The Catholic Church of Nigeria yesterday temporarily withdrew its membership from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Their reason? That CAN under Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has been compromised. Also because of some uncouth statements by some Christian leaders, and the use of money in CAN elections and several court cases involving state chapters of CAN.
Spokesperson of the Church, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cornelius Omonokhua, said:
“You just can’t save people who are drowning, if you are drowning with them. CAN is being dragged into partisan politics thereby compromising the ability to play its true role as conscience of the nation and the voice of the voiceless. We will be happy if CAN leadership can show moderation. Common sense dictates that they do that.”
The Catholic church said they would review their withdrawal from CAN after the annual meeting of the Conference of Bishops in February.
Meanwhile CAN has reacted to CCN’s withdrawal, calling it good riddance. A rep accused the Christian denomination of arrogance, saying they were merely angry because the presidency of the association had moved to another bloc of the group.
Spokesperson for the 19 Northern chapters of CAN, Sunny Oibe, told Punch:
“There are some certain elements in the leadership of CAN led by Cardinal John Onaiyekan because he lost CAN Presidency to Oritsejafor who has a lot of achievements. 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 appendage of PDP and PDP themselves. They are known for double standards. A man of God should not be double speaking.”