Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
New leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Kaduna state said it will “no longer condone Kaduna state government’s excesses” of insulting Christians and give Christianity all kinds of bad names for cheap political gains.
The new chairman of CAN, Kaduna state, Reverend Joseph Hayab, made the explosive statement during his inaugural speech on Thursday at Kaduna CAN secretariat, saying he wouldn’t mind telling them that “they insulted our own” and go to jail, saying, “Christians will not vote him for second term.”
According to him, Christians from Southern Kaduna massively voted for him during the 2015 election, contrary to his recent statement that the people in the geographical area did not vote for him.
Hayab, who was furious, while delivering his acceptance speech as the new chairman of CAN, said that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has also subjected Nigerians to sufferings and poverty, and Nigeria deserves the right to vote the right and credible leadership for the country in 2019.
He said, “I will champion our members not to vote for a wicked leader, if he is ungodly. In this country that we live, they have decided to put their people to fill all positions. It happened in JAMB, NUC and other arms of government. As a leader, I will continue to speak to the authority, whether he is wicked; I will not mind to speak the truth.”
“What I know about this country, no one can come and lie to me anymore and no one can intimidate me anymore. In CAN, we all belong to different political parties; but, we must be allowed to vote for good leaders instead of wicked leaders, who would want to destroy our country. If your candidate is wrong, we will tell you.”
Reverend Hayab argued that “CAN will remind government and its agencies that the principles of equity and fairness are not negotiable for the people of a just society, particularly in this Kaduna state. CAN needs understanding of all Christians to vote for credible leaders.
“Time has come in this state, that, we must tell leaders that we are not ignorant. We were able to sustain peace in Kaduna for 9 years. From November 22, 2002, we never had crisis again, until November 2011 because of post-election violence. So, we were able to sustain it; and what we are doing now is to start another warfare, madness that we can start to manage for another 12-15 years. And someone came out to say that even when we were working together, that was no peace. That person is a liar.”
“We will tell them the truth. I’ll not even mind going to jail, if we would tell them that they have insulted and assaulted our own. I want them to know that they never came to power in 2015 on their own; we voted them to power; and if the governor says we Christians never voted for him, he is a liar. Christians voted this government to power. Christians made him governor, and because he is an ingrate or because there is no fear of God in him – and I have told him that face-to-face – that, we voted for him.”
The clergy maintained that, “I have always used Jama’a local government area as an example, where total votes in 2015 was 82,000 votes; the party in power then got 39,000. No one should come out and start feeding people with lies; some of us know the truth.
“I can tell you people in power that at the time people are suffering in Nigeria, instead of winning people you are dividing people – Instigating Christians against Moslems. I know that I have a lot of Moslems in Kaduna state and they are not in support of this nonsense. People, who are using divisive methods, are doing it for themselves and not for Moslems.”
Meanwhile, chairman of Northern CAN, Reverend Yakubu Pam, commended the election of Hayab as the Association Chairman in the State, saying that “at this time of the history of our country and Kaduna state, we need people like him to steer the leadership of CAN here.”
In his address, Governor El-Rufai’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, who represented the governor, said that the doors of the government are wide open to the officials of CAN for any useful advice to improve the affairs of the state.
He advised the new leadership of the Association to come with constructive ideas that will move the state forward, while pledging government’s willingness to support the Christian body in the state.
Among other dignitaries that attended the occasion were former National Secretary of CAN, Yusuf Salifu, as well as Moslems and other Christian leaders.