El-Rufai’s Retweet, And CAN’s Misrepresentation of a Moral Point, By Adeolu Ademoyo

Adeolu Ademoyo

“Therefore putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger…The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his (own) hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need…”(Ephesians 4: 25)

“He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised…” (2 Corinthians 5: 15)

In this refutation of the leadership (not members of CAN) of the Christian Association of Nigeria’s deliberate and unchristian   misrepresentation of a citizen’s act in making available for public consumption a moral critique of the direction of our nation is taking, I wish to once again make the following public disclosure.  First, I have never met Mr. El-Rufai in my life. I do not know him beyond being a fellow citizen. Second, I am a Christian and a Catholic. Here in the US, in the small town we live, my family and I take our Christian faith seriously. Third, I come from a Christian family whose roots in my original country date back to the centuries old Anglican Christian tradition in Nigeria. My parents are Anglican, but they never compelled any of us children to profess any Christian denomination or particular religion even when they faithfully and rationally reject Godlessness. I recall two things my parents did for me on the eve of my departure of Nigeria. First, they gave me a bible. Second, they told me gently and lovingly: “whenever you get to where you are going look for a church, any church and worship there. Do not lose your Christian faith. Transmit it to my grandchildren God will bless you.” I did that exactly.   I am an African and Christian.

So while some of my siblings are Pentecostal, Anglican, I consciously chose Catholicism. In choosing Catholicism, I accept the divinity of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. My acceptance of Mary is not only and primarily Christian but it is helped and sealed culturally by my critical African tradition which puts critical motherhood as and at the primary and organizing center of the family.  After my faith in the living God made flesh through the divinity of Mary, the sanctity and unbroken unity of the family institution comes next. And African critical motherhood is at the center of that unity. Finally, here in our little town where the mother of our home and I nurse and raise our children, we practice our Christian faith, we pray to Jesus, and we pray through Mary and we have seen her help and results of her intercession in the lives of our family. This faith is personal, private and positively intense. It is not prosperity religion. It is not a show.  It is a simple faith in our Lord Jesus Christ for who He is, and not for what he has done. We do not parrot it. We are called to live it practically   because we are a mere dot out of the countless number of witnesses to the faith and truth around the globe and us.

I am doing this deliberate public disclosure for a gloom is gradually enveloping our nation due to the acts of the leadership of CAN under Mr. Oritsejafor and Mr. Musa Asake. As Christians we are called to witness our faith in truth and with our neighbours and citizens.

Having publicly disclosed this, I note that Mr. Oritsejafor is the president of Christian Association of Nigeria. So when his Christian Association of Nigeria (again not members of Christian Association of Nigeria), literally threatened the life of a citizen-Mr. El-Rufai- for his re-tweet of the representation of evil in the political leadership of our country and the moral absurdity the leadership of our country is sinking us into, one must wonder if Mr. Oritsejafor is not beginning to take on a role beyond a faith role.  In the midst of a deliberate misrepresentation of the moral critique of the presidency’s response to another citizen’s (Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili) critique of the state of our nation’s finances under President Jonathan.

I wish to restate the circumstance of Mr. El-Rufai’s re-tweet. Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, our country’s former minister of education under General Obasanjo’s government, raised a legitimate moral critique and challenge about the state of our nation’s finances under President Jonathan. President Jonathan did not ask and has not asked the relevant ministerial team under whose watch the moral challenge is being raised to inform the nation. Rather President Jonathan’s media men-Messers Labaran Maku, Doyin Okupe and Reuben Abati gave responses which are completely out of sync with and irrelevant to the seriousness of the issue. In their responses, they questioned the motives behind Mrs. Ezekwesili’s critique. In other words, President Jonathan did not answer the questions raised by a citizen-Mrs. Ezekwesili. He did not ask the relevant ministerial team led by the coordinating minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to inform the nation.  Strangely, the president’s media men diverted the issue. They questioned Mrs. Ezekwesili’s motive.  Another citizen –Ogunyemi Bukola-must have been morally shocked at the diversion of the issue by the president’s media men and he tweeted: “If Jesus criticizes Jonathan’s government, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Magdalene.”

