Re: SGF is not a Chris­tian - North­ern CAN

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Ahmed Ya­haya-Joe Ya­haya-Joe wrote this piece from Wusasa, Zaria

Ac­cord­ing to Charles Caleb Colton “when you have noth­ing to say, say noth­ing; a weak de­fense strength­ens your op­po­nent, and si­lence is less in­ju­ri­ous than a weak re­ply” it is against that back­ground that this writer must ad­mit Lau­retta Onochie has not only raised some fun­da­men­tal is­sues but has held a mir­ror for North­ern Chris­tians to se­ri­ously cross ex­am­ine them­selves and their role in the polity. That not­with­stand­ing any at­tempt to de­pict the multi-re­li­gious tapestry of Nige­ria like a jig­saw puz­zle with per­fectly fit­ting parts will be an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity not only be­cause there are too many blurred patches but the over­all pic­ture it­self is over­whelm­ingly mu­tated.

This re­join­der is there­fore an at­tempt to ex­pand the dis­course rather than to de­fend in to­tal­ity the in­ter­ven­tion of the North­ern CAN and whole­somely re­but the con­cerns of Ms. Onochie.

The said Van­guard online news item of April 26th 2016 that was only par­tially quoted by Ms Onochie had its en­tire con­text al­most spun out of pro­por­tion. What was con­spic­u­ously left out by the good lady in­cluded “Ev­ery hon­est Nige­rian knows that the feel­ers on the ground is that that this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pop­u­lar­ity is dwin­dling rapidly amongst the Nige­rian peo­ple. It is there­fore not ad­vis­able to think or plan to ar­rest for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Ebele Jonathan. Let me warn that such a mis­ad­ven­ture will set a wrong prece­dent and only open the door for mis­chievous peo­ple to set this na­tion into con­fu­sion”.

North­ern CAN fur­ther put it that if the said ar­rest of Jonathan was “ac­tu­al­ized {it} has the ca­pac­ity to lead to se­ri­ous con­fu­sion that will af­fect Nige­ria eco­nom­i­cally and oth­er­wise” con­clud­ing that “such an ac­tion may spark a chain re­ac­tion”. No doubt Onochie is en­ti­tled to her own in­ter­pre­ta­tion and is free to make her own con­clu­sions but to say that the North­ern CAN is ut­ter­ing “such un­righ­teous­ness” and em­bark­ing on “an un­holy ad­vo­cacy” is an overkill and gross dis­tor­tion. Ad­mit­tedly the North­ern CAN state­ment was not suc­cinct in sup­port­ing the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cur­rent an­ti­cor­rup­tion war be­cause one can­not rule out some level po­lit­i­cal un­der­cur­rent as the North­ern CAN state­ment was signed by Revd. John Joseph Hayab, a one­time Ad­viser on Re­li­gious Af­fairs (Chris­tian) to both late Gover­nor Ibrahim Yakowa and the im­me­di­ate past Gover­nor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna state.

This writer how­ever com­mends her un­usual can­dor which brings us to the satir­i­cal ti­tle of her ar­ti­cle ref­er­enc­ing the SGF and where Onochie claims that “it’s there­fore sad that if an ap­pointee is a Chris­tian who is not known to North­ern CAN his or her Chris­tian­ity be­comes a nul­lity and of no ef­fect”. That as­ser­tion was no doubt con­se­quent upon an­other more re­cent North­ern CAN state­ment de­cry­ing PMB for “ex­clud­ing qual­i­fied Chris­tians in the ap­point­ment into strate­gic po­si­tions by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment even with the nu­mer­ous com­pe­tent Chris­tians from all the states in the North”. The mil­lion Naira ques­tion is sim­ply what po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ment could be more strate­gic for North­ern Chris­tians than that of SGF?

If so what then are the cur­rent in­ter­ests of North­ern CAN to the ex­tent that they are not ap­pre­cia­tive enough of this ap­par­ently mon­u­men­tal ges­ture by PMB? Are they even rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the broad spec­trum of North­ern Chris­tians? Or does Ms. Onochie want the Chris­tian north to just with­out a fight suc­cumb to Jane Car­lyle’s dic­tum of “when one has been threat­ened with a great in­jus­tice, one ac­cepts a smaller one as a fa­vor”.

