By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Concerned group of ECWA members led by Elder Amos Sheyin have written a strong worded petition against some of their leaders and leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna state, over alleged campaign against Labour Party (LP), candidate, Hon. Jonathan Asake who’s a member of the ECWA church and CAN by extension.
The petition dated 9th March 2023, and addressed to the ECWA President Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya Baba, of ECWA Headquarters, Jos, is signed by Elder Amos Sheyin and made available to our Kaduna correspondent on Saturday.
ECWA concerned group of petitioners lamented that while the Muslim clerics are preaching and campaigning for their own Muslim candidates, Kaduna CAN under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Hayab and the ECWA General Secretary Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, decided to use CAN platform to campaign against the LP Christian candidate.
The statement noted that “As the only strong Christian candidate in Kaduna State, he is contesting against 3 equally strong Muslim candidates in the APC, PDP and NNPP from the north who are envisaged to surely split their votes.
“It is obvious that with a united votes from Christians in the state and particularly from Southern Kaduna and the large population of voiceless Hausa Christian in the north, that Hon. Jonathan Asake stands a very good chance of winning the election landslide.
“Results from the last presidential election, despite the open robbery of the Labour Party votes by the PDP and APC, still saw Labour Party winning the 90 Percent of LGAs in the southern zone and unseating 2 National Assembly members who have been in office for 20 years each.
“It is therefore unfortunate, that while the Muslim clerics from different Islamic sects are preaching and campaigning for their own Muslim candidates, Kaduna CAN under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Hayab, a renowned card carrying member of the PDP and a member of the party’s governorship Campaign Organisation, in cohort with the ECWA General Secretary Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, decided to use the CAN platform to confuse and direct Pastors last week Sunday to announce openly in their various Churches that CAN, including ECWA have chosen to vote for PDP and that all Christians in the State should comply”, it stated.
Earlier in the petition titled: “Save ECWA from imminent political implosion”, and copied the Church Trustee Prof. Bobai Agang, the petitioners described it as a show of shame being put up by Christian CAN leadership, and ECWA in Kaduna State in the Campaign build up ahead of the Governorship elections across the country.
“I write on behalf of myself, many concern ECWA members and Christians in Kaduna State who are witnessing the show of shame being put up by Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN leadership, and ECWA in Kaduna State in the Campaign build up ahead of the Governorship elections across the country earlier slated for 11th March, 2023 which has now been postponed to 18th March, 2023 by INEC.
“As you are aware, the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Kaduna State, Hon. Jonathan Asake is a bonafide and committed ECWA Member of ECWA Church Narayi Highcost, Kaduna.
“When he decided after wide consultations to join the contest for the Governorship seat in July 2022, he approached the then Senior Pastor of the Church Rev. Dodo to intimate and seek his blessings. The Pastor prayed for him and took him to the Local Overseer of the Local Church Council, (LCC) who in turn led him to inform the Kaduna Central DCC.
“The ideal thing was for the DCC Executive to lead him to the ECWA headquarters in Jos, but they did not despite several attempts to prompt them.
“On his own, I understand that Hon. Asake made personal efforts to see you (ECWA President) and even sent text messages to inform you and the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Yunusa Nmadu where in, he sought for audience but your schedules at that time could not permit a physical interface.
“Hon. Jonathan took further steps and met with the combined 21 DCCs of Kaduna at a conference in Kagoro early in 2023 to intimate them of his ambition and vision for the state. Again, they unanimously blessed and prayed for him. With this encouragements from his Church, he went ahead with his Campaigns and further consultation across the State which received wide acceptance.
“Mr. President sir, as someone familiar with the politics in Kaduna State, you will recall that ….at no time, since the return of this democratic dispensation, has any political party, especially the PDP deliberately ceded the governorship position to the Christian Southern Kaduna in line with the constitutional principle on rotation of the party.