Mr. El-Rufai is not the AUTHOR of the tweet.  Mr. El Rufai re-tweeted the original tweet.

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria under Mr. Oritsejafor (president) and Mr. Musa Asake (secretary) has asked that Mr. El-Rufai be brought to “justice on account of his incitement and insult against the Christian faith.”

I am Christian and Catholic, and my understanding of my faith is that we are called to witness the truth in our faith to the world. So my question is: what is Mr. Rufai’s offense? Is he the author of the tweet? The answer is no. So his “offense” according to CAN leadership must be that he re-tweeted an original tweet. If this is Mr. El-Rufai’s “offense”, I think the CAN leadership is mistaken. And there is a serious faith and ethical issue in that mistake because if it is indeed true (for the sake of clarification only) that the tweet is against the Christian faith, the right person to go after is the author of the original tweet, Ogunyemi Bukola, and not Mr. El-Rufai. But that CAN, under Mr. Oritsejafor’s watch, will do this by engaging in an immoral scapegoating is understandable. This is because Mr. Oritsejafor does not hide his service to the questionable ethics under the present administration.  I challenge fellow citizens to take me up on this. But let us do this on rational grounds.  So even if for the purpose of clarification (I do not agree that it is against the Christian faith), we assume that the original tweet is anti-faith, we must inform ourselves whether it is morally legitimate to ignore the source and author of the original tweet – as the CAN leadership has done – and go after the source of the re-tweet as the CAN leadership is doing. And if it is not morally legitimate to go after the author of the re-tweet, rather than the author of the tweet, then, we must ask if it is Christian for the CAN leadership under Mr. Oritsejafor and Mr. Musa Asake to have done this i.e. engage in an act that has raised serious moral and ethical questions.  This is important to me and the children we raise because the body of our Christian faith is not only spiritual, it is primarily ethical and moral or at least ought to be.

Furthermore, I have searched for Mr. El-Rufai’s offense against my Christian faith.  I have not seen one.  I am persuaded that the original tweet does not offend our faith. And if the original tweet does not offend Christian faith, then the re-tweet cannot and should not be portrayed to offend.   I maintain this position for the following reasons. In the history of ethics-including its conscious and unconscious discourse, attempts have been made to inform about evil and represent evil. The Ogunyemi Bukola reference to our Lord Jesus Christ and Divine Mary is an intuitive attempt to show the extremity of evil that is unfolding in our nation under the present administration. And in a situation of complete collapse of ethics, citizens grope for words to externalize their deeply felt moral intuition.  In this regard, language is often the first casualty in a state of evil for we lose language in our attempt to represent evil. Evil becomes something we humans cannot find words to represent. For example, while Hannah Arendt, the German-American political theorist who is also Jewish will say “evil is banal” i.e. its naming is unavailable to language, the African Yoruba moral philosophy and language have a slight advantage over the English language. It will say “ọrọ pesi jọ” –in other words “this passeth any moral comprehension”. This is precisely what Ogunyemi Bukola’s Jesus tweet means morally. That is the act of the president’s media men in deliberately diverting from Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili’s moral challenge is an absurdity that “passeth” languaging.

But the Yoruba moral language still manages to name evil.  Philosophically it is eemọ, it is eewọ. Eemọ and eewọ are expressions of the barbarity and extremity of evil, a complete violation of our moral perceptual space.  This moral intuition of eemọ and eewọ i.e., the extremity of evil is what citizen Ogunyemi Bukola was groping to   represent in the original tweet, which is about the unethical and immoral way President Jonathan’s media men have responded to Mrs. Ezekwesili’s moral challenge to the present administration.

In making this clear, I note that there is nothing morally savoury in Jesus sleeping with Mary.  It must be an eemọ, an eewọ the total and complete moral collapse of our humanity, our being.     Hence, the moral and faith content of citizen Ogunyemi Bukola’s tweet is not about Jesus our Lord, and neither is it about the divine Mary, the mother of our Lord through whom God became flesh for our sake. The barbarity of evil, the eemọ, and eewọ  in the original tweet are all about the evil being daily perpetrated under this administration against we the people of Nigeria.   Physical space does not permit us to re-itemize these serial evil acts.

