accept and discard the unacceptable, regardless of the size of evidence to the contrary. We are like the man that says ‘My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts’. This total disregard for facts helps maintain our emotional erection, so we do everything to look away from the facts. Emotion is king, to hell with facts.
I have read so many think-pieces from so many who believe the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria should hang for this embarrassing $9.3million cash-for-arms. One of the most widely publicized of such pieces came from the Senate Minority leader, Senator George Akume, in which he maligned the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria and claimed he was speaking as a concerned Christian and a Knight of St John International (KSJI). But nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth being that Senator Akume spoke as a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress.
I applaud Akume’s decision to make his stand known on this matter, and going on record as the first and, possibly, only member of this government to do so. I don’t know if any other member of the government has done same after the Senator (there are three arms of government; the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Akume is in the legislative arm of government. I need to make this clarification before someone writes a rejoinder because I called Akume a member of the government). However, Akume’s viewpoint must be understood as coming from the APC/PDP lenses through which he has viewed the saga. And this is our problem in this country; sacrificing national pride and cohesion on the altar of political affiliations.
The simple reason the distinguished Senator George Akume wrote that op-ed is this: the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria has chosen to support the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who happens to be a member of the PDP to which Akume’s APC stands as an opposition, especially ahead of the 2015 elections. This is the pinch of salt with which we must take Akume’s entire postulation as regards this matter. If you disagree with me, I crave your indulgence as we consider the facts.
One, the federal government has admitted ownership of the $9.3million cash that was taken to South Africa. This exonerates Ayo Oritsejafor. He didn’t send for those arms.
Two, the federal government has admitted that it delegated those arrested to procure arms for it from South Africa. Again this exonerates Ayo Oritsejafor. Again, this shows he didn’t send for those arms.
Three, the plane that was used for the trip was leased from Green Coast Produce Limited, which leased it from Eagle Air which manages the aircraft on behalf of Ayo Oritsejafor. Putting aircrafts on lease is a global best practice for private jet owners as this helps them take care of the aircrafts’ maintenance and hangar expenses. It is not a crime.
Saying that the head of the country’s apex Christian body is involved in gunrunning and money laundering schemes is therefore terribly unfair and mischievous, especially when this slander is simply because he has chosen to support an administration led by a political party one is opposed to.
In Akume’s Benue state, there is a government owned transport company known as Benue Links. There are, however, several vehicles at Benue Links that do not belong to the Benue state government. These are privately owned but operated and managed by Benue Links. If you go there to chatter a bus, all you know is that you are chattering a Benue Links bus. You do not know who actually owns the bus and the owner does not know you have chattered his bus. It would therefore be ridiculous to hold the actual owner liable for whatever infractions that the bus got roped into and not paying any attention to the people that actually hired the bus from the management company. It is also like blaming the owners of the planes the terrorists flew into the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 and saying the airline owners are aiding and abetting terrorism. Would we say Richard Brandon is supporting terrorism if it had been a Virgin flight that was taken to South Africa? Yet this is what Akume has done.
It is commonly believed that religious leaders must be in perpetual opposition to a State’s constituted authority. And I do not know the origin of this notion. It is fallacious. There are several examples of prophets in the Bible who were advisers to kings at their time. Daniel and Elisha are two of these. It is not at every time that a man of God declares woes unto the king. Sometimes his duty could be to just be there and ensure there is a prayer cover over the leadership. Yes. Praying for, not against, those in authority is Biblical and Godly.
Added to all this, it must be recalled that it was this same president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, that went to the USA and put pressure on the American government to proscribe Boko Haram as terrorist organisation, a move that was opposed by certain key members of Akume’s APC. So there are others before Akume, in APC, who have applied partisan/political colorations to matters that should naturally be beyond the scope of partisanship.
I appreciate how Akume has called for an improvement on how CAN coordinates its affairs. This is good. There is always room for improvement in whatever we do. The distinguished Senator would however do well to, once in a while, remove his APC tinted glasses and see things as they really are, and express same. I trust him to be able to do this. George Akume is a good man.
If APC wins next years presidential election and God instructs the Christian leadership to give that president all the support he requires, I’m sure my Senator will not mind having that Christian leadership on the president’s side.
It is unfair to stone Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor just because he supports this president.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @CollinsUma