PRESS STATEMENT: Christmas, A Season of Hope, Peace and Joy – CAN President

I rejoice with all Christians in Nigeria and of course all over the world at this season of Christmas, the season when God became man to live among us in order to redeem us from all our sins and eternal death. My prayer is that nothing would steal from your joy of this season in the name of Jesus Christ. (John 1: 14)

Let us remember that the devil is a deceiver and what we are passing through presently in Nigeria might not be what would cause us to rejoice! Of course, what we are currently passing through may not give anybody hope of tomorrow humanly speaking unless those in power are more decisive and God intervenes for us. We are experiencing insecurity everywhere, most especially, the kidnapping, wanton killings and destructions of facilities here and there by the criminals in our midst, the insurgency in the northeast, the northwest and the north central of Nigeria, just to mention a few are terrible things of great concern. They do not give us joy at all humanly speaking. However, we need to remember that part of the purposes of the birth of Jesus Christ is to give hope to the hopeless and deliver us from sin and those who hate us. He came to set the captives free.

The Bible says in 1Peter 1: 3-4 thus:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,”

Peter’s letter really was to a people who were hopeless, otherwise, he wouldn’t have attached hope in Christ to his message.

My message to all Nigerians is to remain hopeful in Christ Jesus and rejoice in hope no matter what the situation we are passing through may be. Our Father God can turn all situations around in Christ Jesus because as God, he can do all things. He is our Way-maker and he would make way for us in the name of Jesus.

I urge you to receive Jesus as the Lord over your life today, share the message of the saving power of Jesus with others who do not know him and show love in a practical way to someone around you. Let us through the love of Christ embrace one another irrespective of religious, ethnic and political differences. Let us be reconciled to God and to one another. Let all the killings, the kidnapping of our fellow brothers and sisters and all other acts of wickedness stop because God is going to judge these acts on the day of judgement.

At this season of Christmas, I plead with those at the corridor of power to use it to bring relief and joy to the citizens of this country. It is the good you have done now that people would remember tomorrow. Please, let us lessen the pains of Nigerians by paying more attention to their well-being in the prompt payment of workers salaries and pensions to the pensioners. Let all things be done to reduce the high cost of things in the market and let enabling environment be created for employment of our youths who are roaming the streets having no job.

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I plead with all Nigerians not to let off their guards on Covid-19 protocols. The world has entered the fourth phase of the pandemic and it is spreading faster than other phases. Please, wherever you go, especially in public places such as markets and churches, wear your masks and keep all the safety protocols. 

I pray that none of us would die untimely in the mighty name of Jesus.

Once again, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy and very prosperous New Year 2022 in Jesus’ name.

Signed.

Rev. Dr. Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle

President, Christian Association of Nigeria &

Co-Chairman, Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC)

23 December, 2021.

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No Christian Should Be Killed in Zamfara – CAN Warns

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the security agencies in the country to leave no stone unturned in their protection of all churches in Zamfara State in order to prevent the terrorists from carrying out their threats against Christians.

The State Police Command has reportedly confirmed that a threat letter was sent to the Christians in the state asking them to stop worship and to close down churches or risk their violent attacks. We also learnt that it was the Police that even informed the state chapter of the Association about the threat.

We know that all kidnappings and other criminalities being perpetrated in the North western part of the country are the handiwork of terrorists who either migrated from the North-East or those who were released under the purported rehabilitation programme of the Federal government.
Now that a Federal High Court has labelled those criminals terrorists, we call on the Police, the military authorities and other security agencies to rise up to the challenge of the terrorists who have turned kidnapping into the biggest business venture in the geopolitical zone.

The way and manner by which our security agencies have been handling those criminals is totally unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented. Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations and they should be treated as just. We also call on the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police to Investigate those who are speaking for the terrorists with a view to unmasking their sponsors and beneficiaries of their criminalities.

The leadership of the national Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in our recent visit to Sokoto and Kebbi states was alarmed, surprised and shocked by the record of those criminals who are killing and kidnapping with impunity in the area as if there was a pact between them and the security agencies. Now that both the leaderships of Christianity and Islam in the country are working together on how to stop their criminalities in the North-West, they are now trying to introduce divisive ways by declaring war against Christians and churches in the zone especially in Zamfara State where they are gradually turning into their strongholds.
We have no problem with Islam or with our Muslim  brothers and sisters but with the handful fanatics and their financiers who have declared war against Christianity. We appeal to all peace loving Muslims to speak against those who are painting Islam what is not.