Based on this, the response of the leadership of CAN under Messers Oritsejafor and Musa Asake, who have literally issued a “Christian” “fatwa” on Mr. El-Rufai,  is morally tragic and sad for us Christians, and for all of us as citizens.  A “Christian” “fatwa” is unchristian.  Therefore, Messers Oritsejafor and Asake’s ‘fatwa” reminds me of a sad event in December 1994 in our troubled nation. One day as the day rose sluggishly and reluctantly as if it had a moral premonition of a looming tragedy on the moral conscience of our dear nation, a group of “Muslims” in the city of Kano beheaded a citizen’s head. That citizen was Mr. Gideon Akaluka. His alleged offense was that he desecrated the Holy Book of Koran. The murderers of Citizen Gideon Akaluka on that sad day in Kano in 1994 could not be true Muslims for their act was unislamic. They could not be acting in the name of Islam. The action of a group of criminals cannot be used to define a religion. Thus the beheading of Mr. Gideon Akaluka was evil, it was eemọ. It was banal. It was  eewọ.   It was the extremity of evil.  Tragically, I do not see a moral difference between the sad process the CAN leadership under Mr. Oritsejafor and   Mr. Asake are building up and the barbaric and evil killing of Mr. Akaluka. If the killers of Mr. Akaluka were unislamic (as I believe that they were), the build up of Mr. Asake and Mr. Oritsejafor on Mr. El-Rufai is unchristian (as I believe it is)

Therefore, the positions of Mr. Asake and Mr. Oritsejafor’s CAN cannot describe the position and faith of Christians. The leadership of CAN under Mr. Oritsejafor and Mr. Asake needs a moral and faith re-think.  We should remember Gideon Akaluka. Remember him in your prayers. Do not Akaluka El-Rufai for El-Rufai has done nothing unfaithful or immoral. It is unethical to build up a sad and tragic process.   We must not live for ourselves but for HIM who made us and to who we shall return.

Adeolu Ademoyo ( aaa54@cornell.edu) is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.


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  • AlpaCINO

    Which right does El-rufai have to criticize? I don’t know why you Yorubas are joining forces with some malicious elements to bring this country to a standstill instead of being impartial. I know you believe that a non Yoruba is not good enough for anything but should you go this far because a minority is ruling and a non Yoruba is ruling?

    • Shola

      The stupid man is not a Yoruba nor Christian oh! He is a bastered of him self

  • ibrahim Musa

    Some dude just stays in the USA and writes Bunkum about CAN. The giy insists elRufai retweeted whereas those of us that use twitter knows that it was NOT an RT. ElRufai quoted and even laughed to hysteria…LWKMD.
    Let the author of this piece ask the Igbo Tailor in Bichi LGA of Kano who mis-pronounced the name of a fabric and 5 Christians were killed within 15 minutes for “blasphemy”…
    If the “joke” and “retweet” had been about the “other” prophet,…

  • Jessy Jack

    what would have been the justification of this piece if the word EL-RUFAI tweeted or re-tweeted was said about Mohammed. We all know by now NIGERIA would have been on fire. I believe u Adeolu Ademoyo not a xtian, U and i know the way Muslims react to this kind of issues, You not making any sense here if you intend to fly the flag Muslims. Do u remember how many people killed in 9ja For cartoon in Europe? b wise

  • Shola

    I’m very disappointed in u. U’re a Judas of d Christiandom. Beause of little money & recognition dt u want, u lost ur faith in God. When did Jesus turn 2 an object of dericision in ur life? Why can’t El-Rufai give bad jokes about Muhammed? By accusing CAN shows u’re a failed man.

