The Catholic Church, in Nigeria has suspended relations with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The church said its decision to temporarily “pull out” of CAN, was informed by the national Christian body’s alleged undue romance with the Federal Government.
The Catholic Church added that it was suspending its relations with CAN because the body, under its present leadership, headed by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor was moving in a different direction from CAN’s laid down objectives.
CAN expressed indifference to the news. It said the Catholic Church was at liberty to leave the national Christian body. It blamed the Catholic Church’s action on the loss of CAN’s presidency to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
Also, a member of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Babafemi Ojudu hailed the Catholic Church for its decision to pull out of CAN. He urged others not comfortable with the leadership pattern in CAN to emulate the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church’s Director of Communication, Reverend Father Ralph Madu and the Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Monsignor Christopher Ajala confirmed their church’s severance of relations with CAN.
Madu said the Catholic Church in the country is still part of CAN, but the temporal withdrawal was just to settle their differences. Ajala, at a conference in Abeokuta said the decision was taken as a result of what the church termed as the undue closeness of the Christian umbrella body to government, especially at the national level.
The Public Relations Officer of the 19 Northern States of CAN and Abuja, Sunny Oibe also accused Catholics of arrogance. He spoke with reporters last night in Abuja.
There is no division in CAN and we are all speaking one language. There is no need for anybody to lose sleep over the threat by Catholics to pull out of CAN because without them CAN will still continue. The constitution of CAN makes provision that membership can be terminated by any group that is misbehaving or any group can also terminate their membership.
“Why is it that when Catholics were in the leadership of CAN, every bloc supported them but now because power has changed hands, they are threatening to pull out and causing confusion?”
“They have been agitating that the Presidency of CAN must come from the South. They are an appendage of PDP and PDP itself. They are known for double standards. A man of God should not be double speaking”, he said.
Oibe, who is also the spokesperson of the President of “Tarayar Ekklisiyar Kristi A Nijeriya (TEKAN )”, a conglomeration of 13 church groups in CAN, said Catholics should not mislead the public even if they want to pull out.
Oibe said: “Catholics have accused the present CAN leadership, led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of being pro-government. But if you look at the whole scenario, you will be able to find out who between Oritsejafor and Onaiyekan is closer to government”.
“The problem of Catholics is that they always display arrogance in knowledge. They don’t want to be under anybody but they want everybody to be under them. It doesn’t work like that because there is no seniority in CAN”, Oibe said.