We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction any Commissioner of Police or Zonal Police Commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers operate in the country henceforth. This will go a long way in reducing the menace as we are approaching the Yuletide season. We have never had it this bad. We also call on the Federal government to refund all the ransom paid for the release of those who were abducted in the last five years. We reiterate our quest for the State Police in order to reduce the security burden on the Federal government controlled Police. The Police has been overwhelmed with the menace of insecurity in the country.
President Buhari should also direct the Police to arraign all suspected kidnappers, bandits and terrorists in their custody with a view to stopping those who are perpetrating the atrocities. Failure to do this will force the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to ask our members to embrace the principle of self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised.

Up till today, the perpetrators of the genocide in the Southern Kaduna are still walking freely despite the killings of hundreds of our members. We cannot be reduced to refugees in the country that belongs to us again.

Finally, we call on all Christians and peace loving Muslims to pray against their threats and for our security agencies to be able to stop all criminalities in the country. Enough is enough.

Signed
Barr Joseph Bade Daramola,
CAN’s General Secretary.
1 December, 2021.

CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA SAPPHIRE (45TH) ANNIVERSARY AWARD/ DINNER NIGHT

The Christian Association of Nigeria as part of celebration to mark her SAPPHIRE (45TH) ANNIVERSARY, organized an Award/Dinner Night to celebrate and honour deserving individuals who had and are still contributing their God-giving potentials towards the advancement of Christianity in Nigeria and Christ’s Kingdom in General.

Official Anniversary Logo for SAPPHIRE (45TH) CAN DAY CELEBRATION

The event which was held at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, was a successful convergence of high powered dignitaries and leaders from the Christian domain, Political sphere, Business and even the social domain. The event was graced by the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo GCON; The President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle (host), The SGF, Barr. Boss Mustafa; Distinquish Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Church Leaders; and a host of highly respected men and women within the Christian faith.

Held on the 25th of September, 2021, the well attended event saw the presentation of Awards of Excellence categorized in different categories such as: Governance, Fathers of Faith, International Ecclesiastical Achievers, Business/ Professionals, Spoke Persons for the oppressed, Young Christian Achievers Award, and a Special Recognition award.

Find the list of Awardees below:

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, receiving an Award of Excellence from the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle
Watch Highlighted visuals of the SAPPHIRE (45TH) ANNIVERSARY Awards/Dinner Night of the Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN)

CATEGORY: GOVERNANCE

  1. His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo GCON (Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria)
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, addressing the audience.
  • His Excellency, General Yakubu Gowon GCFR (Former President of Nigeria)
  • His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, Ph.D (Former President of Nigeria)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR (Former President of Nigeria)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom (Executive Governor of Benue State.)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Dave Umahi (Executive Governor of Ebonyi State.)
  • His Excellency, Barr. Nyesom Wike (Executive Governor of Rivers State)
Owelle Rochas Okorocha making a remark during the event
  • His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun (Executive Governor of Ogun State)
  • His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong (Executive Governor of Plateau State)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Udom Emmanuel (Executive Governor Akwa Ibom State)
  • His Excellency, Darius Ishaku (Executive Governor of Taraba State)
  • His Excellency, Sen. Douye Diri (Executive Governor of Bayelsa State)
  • His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma (Executive Governor of Imo State.)
  • Barr. Boss Mustafa (Secretary to the Government of the Federation)
  • His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Former Speaker, House of Representatives.)
  • His Excellency, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege (Deputy Senate President of Nigeria)
Barr Boss Mustafa, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Receiving and award of excellence from the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle
  • His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha (Senator Representing Imo West Senatorial District.)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Peter Odili (Former Governor of Rivers State)
  • His Excellency, Dr. Andy Uba
Rev. Dr. Kayode Williams receiving his award from Barr. Ogemudia Omonuwa

