In a sense he has just confirmed that he is a typical human being in government. Being in government does not necessarily quality one to be a leader. Yesterday, my attention was drawn to a Facebook post by Adesina and I couldn’t believe his misplaced attacks on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
In one of his reactions, he said: ‘Rev Andimi was not killed solely because he was a Christian. Those evil people kill anyone they lay their filthy hands on.’ How does this statement make sense when in actual fact Rev Andimi was captured and killed because of his Christian faith? It’s ridiculous that he could say something like this when it’s so obvious even BH has left no one in doubt except those who are their apologists.
I will like to lay out my quick reflection as follows:
- Without joining issues with Adesina but based on objective reading of his write up. I thought, if he truly meant well and not just trying to ridicule Barr Kwamkur the CAN Legal Director and CAN Leadership, why did he not tell Nigerians or CAN what his Oga patapata did to secure the release of late Rev Lana Andimi? Does CAN and indeed Nigerians deserve to know or not? This would have been far more positive than such self-serving defense of the government and uncalled for attacks against CAN at a time when the government should be condoling not only Rev Lawan’s family but the leadership of CAN. Too much hypocrisy dey for government door step o!
- His crocodile tears notwithstanding, he suggests that he is mourning Andimi not because he is a clergy but a human being. Yes, we are all human beings but Andimi was specifically picked because of his Christian faith and the leadership role he plays in the Church. Without producing more lies and false narratives, let Adesina confirm that this isn’t the case by proving otherwise. If he so deeply cares, why doesn’t he confirm to the world that Andimi was eventually killed even ransom payment was agreed, because of his refusal to convert to a Muslim?
- Andimi’s refusal to convert to Islam is worth celebrating as an act of courage and dogged commitment to Christ. The Federal government should be praising this godly virtue. If Adesina claims as he tries to show that he is such a follower of Christ, why did he not celebrate Andimi for dying as a martyr on his Facebook page? Isn’t Adesina showing more by his action that he is serving his earthly master above the heavenly Master?
- Governments lie a lot, even in the Bible, we see and know that this is true. Even the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was given a different narrative by the then government of the day in Palestine. This narrative was anchored on bribery and corruption. That government sent out a story – all a lie, which suggested that the disciples of Jesus came and ‘stole’ his body and therefore there was no resurrection. In fact, Adesina’s not so convincing arguments just reminds me of what a government apologist would typically do. Hitler’s Germany never had a short supply of such apologists.
- Adesina’s characterization of CAN is consistent with what this government does – they get some low-level officers who are Christians to answer issues related to the Church and get top government people who are Christians to ridicule the Church. Those doing these dirty jobs may or may not be aware that they are doing the bidden of the big power boys in government. They will find out sooner that they are in essence not only undoing themselves but also doing harm – as they are being used to inflict wounds on the same Church they claim to belong.
- He also points to the Chief of Naval staff and Chief of Defense staff as two Christians in government and that the CDS is a Pastor in RCCG. Yes of course they are and what is that practically supposed to mean? The CDS from what I hear is a very hard-working, quiet and descent man and committed to his job professionally. Therefore, my immediate reaction is simple: For how long have the Chiefs of Army, Airforce, Customs, Immigration, Minister of Defense, National Security Adviser, DSS, Police IG, been there in their offices? Adesina is talking about 2 Christians verses 8 Muslims (not to mention heads of Parastatals and Ministers) and a Muslim President. By the government sustaining this arrangement and not paying attention to the criticisms trailing the security architecture, what is the government communicating internally and externally? Is it only the Northern Muslims that have the answers to our present security concerns or we are being suffocated with the tyrannical syndrome of the majority complex? The point is there is a need to make such appointments reflect our multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity as a nation. This is needed for the sake of our national cohesion. More so some of those appointments have gone on for over 4 years now. Some of these appointments deserve a careful review and radical changes made. We all are not ready to be fooled by what the likes of Adesina have to say. If he is blinded because of the trappings and temporary deceit of power, let him know that we are NOT!
- How interesting that Adesina reminded us that bombs are now no longer go off ever-so often. Well, yes, that fact needs to be accepted but are we now supposed to roll out the drums to celebrate this government? Was CAN’s reference to security-focused only on bombings? If the government wants to be praised for reduced bombings, I cannot fault them but Adesina cannot use that to deny that this fact, our security is still far from where it ought to be and there is truly nothing to cheer about. No frequent bombings but kidnappings and killings by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen have become the highest insecurity concern in this country today. The kidnappings and killings have dramatically increased since this government came into power. Adesina are you suggesting we should just keep quiet because bombings have reduced and started singing praises of this government and job well done in the area of security? No responsible government would argue in this manner. The fact is this, our security has worsened in other areas since when this government came into power.
