By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.
Ambode was a child of necessity born by the demand of the Christian Association of Nigeria for a Christian Governor. But no consultations were made with CAN before Tinubu arrived at the choice of the Christian that will be the Christian Governor of Lagos!
The purpose of CAN’s demand was eventually defeated. Ambode’s benefit to CAN is not on record. He is a case study in loyalty to FAITH and fate as things turned out, his loyalty to his party was questioned in the midst of absolute disloyalty to the principle of FAITH at Lagos State Chapel. His wife’s encounter with the Chaplain and the drama that followed came handy when Tinubu was done with him and the party wanted him dusted and dropped in the political dustbin of history!
He was said to have prostrated to Tinubu several times when it became obvious that he will not be allowed to have a 2nd shot. A troubled Ambode rallied all persons of note. He approached his colleagues; other Governors to help him beg Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is on record that the APC Governors forum met Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his Abuja residence, led by their Chairman Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, his state partnership with Lagos in Agriculture is the sustaining strength of the brand; “Lake Rice”, “LA” from Lagos and “KE” from Kebbi. His chairmanship of the APC Governors’ forum combined with the partnership should do the magic, Ambode had thought!
Bagudu prostrated before Tinubu the kingmaker. But Ambode had eaten the forbidden fruit and he must pay for it. BAT gave no room to emotions and no sensitivity to sentiments. Their request was turned down, prostrations wasted. Akinwunmi Ambode was replaced with another Christian from the political Episcopal Church of Bourdillon, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu!
BAT will later face the challenge of his “buga” before APC Governors’ forum, but like a Master that he is in the game, he was able to turn the tide to his advantage when that would have stopped his presidential ambition!
The APC Governors refused to meet Tinubu who invited them to his Abuja residence and rather asked him to meet them at Kebbi State House, which he reluctantly obliged!
Tinubu went there, seeking their help and support the way Prof. Yemi Osinbajo did the day before.
The Governors are in control of the delegates that will vote in the primary.
One good turn they say deserves another, that is however not the case in politics, where interest per time determines the direction the pendulum should swing. Osinbajo looked like a good game, with a Christian/Muslim ticket. Tinubu’s request, therefore, opens the opportunity of a Muslim/Muslim ticket to the North and they dropped it before a man whose mind was long made up on a Muslim/Muslim with a pocket deep enough to accommodate northern Governors.
A recent report in the news gave an update on the nocturnal visit of BAT to the city of Ibadan where he met with the immediate past President of CAN before he handed it over to the new President. It was rumoured that Tinubu was led by a Bishop of the Methodist Church, who is also the CAN Chairman for Lagos State and doubles as National Director of Social Issues for CAN.
CAN campaigning for Tinubu?
In my previous article on Muslim/Muslim ticket, I called out individual members of CAN Exco on their partisanship. If the office that should coordinate negotiations with Candidates and their political parties is now the campaign manager of Tinubu in CAN, let it be on record that CAN is at a disadvantage. I am not against Tinubu as a person and nobody should be, but his Muslim/Muslim ticket particularly with the personality chosen as his Vice President is a threat to my most prized interest; faith! And CAN must not play politics with it, BAT should openly be given the opportunity to allay the fears of Christians in his ticket whatever they are.
It is a shame for anyone to say Tinubu deserves to be President because he gave CAN an acre of Land to build a secretariat. If those who are manning CAN can’t provide an office for the organization, then they should resign, we can’t be demanding competence from politicians while we are grossly lacking in the same. If CAN fails to see the collective interest of Christian as its reason for existence, then it is better dissolved. A situation where individuals are deep in partisan politics festering their nests and trading out our interest shouldn’t be further encouraged.
That a none member is picking the bill of CAN and sponsoring its project is an indictment on all Christian blocs that make up CAN! Some of the single largest land owners anywhere in Nigeria are Christian Organizations. They should teach CAN how to run her affairs independent of Government and stop tying herself to the apron of any Government in power!
Purpose of CAN
I need to challenge all Christians in Nigeria to Google “the purpose of CAN”, three purposes were enumerated in the order of their importance, I suppose:
1. To act as a liaison committee, by means of which its member churches can consult together and WHEN NECESSARY make a common statement and TAKE COMMON ACTION.
What necessary common statement does the continuous killing of Christians in Nigeria deserve from CAN?
What common action does the political and economical situation of Nigeria deserve from CAN in 2023?
2. To be a watchdog of the Spiritual and Moral welfare of the nation.
How watchful a dog has CAN been till the nation slipped into the abyss of terror that our once peaceful country is now in.
3. To Propagate the Gospel.
Our most important purpose is put in number 3, but it is our daily duty as individuals, as denominations and local Churches. This can be achieved with or without CAN.
Politics is what we can’t play as Denominations or local Churches, hence the need for CAN.
Tinubu and CAN’s demands
That Tinubu prostrated in Ibadan before whoever shouldn’t excite anyone. “Idobale ki se iwa”, and it shouldn’t be the yardstick for Christian support. It was further rumoured that Tinubu requested what CAN wanted which were listed and sent to him to sign through the same political zealot that led him to Ibadan. The issue is how is CAN sure that we won’t get a better deal with Atiku or Kwakwanso who has picked an Archbishop as his Vice. Why should it be concluded that Obi and Sowore or any of the candidates from smaller parties can’t give us a mouth-watering offer of respect for life and its protection? If we are worth our threat in the political space, the time to prove it is now!
The new leadership of CAN must be sensitive to the youths’ demand for a shift in leadership which is tending towards a revolution that has already challenged every status quo! The traditional influencers on social media are losing patronage, Prof. Wole Soyinka’s fraternal leadership of the Pirate Confraternity is torn apart by youthful members of the Group. The Priest at the African Shrine, Femi Kuti had reasons to fret and be worried recently.
The youths are no doubt terribly frustrated by successive Governments and particularly the present administration. Mob action should never be encouraged, but this movement doesn’t look like what the Youths will allow, social influence, religion, or tribe to scuttle.
The necessity for this revolution from turning violent doesn’t lie with the frustrated Nigerian students in our churches who have just been informed by ASUU that the strike is just beginning. As the saying goes; “those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable. It’s on us as leaders across all spheres to avert what stares us in the face through absolute maturity!
Dei! Dei! market treatment of a “Fake Bishop” should be a warning to all in cassock that these are no regular times! We have pushed our luck against the people for too long and we are right now at the precipice.
Like a responsible body, CAN should immediately disengage those who are in her camp that have shown biases to party or candidate, such persons should be offloaded now and the body should set up an unbiased committee that will give all candidates equal opportunities and a level playing ground as demonstrated by NBA. This, and not nocturnal meetings should be the approach of CAN!
We have 5 months before the election, there is enough time for any candidate or party to work with analytical tools to change the direction of the dynamic movement of the youth, we just must not stand in their way, but get in front of them to provide leadership.
The greatest need of Nigerian youth is leadership, not politics and if we as the church won’t rise to the occasion of providing it, we will pay dearly for it.
A word they say is enough for the wise, wisdom has no emotions and sense, no sentiments, this season will tell how wise Christians are by the room we give to emotions in deciding who is best for us in the face of obvious genocide that southern Borno and Kaduna are confronted with, which today are rearing their heads in Owo, Ondo State, South West Nigeria. This, coupled with rising cost of living is the trigger shooting the trouble that youth movement has become everywhere!