CATEGORY: FATHERS OF FAITH

  1. His Grace, Archbishop Dominic Ignatius Ekandem  (Former CAN President (Post-Humous Award)
  • His Eminence, (Dr.) Sunday Coffie Mbang (Former CAN President)
  • His Grace, Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie (Former CAN President)
  • His Lordship, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola (Former CAN President)
A cross Section of Dignitaries with the President of CAN (Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle and The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo GCON)
  • His Grace, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan (Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja and Former CAN President)
  • His Eminence, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor (Former CAN President)
  • His Eminence, Pastor E. A. Adeboye (General Overseer, The Redeemed Christian Church of God)
  • Bishop David O. Oyedepo (General Overseer, Living Faith Church AKA. Winners’ Chapel)
  • Her Eminence, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi (Love Of Christ Generation, C&S Church.)
  • His Eminence, Pastor David Ibiyeomie (General Overseer, Salvation Ministries.)
  • His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Kanu Uche  (Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria)
Elder ‘Biodun Sanyaolu (Assistant General Secretary, CAN)
  • His Most Eminence Baba Aladura, Elder (Dr.) D. L. Bob-Manuel (Prelate, Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim & Seraphim)
  • Rev. (Dr.) William Okoye (Founder and General Overseer, All Christians Fellowship Mission)
  • His Eminence, Rev. Caleb Ahima (Vice President, Christian Association of Nigeria)
  • Engr. Samuel L. Salifu (Former General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria)
The General Secretary of CAN, Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade presenting an Award to his Predecessor, Engr. Samuel Salifu

CATEGORY: INTERNATIONAL ECCESSIATICAL ACHIEVERS

  • His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Vice President, World Baptist Alliance. Executive member, World Council of Churches. Central Working Committee Member, World Council of Churches Honourable President, Religion for Peace.
  • His Eminence, Archbishop Dr. Panti Filibus Musa, (President, Lutheran World Federation.)
  • Rev. (Dr.) Ezekiel Lesmore (Director, African Alliance Christian Council)
  • Rev. (Dr.) Ibrahim Yusuf Wushishi (Director, Peace and Diaconia for Africa, World Council of Churches.)

BUSINESS/ PROFESSIONALS

  • Apostle (Dr.) Folorunso Alakija Group Managing Director, Rose of Sharon Group
  • Rev. Yakubu Pam Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC)
  • Mr. Godwin Emefiele Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
  • Chief Arthur Eze CEO Atlas Oranto Petroleum
  • Chief Michael Adenuga GCON Founder, Globacom Nigeria.
  • Femi Otedola Founder/CEO, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd.
  • Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren Former DG, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
  • Priscillia Ekwueme Eleje First Female Director of Currency operations, Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • Prof. John Kennedy Okpara Former Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC)
  •  Sir Olusegun Adekunle Former Permanent Secretary, OSGF

Bishop STV Adegbite Presenting an Award.

CATEGORY: SPOKEMEN FOR THE OPPRESSED

  • His Lordship, Bishop (Dr.) Matthew Hassan Kukah Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto
  • Dr. Obadiah Mailafia Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria. (Post-Humous Award)
  • Rev. John Joseph Hayab Chairman, Kaduna State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
  • Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam Founder, Para-Mallam Peace Foundation
  • Barr. Femi Falana Human Rights activist

YOUNG CHRISTIAN ACHIEVERS AWARD

  • Leah Sharibu One of the abducted Dapchi School girls, who stood for her faith.
  • Maduafokwa, Egoagwuagwu Agnes   Best JAMB Candidate 2020, Scored 365
  • Miss Ogwubie Chikemzi praise Best 2020 WAEC Candidate in Nigeria
  • Master Monwuba Chibuikem Best 2021 JAMB candidate, Scored 358.

CATEGORY: SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD

A Special Recognition Award presented to Imam Abubakar Abdullahi. Presented by Rev. Yakubu Pam, Executive General Secretary of NCPC.
  • Imam Abubakar Abdullahi (Projected Value for humanity and projected Inter-Faith aid: Though a Muslim, Sheltered over 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi LGA, during an attack in that region.)
  • Mr. Ikenna Nweke (Projected honesty and Christian values: Returned found money and valuables in Japan.)

CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA AND NATION BUILDING

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

Since the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) believes that its mission as the watch person of the welfare of the society is a vital affair, it cannot help but be interested in politics. Despite this, it is essential to note that CAN is not and can never be a political organization and so CAN should never be seen as a political association, not simply because it was not so registered but more importantly, because it has in it fold people who hold diverse political opinions. CAN believes that it ought to respect those different shades of opinions, if it is to preserve its integrity as a united entity. The best that it can do is to educate its members on the political goings on in the country. Let us examine CAN’s mission in relation to its conception and interest in Nigerian politics.

CAN believes that it is duty bound to pray regularly for the nation ceaseless prayers are needed for those who wield power or authority in the Nation, realizing that power is a delicate instrument and that the art of governance is very difficult. CAN often calls on Christians and other well-meaning people in the country to observe period of prayers and fasting during which supplications should be offered to God, who alone can endow our Leaders with necessary wisdom. Without such divinely given wisdom, our Government cannot rule righteously. It is righteousness alone that can exalt a Nation and bring genuine and lasting peace to the Nation. These prayers for our Nation and our rulers are necessary ingredient of the mission of CAN.