    • Ayemi

      Shola, if some people are barbaric about their religion, why do you want to join them if you are a true Christian. Why do you want the devil to use ordinary tweet to destroy a whole country of more than 150m people? I think you know that faith is personal. It is between you and your God. We should not allow any corrupt church leader to mislead us. If you remember, there are issues going on among the CAN official presently on accountability. I leave this for you to find out.

      • Shola

        ER is an incarnate of devil & if faith is personal, will accusing my faith add value 2 ER life? He is just a Boko harram leader, killing bcuz of religion.

  • Pat

    A well written but tragically mixed up piece, in logical deduction. The thought process is beclouded by the general hatred for GEJ and love for El-Rufai. Having said that, I agree with this author that CAN was unacceptably hard on Malam El-Rufai for an offense that was not his, and that is if we agree that there was an offense! I also agree that I really cannot see an offense in these tweets as clearly outlined in the write-up. However, the CAN reaction did not originate from Pastor Oritshejafor and I wonder why this defender of El-Rufai should join issues with him. Secondly I cannot clearly define the relevance of Oby’s revelations and the poor response of the Presidency to the El-Rufai vs CAN issues. I think whoever reacted on behalf of CAN erred but that cannot in any way be traced to the immediate past President of CAN except one tries hard to see the Catholic – Pentecostal divide being presented under a guise here. For all of us, let him who think he standeth beware, lest he fall.

  • fred

    This article is a reply to Mr Adeolu Ademoyo’s publication on
    the controversy surrounding Mr El-Rufai re-tweet, and Christian Association of Nigeria
    (CAN) misrepresentation of his tweet. He argued that El-Rufai did not commit
    any offence. CAN should leave him alone and pursue a case if any against the
    original author of the tweet Mr Ogunyemi Bukola. I commend Mr A Ademoyo for his
    publication. I do not, however, agree with his premise that Mr El-Rufai did not
    commit any offence as he was not the original author of the controversial tweet.
    I would borrow Mr Ademoyo’s ‘tone’. I
    wish to state that I am a Christian. I have never met Mr El-Rufai or Mr Oritsejafor.
    I am not an employee of CAN, neither do I have any link to CAN. Fellow compatriots, we are highly aware that religious
    issues would always trigger debate in our politicized society. Hence, I would want
    readers to eyeshot Mr El-Rufai tweet from another neutral angle, ‘a
    contributing factor’. This hypothesis
    could be used as a banner of perspicacity.
    Objectively, did Mr El-Rufai re-tweet contribute negatively to the original
    tweet? The answer is yes. I will employ
    simple illustration to water down this theory for proficient reasoning to individuals
    who may wish to critique this article.

    There is a famous piece of advice which has stood the test of
    time as the cornerstone of knowledge. The origin is uncertain. Many have
    attributed it to Greek’s god of truth. Great philosophers have construed the
    advice differently. Plato for example, stated
    that we must cherish intellectual understanding of the true nature of things
    (for the mind is the true self). On assumption that the mind is the true
    self, when El-Rufai pushed that button to re-tweet, what was he thinking? We may
    not have any clue to the answer. Thales had said, nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe.
    This famous piece of advice is ‘know
    thyself’. Did El-Rufai know himself or know what the public perceived of him?
    The answer is no. El-Rufai forgot he has a public image. High profile people in
    any given society do not talk like parrots. Citizens expect certain threshold
    from public officers. I will habituate hypothetical scenarios to propel my
    argument. For instance, John told Tim that Peter is a thief, that he stole
    Raymond’s car two days ago. If Tim published that Peter is a thief referencing
    John as source of his information, Tim would still be liable for his actions. If
    the allegation proved to be fictitious, Peter has the locus standi to initiate
    proceedings against Tim to recover for damages thereof. Let’s flavour this from
    another recipe. Mr Ademoyo, you said you
    live in a small town in US. In your small town, there may be an alley where
    some people would obey the command of nature by urinating. The press or the
    community may pay less attention despite many people urinating at that spot.
    Assuming President Obama obeying the call of nature does same, (please with all
    due respect to Mr President, this is not in any way to ridicule him it’s just
    an illustration) what do you think will happen? It would be headline news all
    over the globe. Despite many people getting away with the same offense, it
    would be difficult for Mr President to get away with it easily because of his
    public image. In another example, if I tweet that ‘I hate Islam and Prophet Mohammed’
    (Peace be unto Him. I do not hate Islam. I’m only using this as an example as
    this articles borders on religious issues. I love Islam. Please readers do not
    make a meal out of this, read with open mind) What do you think would happen if
    any western leader or any of our southern state governor in Nigeria re-tweet my
    tweet without editing? Without doubts, this would cause chaos, lives will be
    lost and millions of property destroyed. Hitherto, another good example is the
    Prophet Mohammed (peace be unto Him) cartoon which was published in some
    countries. The original author of the carton did not matter.

