Beyond Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor: Can the Christian Association of Nigeria Regain Its Prophetic Tradition?

CAN-LOGODear Rev. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle,

Congratulations on your election as the new President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)! As the new president and given the mess that you’ve inherited, you are now faced with complexities and heavy burdens associated with the office of the presidency of the largest Christian Organization in Africa.

It’s my prayer that the Almighty God that chose you at such a time as this will continue to make His grace and wisdom abundantly available to you so that you may lead the organization in the right direction. As an astute Christian leader by all standards, full of God’s grace, integrity, and understanding, I have no doubt that you have the best sense of the direction CAN should go. However, I suggest to you sir, with all due respect, that your first assignment would be to restore the once venerable status of CAN so that this august body can recover its past glory and enjoy believability with the people of Nigeria.

The CAN that I knew growing up under the leadership of His Eminence Anthony Olubunmi Okogie (Catholic), His Eminence Sunday Mbang (Methodist), Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola (Anglican), and His Eminence John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan (Catholic), is not the same as what we now have. Under the leadership of these named spiritual powerhouses and intellectual hurricanes, CAN fought injustices perpetrated by the government and strove to instill godly societal values in Nigeria, our beloved country.

In spite of the godly influence CAN had on society under the leadership of these, the organization experienced a significant diminution in credibility under the administration of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor! I was initially elated at the election of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor as the first Pentecostal President of CAN, being a Pentecostal myself. I assumed that under Oritsejafor’s leadership that the organization would speak in tongues and experience the move of the Spirit like never before. Unbeknownst to me – and to my chagrin, his leadership led CAN into speaking in the Peoples Democratic Party!

CAN was once a force to reckon with – because it was God’s mouthpiece in a perverse and crooked generation – but unfortunately the leadership of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor turned CAN into an appendage of Peoples Democratic Party.

CAN was once the conscience of the nation and a voice for the voiceless but it was denigrated into becoming an attack dog for former President Goodluck Jonathan. The body that was once the epitome of prophetic Christianity that spoke truth to power became a vehicle for spreading the unethical doctrines of Constantinian Christianity, a kind of Christianity that is well-adjusted to corruption instead of fighting corruption.

Rev. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle , your leadership overwhelms me with a great deal of nostalgia for the good old days of CAN. In you, I see the possibilities of what this organization can be – an institution that embodies the Spirit of God challenging structural injustice and evil. It is my prayer that the Lord will be with you every step of the way as you lead CAN to the mountain top of relevance and credibility!

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