CAN leadership: Christian group condemns Cardinal Okogie for criticising Oritsejafor

Former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Olubunmi Okogie. Image courtesy: Linda Ikeji

A group, the Christians United Against Boko Haram, on Sunday in Abuja attacked a former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Olubunmi Okogie, for criticising the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor.

The relatively unknown group asked Mr. Okogie, a Cardinal, to “be mindful of his words and avoid being used by enemies of the Body of Christ”.

Mr. Okogie had in an interview with the New Telegraph newspapers said the current CAN president had “fallen from grace to grass,” after it was confirmed that Mr. Oritsejafor’s private jet was used to ferry $9.3 million in cash to South Africa.

Mr. Oritsejafor has admitted owning the jet, but said it was managed by a private company who leased it to another company.

The money has been seized by South African authorities, who said bringing such cash violated the nations laws.

In what can be considered the most scathing criticism of a much maligned CAN leadership under Mr. Oritsejafor, Mr. Okogie said, “CAN leadership today is zero. CAN has no leader.”

“Thank God you are talking to one of the founders of CAN, and I was there as their leader for eight years. Then, the whole country knew that CAN had a leader, not by my own might, but by God.

“Because what we were doing then, we had only one voice. But the problem we have now is that people are struggling for power in unrighteous way. And because he is struggling for power, he can do little or nothing,” Mr. Okogie added.

But in its criticism of the Catholic cleric, the Christians United Against Boko Haram warned that “those who live in glass houses should not throw doyens at the undeserving”.

The statement was titled “Okogie: Those who live in glass Houses”, and signed by Olusola Oyedokun, a deacon and Executive Secretary of the group.

Mr. Oyedokun said Mr. Okogie’s attack on the integrity of the current CAN President was hypocritical and unbecoming of a man of his personality. He expressed disappointment that Mr. Okogie could compare his tenure to that of Mr. Oritsejafor.

“As CAN President under whom a secular Nigeria was taken to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Okogie has very little moral grounds to stand on to attack the integrity of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor whose name invokes apprehension in those who wish to entrench one religion over the other in Nigeria.

“We are surprise(d) at Okogie for criticizing Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor for opening a University and wonder whether Cardinal Okogie considers education as Haram. To recall that if opening universities was wrong, then the Catholic Church has participated in the wrong doing by being behind Madonna University. It is double standards for Cardinal Okogie to close his eyes to Madonna University and attack Pastor Ayo’s University.”

Mr. Oyedokun, son of a former Deputy National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Shuaib Oyedokun, urged Mr. Okogie not to act on rumour regarding the $9.3 million scandal.


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