    Based on the above illustrations, you would concur with me
    that El-Rufai re-tweet was not fair play. If we, of course, juxtapose the
    author of the original tweet to El-Rufai re-tweet, his re-tweet publicised the
    tweet. He is preying on Christians. You cannot exonerate him. Therefore, I
    opined that he acted in bad faith by republishing the tweet. There was a motive
    behind his tweet. I wish to assume that his is a devoted Muslim. Supposedly, one
    of the fundamental rules of every religion is to uphold morality and
    civilization. These fundamental religious rationales eluded him. If this tweet
    had anything to do with Islamic faith, will he re-tweet? The answer is no,
    because he would deem it blasphemous. In Nigeria, religious disturbances are
    not a new occurrence. As we are aware Boko Haram have been terrorising northern
    Nigeria. We have lost many innocent lives, what have El-Rufai said regarding
    the menace? No condemnation on records. He is, nevertheless, making a mockery
    of the Christian faith with his animalistic Islamism. His re-tweet is a
    contributing factor to the wide reactions to the tweet. That makes him a
    culprit. Even if, I would like to accept your line of argument that El-Rufai
    was only trying to emphasise on trending allegations by Oby Ezekwesili on
    Nigerian government mismanagement of the public funds. His position on
    corruption in Nigeria is like kettle calling pot black. According to Aeschylus
    a famous Greek play writer who is also known as the ‘Father of Tragedy’ he said
    that, in war, truth is the first tragedy.
    We are mindful that wars are fought and won on propagandanism. Socrates once
    said, I was really too honest a man to be
    a politician. El-Rufai has been so critical of the governments lately, we
    have to smell in depth and ask ourselves, what is he really up to? Probably he
    is perfecting his way to Aso Rock. He has now become the mouth piece of
    Nigerians craving for justice or the long awaited messiah to redeem our beloved
    country. I have a little advice for him, he should memorise this saying, the
    English do not remember and the Irish do not forget.

    I’m not, therefore, advocating for corruption. Simply put, I
    hate corrupt leaders to my marrow. Their actions are vile to me. I wish that
    Nigeria could toe the path of Rawlings of Ghana. We need a thorough clean-up of
    our political class. He was one of the cabals that have cases to answer. In the
    words of Giovanni Boccaccio those who preach, do as we say not as we do. Edward Young once said, procrastination is the thief of time. He
    is using this current criticism of the government to lure the public into
    forgetting his atrocities. Although, I do understand that he apologised to
    CAN’s leadership. He was not, however, coerced to re-tweet; he did it out of his
    free will. Gautama Buddah once said, we
    are what we think. El-Rufai is not stupid he knew the consequences of his
    action. Ignoring all odds, he went ahead and did the damage. His apology seems an
    admission of guilt.

    Nonetheless, as a Christian our religion or faith does not
    teach us revenge, rather the bible teaches us to love our enemies. CAN
    leadership should not sue El-Rufai even if they deem it fit. Let’s leave God
    battle for God. All he need is prayers for his repentance from his evil ways. May
    God (Allah) bless Nigeria. Amen.

    Note: Views expressed in this article are
    personal. It is a reply to Mr Adeolu Ademoyo article, it could use for
    educational purposes. Please read with open mind. Thanks.


    Egwu F