The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Supo Ayokunle, has berated Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State over the hijab controversy.
Reverend Ayokunle faulted the Kwara governor on the insistence on the use of hijab in schools in the north-central state.
He stated this while speaking on Sunday at a thanksgiving service in honour of Bishop Wale Oke as the newly elected president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
The CAN president said he told the governor that his action suggested that he was fuelling tension and acrimony which could result in bloodshed between Christians and Muslims in Kwara State.
Speaking further, Ayokunle stated that CAN had to convince Christians not to fight back in spite of increasing attacks on them.
Addressing Oke, he said, “This is an intimidating assignment but the Lord will help you. When I was elected the President of Baptist, I went to Baba Obasanjo. He said, ‘My President, I hope you have not come here to ask me to carry your burden. Everybody will bear his burden. All of us here can only share the burden by praying with you. He said the problem that you may face don’t take it to Obasanjo but to God. He is the burden bearer.’
“You have to constantly speak against and proffer solutions to the insecurity in Nigeria.
“The way the issue of insecurity is being handled in Nigeria suggests that those in power don’t know what to do again. They give assurances, but it seems they don’t have the things to bring the assurances to pass. It is only God. One time, we were to have our convention in Abuja and some people suggested that I should contact the chief security officer whether it was safe to have our convention in Abuja. The chief security officer said, ‘My Lord spiritual, it is you we are looking up to.’ I felt ashamed of myself. The security agents don’t have the power of revelation that you have.
“You have to speak against insecurity and as you speak against it, people would hate you. Especially the leaders that are struggling and don’t know the way out again. They will take you as an enemy. You will be faced with difficulty of religious tension. Like what happened in Kwara State, I have been privileged to have a private meeting with the governor of Kwara State in the presence of the Vice President and the CAN chairman in Kwara State. I told the governor ‘that anyone who does not want bloodshed of anybody – either Christians or Muslims – would not make the kind of pronouncement that you made.’ We are to respect constituted authority but we are not to shy away from the truth.
“There is madness in Christians as well. It took me time for us to convince the people against fighting back. Those in authority should be very careful. Skewed appointments are polarising us as a people. Nigeria is a plural society and everybody has a right that should be respected. Our democracy should be a home grown democracy that would recognise diversity. I once challenged the National Judicial Commission on the appointment of judges. You appointed 13 judges from the north and seven from the south. That is an insult. We cannot continue like this.
“Everybody must be given a sense of belonging if we must continue to do pilgrimage together. As a Christian leader, you need to speak truth to power. Every day I wake up, I say God you have deducted one day from my leadership assignment. It is very challenging.”