10 Oct 2014

Controversial $9.3m Arms Scandal: Okotie asks Oritsejafor to resign as CAN President

Reverend Chris Okotie, the founder of the Household of God Church, Lagos, western Nigeria, has asked the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to resign as the leader of the Christian community in Nigeria in order to salvage what remains of the battered image of the religious association.

Okotie made the call in reaction to the controversies surrounding the use of the CAN leader’s private jet to smuggle $9.3 million into South Africa allegedly for purchase of arms and ammunition.

The Federal Government of Nigeria claimed it had a hand in the deal. The cash was seized in South Africa on 5 September from two Nigerians and an Israeli who brought it into the country in the jet .

In his opinion entitled: ‘$9.3m Scandal: Oritsejafor Should Do The Right Thing’, published on the back page of Daily Sun on Friday, Okotie expressed dissatisfaction with the CAN boss for compromising the integrity of his esteemed office.

The televangelist called for Oritsejafor’s resignation, saying that he has not only compromised his leadership position due to his alleged involvement in the scandal but also because of his “indiscretion in indentifying too closely with President Goodluck Jonathan in a way that suggests a veiled endorsement of policies and actions by the entire Christian community.”

Okotie added that Oritsejafor should step down because “his abrasive leadership style has also polarized the Christian community as evidenced by the current unprecedented division in CAN.”
He wrote: “Not that it is a sin to be the President’s pal, but when such relationship becomes provocatively patronizing, or self-serving, it is unacceptable. The pastor (Oritsejafor) does not show restraint in the way he goes about, publicly hobnobbing with the President as if he is the Chaplain of Aso Rock. This certainly has compromised the integrity of his office as CAN President and his latest incident is just the climax of embarrassing incidents we can’t tolerate any longer. Considering the collateral damage Pastor Ayo’s close relationship with the President has done to the Christian community, it is fit and proper for the pastor to resign immediately as CAN President to salvage what remains of the battered image of the association.

“This is without prejudice to the on-going investigation on the matter. Denials of his culpability by the Federal Government, CAN officials and his own recent defence, do nothing to reduce the moral burden this whole saga places on his shoulders. As the titular leader of Christians in Nigeria, there’s now a serious crisis of confidence on his leadership and he ought to respond to it by resigning from his exalted position.”
Okotie questioned the CAN president’s involvement in public quarrels with the President’s critics, from the Muslim faith as well as in the opposition.
“In a nation of contending faiths, Pastor Ayo literally ignores our divergent religious sensibilities as he sometimes gets himself involved in public quarrels with the President’s critics, from the Muslim faith as well as in the opposition. Not all Christians are comfortable with this posture by their leader, especially at a time of intense politicking and the sectarian tensions generated by the Boko Haram insurgents and communal violence involving ethnic minorities with entrenched religious identities.

“Before now, leaders of this organization deliberately stayed out of politics in keeping with the traditional stance of neutrality of the body vis-a-viz the policy postures of incum- bent governments. In fact, former PFN leader like the late Archbishop Benson Idohosa and ex-CAN President, Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, kept governments on their toes during their time…But here, we are dealing with Pastor Ayo as the leader of CAN; the largest umbrella of Nigerian Christians. He is condemned to be judged by secular standards, which, in this case, demands that, having found himself in a quagmire which calls to question the sanctity of his office, he must step down to redeem his image,” Okotie wrote.

Credit: PM News

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