With too many ques­tions and few or no an­swers one thing that can be dis­cerned is that the North­ern Chris­tian elite like the cur­rent SGF don’t take their pur­pose and di­rec­tion from their Church lead­ers be­cause the North­ern CAN like the main­stream CAN is a con­glom­er­ate of cler­gy­men- a trade union. And as a group of peo­ple with the same re­la­tion­ship to means of pro­duc­tion which does not ex­clude gov­ern­ment pa­tron­age the can­cel­la­tion of of­fi­cial spon­sor­ship for Jerusalem pil­grim­age and the cur­rent par­lous state of the state trea­sury no doubt ap­par­ently leaves them be­tween a rock and a hard place.

Be­ing a North­ern Chris­tian is in it­self a con­tra­dic­tion of sorts be­cause it is try­ing to fit into an im­me­di­ate en­vi­ron­ment pro­fess­ing the faith of a mi­nor­ity in a so­ci­ety which is prin­ci­pally of an­other faith of the ma­jor­ity yet Ms Onochie ex­pects “North­ern CAN to as­sume the role in ed­u­cat­ing south­ern­ers with facts with a view to al­lay­ing their anx­i­ety oc­ca­sioned by per­ceived marginal­iza­tion”. With that mis­sive Ms Onochie is ei­ther very ig­no­rant or be­ing de­lib­er­ately mis­chievous, where was she when on 12th De­cem­ber 2012 the then gover­nor of Kaduna died in an ae­rial mishap and the news of his demise was re­ceived with re­ported wide­spread ju­bi­la­tion in the streets of Kaduna and Zaria and with ap­par­ent glee on so­cial me­dia across the north? What more ed­u­ca­tion do south­ern­ers need?

In ad­di­tion, Ms Onochie also as­serted “CAN in Nige­ria in the im­me­di­ate past be­came con­tro­ver­sial. This led to the Catholic Church in Nige­ria with­draw­ing its mem­ber­ship of the as­so­ci­a­tion. The present ut­ter­ances of the North­ern CAN show that they have not re­pented of their sin­ful past”. Once again Ms Onochie is guilty of mis­in­ter­pret­ing the com­plex in­ter­play of in­ter­com­mu­nal re­la­tions in the north. If she can re­call it was in 2013 a cer­tain Mon­signor Christo­pher Ajala the Ad­min­is­tra­tor of the Catholic Dio­cese of Abeokuta that an­nounced the de­nom­i­na­tion was sus­pend­ing its ac­tiv­i­ties in the national body of CAN cu­ri­ously the pro­nun­ci­a­tion did not come from the most se­nior Catholic priest in the coun­try John Car­di­nal Onaiyekan, the chairman of the Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops Right Revd. Ig­natius Kaigama nor its rank­ing in­tel­lec­tual Right Revd. Matthew Has­san Kukah in­ci­den­tally all north­ern­ers. The Vice Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Os­in­bajo would equally fall vic­tim to this same kind of mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the north prob­a­bly be­cause of the co­zi­ness of Revd. Fr. Mbaka to Aso Rock Villa when he be­came “vis­i­bly trans­fixed” at the 55th In­de­pen­dence Day an­niver­sary in­ter­de­nom­i­na­tional Church ser­vice homily de­liv­ered by the Catholic Bishop of Kafan­chan, Right Revd. Joseph Bo­go­b­iri when he took a swipe at PMB.

Ms Onochie is prob­a­bly not even aware that CAN and North­ern CAN had long parted ways as far back as 2012 and as Dr. Aliyu Tilde then put in in his Dis­course num­bered 336 en­ti­tled “Jonathan and the se­cu­rity of Nige­rian Chris­tians” - “Blam­ing Jonathan, how­ever, is the last thing that CAN would do. CAN is also quick to come to his res­cue on any national is­sue, no mat­ter how un­pop­u­lar it may be. Some weeks ago, its chairman tried to rope in the Chris­tian com­mu­nity into ac­cept­ing the un­pop­u­lar de­ci­sion of re­mov­ing fuel sub­sidy, saying that CAN was sup­port­ive of the move. It took the threat from the north­ern wing of the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore he with­drew the state­ment, claim­ing he was mis­quoted”.

In con­clu­sion, one of the found­ing fa­thers of Afenifere the late Chief Abra­ham Ade­sanya with­out any sense of con­tra­dic­tion claimed to be an el­der states­man but at the same time “an Ijebu first, Yoruba sec­ond and thirdly a Nige­rian”. If the late chief­tain had been a north­erner, he would not have been so brazen with ap­palling ir­re­den­tism and there lies the dilemma of Ms. Onochie in mis­in­ter­pret­ing the north and its pe­cu­liar­i­ties.

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