Perhaps the most important political duty which can often performs and must never shirk, is its warning and prophetic function. Christianity preaches that the Church must assume a predicting and admonishing role. Whenever the inspired servants of God are making prophetic Statements, then kings, potentials and rulers must listen, in the overall interest and welfare of the society.

In this particular aspect of its political role in the society, CAN is constantly guided by the exemplary boldness of the early Apostles. If it was a question of choosing between obeying a man and obeying God, Peter and John made it unequivocally clear that they ought to obey God, rather than man. That Apostolic stand is also the stand of CAN. CAN also encourages Christians to be involved in seeking public offices to sanities the polity.

STRUGGLE FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE CHURCH AND CHRISTIANITY IN NIGERIA.

The frequent allusion to ‘Church’, ‘Churches’ member Churches presupposes the fact that CAN is aware that it is basically, fundamentally, intrinsically and essentially a Church founded or Church based, Organization. In other words no church no CAN!. Consequently, the primary, recurrent and ultimate objective of CAN is to the watch person of the welfare, in its totality, of the Church and the Christian Faith in Nigeria.

CAN usually takes prompt and appropriate action whenever there is any threat to the Christian Faith. In this regard, there is a record of numerous press statements and conferences through which the Association clearly makes the fact that the Christian Faith shall not be bargained away for any consideration CAN determined to continue to be ceaselessly alert over the welfare of the Church and the Christian Faith in Nigeria.

Christian Association of Nigeria

MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THE OBJECTIVES OF CAN.

For CAN to be able to carry out faithfully, its assignment of bringing all Nigerian Christians under one ecumenical umbrella, it has first, to ensure CAN’s internal unity. It must successfully wield together, the many Churches that are already within its fold. Unless there is such a strong, cooperative and ecumenical spirit in each of its 5 Church Groups, the task of making sure that “they all may be one” will become Herculean or even impossible. A strong team Spirit is therefore an indispensable prerequisite for a credible success of its mission.

However, this does not mean that CAN as a united entity must Lord it over its individual member Churches. Its mission does not imply tyranny over any Church or Church Group, within or outside its fold. Those who therefore expect CAN to dictate orders to its member Churches have some what misunderstood the unifying mission of CAN. CAN is NOT a mega Church!.

Perceiving that such dictatorial tendency is not impossible in view of the unfortunate love of power, which many human beings have, CAN has injected a clause in its constitution, which adequately protects the autonomy of each of the member Churches but which also demands collaborative Spirit of being a member Church of the Association.

INDEPENDENCE AND COOPERATION OF MEMBER CHURCHES.

Article 7 of CAN constitution states as follows:- “Each member Church shall be autonomous in its internal affairs, but may receive advice from the Association incase of dissension and sharp disagreement within its fold. Notwithstanding the autonomy, each member Church shall always be ready to cooperate into the other member Churches in order to ensure smooth running of the Association.

It should be noted that CAN does not believe that it has a mandate to weave all the Churches in the country to one single Church. CAN has never nursed the ambition of creating one single organic Church of Nigeria which will abolish all denominations or even other Ecumenical Groups. CAN believes that the variety of ways in which our creator manifests Himself ought to be an aduate guard to the kaleidoscopic variety of methods by which God’s creatures should worship Him and offer prayers to Him. Therefore the though that CAN is a grand/supper Church should be jettisoned. The member Churches should not misconcept the purpose for which CAN was founded.

It is precisely because CAN is not a Church and has no intention of becoming one that the building erected on the land given to it at Abuja by the Federal Government is named National Christian Centre. The word ‘National’ presuppose that it is owned by all Christian, no matter the denomination you belong to. The National Christian Centre is a physical symbol of our ecumenical unity, in keeping with CAN’s motto that they all may be one.

CONCLUSION: Nigeria Christians of all denominations should always give thanks to God for the existence of CAN and for the completion of the National Christian Centre, which is not only a pride to all Christians but a National Monument that all Nigerians should be proud of.

We give glory to God and sincerely appreciate all those who made its reality possible.

CAN, like other organization established by mortals, cannot satisfy all but we must we bear its seeming inadequacies. But we must pray that both now and in the future, that CAN may constantly remember that great and grand vision which was divinely given to those Church Leaders who founded such a stupendous “Ecumenical Umbrella” for all Nigeria Christians.

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