by Isi Esene
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has replied the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and senior pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, vice presidential candidate to General Buhari in the April 2011 elections, Tunde Bakare, over his statement, last week, condemning pastors’ acquisition of private jets.
In its reaction to the fiery pastor’s outbursts, the general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake; director of National Issues of CAN in charge of North West Zone, Rev. Haruna Karatu; and the PRO of 19 Northern states and Abuja CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe, condemned Bakare’s comment, stressing that there was nothing wrong with people donating aircraft to their religious leaders.
Bakare effectively accused religious leaders of complicity in the bad governance in Nigeria.
In his response, the CAN secretary, Musa Asake said: “What is wrong with giving a birthday gift to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor? Did he embezzle church money? Did he collect somebody’s money? If a group of people come together to buy him a jet to ease his evangelical work, why should that be a subject of public debate?”
“Oritsejafor is a man of God. He is doing everything for the work of God”.
Asake reportedly explained the rational behind the aircraft acquisition saying, “Redeemed Christian Church of God has thousands of branches and millions of members on all continents of the world. Winners’ Chapel and Christ Embassy equally have many international branches and hundreds of thousands of members. Pastor Adeboye, Bishop Oyedepo and Pastor Oyakhilome travel thousands of kilometres monthly doing God’s work and have to be in places not well-served by commercial flights.”
In a similar reaction, Apostle Isa El-Buba, general overseer of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries International, Jos, Plateau State, defended preachers who own jets, concluding that Bakare’s condemnation of these men of God was blasphemous. “There is nothing wrong for a preacher to own a jet. If people in the secular world can acquire jets for chief executive officers of big private enterprises, there is nothing wrong in giving gifts to a man of God of Pastor Oritsejafor’s standing. This is a man of God that travels across the whole world. He deserves what he has been given.”
Now we wait patiently for Bakare’s reaction to this explanation by CAN, currently led nationally by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.