- He likes us to believe that the majority of Christians have moved away from the narrative in which Christians felt that they are being marginalized. There is nothing further from the truth. Christians do not only feel that they are marginalized, they actually feel excluded and left also to be killed by Boko Haram and the bandits. Is this not an intentionally narrative this government is pushing? Remember that the leadership of CAN visited President Buhari when he won re-election. CAN offered him advice on the political appointments and the need for balance – what did CAN get out of this? Attacks as somewhere were suggesting that CAN is now turning into a political party. Is Buhari’s government an exclusive Muslim government which only doles out tokenism political appointments to Christians? Let Adesina proof us wrong with facts to show how government appointments are today in Nigeria rather take advantage of state power to ridicule or seek to silence the Church.
- Adesina went further to say that CAN is now turning into a political party. What doublespeak or cowardice. Yet, Muslim groups like Meyatti Allah can make statements and it’s okay but not Christian groups and their parent body – CAN. When Obasanjo was in power between 1999-2007, didn’t Muslims cry out loud for being marginalized especially over the composition of the National Conference? Forgetting so soon that they have monopolized power for years under the guise of the military rule until 1999. Are we interested in the truth in this nation as we seek engagement in meaningful, productive and effective conversations on Nigeria? Let’s not forget that when this government came into power, only Boko Haram was a major security concern. All that has now changed as Boko Haram has metastasized into two deadly factions which are ferocious in their targeted profiling and attacks on Christians. The Fulani herdsmen militia has become the third destabilizing group after the Boko Haram factions. The Fulani herdsmen militias have also wasted the lives and resources of many Nigerians. They too have targeted Christians with ferocious intensity. Should CAN and Christians all keep quiet and continue to watch helplessly? CAN must not be cowed – the game of deceit is over. Must we all follow Buhari to our graves? Must we watch as we see the grave of the Church in Nigeria being dug and we pretend things are okay because of the likes of Adesina who said ‘nobody can wish Christianity away from Nigeria.’ My take that is not new. Before Adesina came to Abuja as a spokesperson for Buhari, Christians have endured persecution in this country. He needs to know that we will not bow now. The only message the government has now is their demonstration of the ability to protect the lives of Christians and indeed all Nigerians regardless of religious affinity and ethnic nationality, stop the attacks and end the killings. President Buhari boasted that he will do so once he gets into power in 2015. It’s now 5years on, we are worst off for as long the security lives keeps deteriorating. The likes of Adesinas from inside Aso Rock and outside can keep singing their love song for political power and continue defending their political masters, but for us, we have no love song until the killings end! Adesina knows too well that before him, there was one Chukwumerije who did it even more professionally than during the Abacha dark years yet those years came to an end. To Adesina, the megaphone in Aso Villa, I say, this too shall pass away. God Still Reigns and has the FINAL SAY!!! On a personal note, I have tried to reason and make sense of what this government is doing and I am left with more doubts than clarity. I have no problem in praising them if they did what is good but acknowledging something good they have done, does not remove the fact that ending the violent attacks and killings in Christian communities remains non-negotiable. We will not be silenced until the killings stop and justice pursued for all Nigerians. Not until then, it is extremely hard to see this government as one representing the interest of all the citizens this country and as the Russians would say, NYET for NO!
- Adesina dodged saying anything about the release of Leah Sharibu and others innocent captives – especially the new 20-year-old Lilian Daniel Gyan, a young University of Maiduguri student from Plateau State – kidnapped on January 9th 2020, or did he? Yet he can mourn Rev Andimi? What is he communicating by this singular omission? In fact, I am tempted to think that he really didn’t set out to mourn Andimi but he simply got into his Facebook page and lampooned CAN but pretending to be mourning Andimi. When was Andimi brutally murdered? When did Adesina get to know? When did he go public with his hypocritical mourning? What a shame! I see this as hypocritical and shameful because mourning Andimi and attacking the Church doesn’t square up.
In conclusion, The President’s statement of condolence message to the Christian community all over Nigeria, the government and people of Adamawa, and Andimi’s family on January 21st, 2020, makes far more sense and Adesina should have just kept quiet and build in a positive sense on it. Sadly, he misfired and went negative.
His suggestion however, CAN should not use condolence messages to raise other issues is in a way sensible. But he himself did the direct opposite by using his ‘condolence’ message or whatever he calls it to get even with CAN. Let’s all learn from it. A condolence message should remain a condolence message and matters arising can be brought out separately. But his descending to the low level of attacking CAN is totally unacceptable from someone who sees himself also as a Christian.
The habit of Christians in Government allowing themselves to be so cheaply used is part of our problem. I do not believe they speak honest truth to power in so doing. They are in fact misleading those in power and only playing safe. Sometimes they even come across as ‘being more Catholic than the Pope!’ The likes of Adesina should produce results by bring Leah Sharibu and all others home.
Or are they including our President also helpless on this issue of their release but they are so strong when it comes to attacking those who disagree with them? More shame!!!
The Revd Gideon Para-Mallam
Christian Leader/Advocate for Peace and Social Justice
January 28th, 2020