Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Pastors With Private Jet: Christian Groups Launch Counter-Attacks

As materialism encroaches on the Nigerian Christian church, the Concerned Northern Nigerian Christians (CNNC) has dismissed the reaction of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to last weekend’s criticism by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, saying that Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the CAN President, cannot match Bishop Kukah in integrity and morality.

Pastor Oritisejafor recently received the gift of a private jet from his congregation as an anniversary gift, the latest of several pastors in the country to take possession of a Jet.
Reflecting on the matter on Saturday, Bishop Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, said that the jet-setting new trend by Christian leaders diminishes the moral voice of the church in the fight against corruption.

Kukah made the remark as Guest Speaker at the annual Founder’s Day Anniversary lecture of Providence Baptist Church in Lagos, and squarely placed the new phenomenon side by side with Nigeria’s suffering under corruption.

“The stories of corrupt men and women being given recognition by their churches or mosques as gallant sons and daughters and the embarrassing stories of pastors displaying conspicuous wealth as we hear from the purchases of private jets and so on clearly diminish our moral voice,” he said, echoing similar remarks made recently by Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly.

Responding to those remarks, Elder Sunday Oibe, the National Director of Research, Planning and Strategy of CAN, suggested that both religious leaders might have something against Pastor Oritsejafor, and were merely hiding under the cloak of the gift of a jet to attack him.

Oibe, who is also the Public Relations Officer of the Northern branch of CAN, said: “If there is any clergyman in the country whose constituency is government, it is Bishop Kukah, who served every government in power in the last decade,” he said in the phone interview with a newspaper. “He thinks people have forgotten in a hurry how he served in Obasanjo’s government and turned round to attack the former president, or his fraternity with the former Governor James Ibori and his Rivers State counterpart, Peter Odili.”

Reacting to those remarks, CNNC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Yahuda Peter, that Elder Oibe’s statement confirmed fears that the “honest, unifying and most coveted CAN” and its true ideals as carefully laid down by its founding fathers Ambassador Jolly Tanko Yusuf, Cardinal Ekandem and many others are under attack.

“Though built with integrity and an earnest quest for genuine freedom amongst Christians, it’s ridiculous how it is being turned into a mere child’s play and a medium for wild gains best known to the likes of Mr. Oibe and his pay masters.

“Mr. Sunday Oibe embarked on a voyage of cheap black mail that exposes his ignorance on the person of Bishop Kukah. Bishop Kukah never served in Obasanjo’s government but was only a member of an Adhoc Human Rights Investigation Panel, popularly known as Oputa Panel, akin to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. That Tutu chaired South African Commission and has been friends of Mandela for decades; does that mean he served in ANC’s government of Mandela?”

CNNC said that nothing in the past or the present has put Kukah’s integrity in doubt except for Oibe’s pay masters whose understanding of nation building, is opulence via a religious exploitation with Christianity as the epicentre and cover.

“It is the likes of Oibe and his master Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor that have a responsibility of exonerating themselves from the wrong side of Nigerian history in the hereafter, but for Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, it has been a life of service to God and Country and to God be the glory, it has been a life most worthy of emulation for all true lovers of God walking in integrity, conscience and saying the truth to power without any compromise.”
Hope this issue of owning private jet/materialism will not cause more harm than good to Christians in Nigeria.

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