAN has however reacted, giving El-Rufai a Seven day ultimatum within which to disclose the name of the alleged giver of the jet or risk his (El-Rufai) dirty past being exposed by CAN.

In its reaction, CAN also accused El-Rufai of seeking relevance and alluded to an incidence some months ago in which El-Rufai retweeted a tweet in which someone made a remark about Jesus Christ.

El-Rufai on his own part has stated that he is patiently waiting for the ultimatum given to him to expire and see what the consequences would be, in other words he is daring CAN to expose his ‘dirty past’.

I have been thinking seriously about these altercations and I am baffled at the stance CAN has taken on this issue. Is it not amazing that CAN has left the real issues and has chosen to attack the person of Mallam El-Rufai in a deliberate attempt to whip up Christian sentiments against him.

The same accusation of politicization that El-Rufai is making had been made before by the Catholic community, which even went ahead to announce suspension of its membership until CAN purges itself of its partisanship. Besides which honest Nigerian would not admit that to a large extent CAN has lent itself for use by politicians?

I find it amazing, the suggestion that El-Rufai is seeking relevance, methinks this cannot be true, Mallam has already acquired some status within and outside Nigeria that many of his critics can only aspire to, his sterling performances as FCT minister as well as at the BPE speak for themselves. It is not in doubt that there has been no better minister of FCT before or after him, even his critics acknowledge this fact.

Similarly, El-Rufai has equally distinguished himself as a man of truth and justice, his recalcitrant nature and refusal to be pliant has put him in trouble and pitched him against powers that be not a few times and through it all, he remains unscathed. How many of our leaders, political and religious can stand this tall? I think I’d rather be associated with an upright man than one who goes to church with a limited number of ‘amens’.

The allegation by CAN that El-Rufai is hungry and needs a job, is at best laughable and ironically exposes the tactics used by the religious leaders themselves: “criticize so you can be made an offer”

CAN’s leadership in making the threat to expose El-Rufai has done more harm than good and brought more shame to the Christendom, what our Christian leaders are telling us is that they are privy to some information of some rot and they would hush over it, given the right incentives. Is this a usual practice or adopted only for El-Rufai’s case? Are there more people with skeletons in their cupboard which CAN is privy to, but have been given the appropriate incentive to keep quiet about? Wouldn’t doing so negate the very essence of our religion?

At best what CAN is doing here is blackmail and does not portray the Christian body in good light at all. If El-Rufai has any dark secrets that is public knowledge worthy, then CAN should go ahead and reveal them, no need to dangle carrots and sticks. In an attempt to smear El-Rufai’s face with mud, CAN has merely dirtied its own hands.

On the issue of the tweet retweeted by El-Rufai, I think this issue should have been rested by now, first because a retweet is not necessarily an endorsement. Secondly, the tweet is not in my view derision for Jesus Christ, but rather an allusion to how terrible things have degenerated in governance in Nigeria. The hypocrisy of those harping on this issue is exposed in that they quickly ignore the fact that the originator of the otherwise innocent joke is a Christian.

The way I see it, El-Rufai has made an allegation against the person of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, but CAN has taken up the issue as if the allegation is against it, as an association, forgetting that the frowning face of the goat does not prevent it from being taken to the market.
I am not oblivious of the fact that some Christians will come up with the ‘touch not my anointed’ excuse, I wouldn’t dwell much on that, I’ll simply refer them to that well-crafted piece by J.J. Omojuwa on Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of COZA titled “#WalterGate: More seamy Questions for Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo”, that article perfectly expresses my opinion on that issue.

Talking about Pastor Biodun, I haven’t read that CAN has made any official statement on the allegations raised against him by Ese Walters and others. Not too long ago, Tope Alabi, a gospel artist made allegations that she was being pestered for sex by Pastors, rather than seeking to genuinely uncover the truth, CAN came out defensively in a manner only politicians should do.

When President Goodluck Jonathan exercised executive powers in granting state pardon to convict Alamaseigha, I never heard CAN comment on that absurdity. These and other more germane issues that one would expect to occupy the CAN agenda are relegated to the background for mundane issues, this cannot be right. If you choose to lie down with dogs, then you must be prepared to wake up with fleas.

Even more shocking and embarrassing is the fact that the CAN statement came from the ECWA arm of CAN. For the avoidance of doubt, ECWA is my church and is known to generally discourage ostentatious lifestyles and prosperity homilies, and this indeed is one of the many reasons I have remained a member of ECWA till date. I remember with pride how ECWA put up deep spiritual and legal battle against AMORC over allegations that the latter is a satanic organization, are those days over now, are we now conforming to the world?

Now, I have taken the risk of speaking up on this issue, not because I have been paid to do so, but because I think, that CAN’s attempt to whip up Christian sentiments against El-Rufai for issues that are clearly not religion-based is unfair and uncalled for and should be resisted by fair-minded, bible believing Christians. This is my opinion and everyone is entitled to theirs.