Dr. Supo Samson Ayokunle, president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, was on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, named as the new president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, taking over from Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The new president promised that CAN, under his leadership, would not patronise the government but will be a check on bad governance. He stressed that although CAN would be a partner in progress, they would not fail to speak against the excesses of political leadership.
“We are committed to supporting the governments of the day in Nigeria, both the federal and state in all ways to achieve noble goals that would lead to development in the nation,” the cleric said.
“CAN is not anti-government and the government should not be anti-CAN. We are supposed to be partners-in-progress. Each should respect the boundaries that would lead to mutual respect.
“However, we are not going to patronize the government and thereby fail in our responsibility to speak against the excesses of those in political leadership. The church is in the world to improve the world and shine as light of the world.
“The church essentially is not of the world. We should stand out courageously and stand clean. We are aware that we are called to serve the body of Christ at the most challenging time for the church.”
Ayokunle decried the recent attacks on Christians across the country and thereby called “on the government of the day to take decisive action over these occurrences because it is their constitutional duty to do so.”
“We shall not stop crying out for the government to do justice until we see that justice is done. Silence or inaction by those in government would continue to make the Christians express no confidence in them until they are ready to defend the rights of Christians and all Nigerians in this nation.” He said.
The CAN president also called on past leadership of the body and churches to forgive each other and work for unity of one body, adding that the support of all and sundry is imperative for the survival of the new leadership.
“Without unity in CAN, there cannot be progress. By the grace of God we intend to lead CAN whose leadership is above board and would be able to provide credible leadership for Christians and other Nigerians to follow.
“I appeal once again that we let all in-fightings and name callings come to an end. Let us embrace one another as members of God’s family where there is no North, South, West or East,” he said.
In his remark, the out going President of CAN and founder of the Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, recalled that his most challenging period as president of the Christian body, stating that the Christians he was defending were the same that mounted opposition against him.
He, however, thanked God for the successful completion of his tenure, recalling that he took mantle of leadership when the road was seriously rough.
“We came in a period when the challenges of the church had reached a point that lots of Christians in Nigeria had been displaced from their home and churches.
“Some pastors particularly in northern Nigeria were closing their churches. Lots of fellow Nigerians had become internally displaced persons in their homes,” he said.
Oritsejafor called on Nigerians, particularly the Christian faithful, to stand behind Ayokunle in order to steer CAN to greater heights.
“To all Christians in Nigeria, we are entering a more challenging period in the history of our nation. Unfortunately, it is also the time that we seems to view CAN with some contempt.
“Yes, CAN may have her challenges, but for now we have no other body that unite us as CAN. So, we must revere the structure and leadership. Let us continue to pray for our land and leaders.” He concluded.