“It was only by default in late 2009 that Sir Patrick Yakowa as then Deputy Governor became the Governor after the elevation of Arc. Namadi Sambo as Vice President following the demise of Umaru Musa YarAdua, the former President. I am sure you recall sadly, how Yakowa’s tenure and life was abruptly cut short in a covert “air accident”.
“With the emergence of the APC government in 2015, Christians and Southern Kaduna citizens suffered the worst government terror one can imagine despite having the Deputy Governorship in the name of Arc. Bala Bantex, now demised, who was also an ECWA member.
“The climax of the APC administration was the introduction of the Muslim-Muslim ticket which was forcefully pushed in the second tenure after tactfully hedging out Bantex.
“Due to the lack of unity amongst Christians, coupled with the fraudulent electoral institution, INEC, we have now seen how the Muslim-Muslim candidacy have been successfully replicated in the national front as seen in the Presidential election that was conducted fortnight ago.
“For the first time, the Labour Party as a formidable national Party thought it wise to offer us, Christian, the governorship candidacy through Hon. Jonathan Asake who has been a tested, trusted politician and child of God.
“As the only strong Christian candidate in the State, he is contesting against 3 equally strong Muslim candidates in the APC, PDP and NNPP from the north who are envisaged to surely split their votes.
Hon. Jonathan Asake as Labour Party Governorship candidate who along with his family members went to worship in the Church watched in utter embarrassment and surprise as the new Senior Pastor, Rev. Ezekiel Bulus made the announcement in such a ridiculous manner.
“Sir, just imagine the damage such announcement did to the spiritual and political state of Hon. Jonathan Asake by his own Church Pastor?
“The reaction of many Church members when the announcement was made clearly showed their rejection of the Church position.
“I understand that in many of ECWA Churches, members openly confronted the Church Pastors, some threatened to attack the pastor’s, while some vowed to leave the Church. This situation obviously, could have been avoided if ECWA Pastors had maintained the non-partisan principle of the Church.
“At no time, did CAN or ECWA either at the State or the DCCs invite Hon. Asake to discuss with him on his prospects or analyse the situation together if need be to explore a possibility of forming an alliance or stepping down if the situation calls for it.
“This got many members thinking and asking about the import of ECWA 2023 theme “Occupy till I come…” They wonder if the Pastors or even ECWA understood the political relevance of the theme at this critical period in Nigeria?
“They have also been asking, if indeed ECWA and CAN believes in the scripture passage that says “Believers shall be the head and not the tail”? If indeed this scripture passage is true, they wonder why Christians in Kaduna State appear to have accepted that they are second fiddle in the State?
“In continuation of the show of shame by ECWA Pastors in Kaduna State, we also witnessed very recently a group of Pastors from the 21 ECWA DCC led by Rev. Yusuf Binyat, ECWA Director of Administration”, they stated.
Petitioners expressed regret that, Binyat, after a meeting with the Kaduna State Muslim Deputy Governor and APC candidate, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa, declared to the press that they, as Pastors from the 21 ECWA DCCs are standing in support for APC and their Muslim sister from Southern Kaduna. What an irony?
“It is a well-known fact that these Pastors have collected huge sums of money from these Muslim politicians to use the Church platform to campaign for them and they obviously do not care anymore about the spiritual state of their members.
“With the foregoing, you can understand the current confusion in the minds of Church members. With this desperate attitude of our Pastors, how can they possibly lead the Church to occupy till Jesus’s return?
“Mr. President, please kindly intervene to save ECWA and the Church in Kaduna State from implosion. As ECWA President and CAN National Vice President, you have a sacred duty to save the day. As a partisan carrying member of PDP, Rev. Joseph Hayab should not remain as CAN chairman please. He has desecrated the body of Christ badly.
“I urge that you kindly use this week Sunday Church service to correct this partisan position from the pulpits. It is unthinkable that any Catholic Priest will stoop to disparage his member in the manner that ECWA Pastors did to Hon. Jonathan Asake during last Sunday Church Services after giving their blessings.
“I pray God Almighty to grant you grace and courage to address this problem”, it stated.