This came barely 24 hours after the President’s declaration to seek re-election in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Although the pilgrimage to the Presidency by APPIN led by Benue State-born Bishop John Richard Abu sparked off public outcry from Christendom in Nigeria, one of those who attended the meeting said he was “conscripted through deception.”
The Pastor of Church of Eternal Life (Abuja branch) and former President (Youth Wing), Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Henry Sado, told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that he was allegedly deceived by Abu using the name of popular pastors in Nigeria.
His name went viral on the social media after he was identified in the photograph of APPIN members who embarked on what has now become political pilgrimage to the Presidency.
Sado said, “Bishop JRA (John Richard Abu) called me on Wednesday April 5 2018 to be part of his team to the (Aso Rock) Villa on Thursday April 6. He told me about his closeness to a former President of CAN. He also said he had spoken with the Chairman of Pentecostal Bishops in the 19 Northern States and FCT who is also the Founder of Dominion Chapel International Churches, Archbishop Daniels John Praise; hence I should please follow him.
“I asked him the purpose of the visit to the Villa and he said like other Christian groups that have been visiting the Villa, he wants to go and present burning issues to President Buhari, including the case of Leah Sharibu, the female student of Government Science Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State who is still being held captive by Boko Haram insurgents and a prayer conference. I am not privy to the speech he presented.
“I met him for the first time on Thursday April 5 2019, in fact I had to call him to identify him in the midst of others. On getting to the Villa, the Chaplain of Aso Villa (Seyi Malomo) was surprised to see him and he asked of Archbishop Daniels John Praise and Rev. Yakubu Pam (chairman of CAN in 19 Northern States and FCT), two very prominent Northern Christian leaders and he said they are not in his team. There and then, I suspected there are issues, I had been conscripted through deception.”
“I was asked to stand in for FCT since the Arewa Pastors are supposed to come from the 19 Northern States and FCT. I have lived in Abuja for the past 17 years, by God’s grace. Some Christian leaders have been to our church before. I was former National Chairman of YOWICAN (Youth Wing of CAN). I have never turned my back against the Christian community before, my records with the fathers and God speaks for me.”
Recall that in a response to the infamous visit to President Buhari, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) disowned the group.
In a statement CAN said: “CAN does not know any of them and their organisation is even alien to the Association and fortunately enough they did not claim to be part of CAN. We are happy that the Northern Christian Association of Nigeria (Northern CAN) has also disowned them.
“We are totally disappointed that a group of people who claimed to be Pastors will be visiting the President without asking for the freedom of Leah Sharibu and over 100 Chibok girls who are languishing in the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists, whose only crime is their religion.
“We wonder why these supporters of our President, who claimed to be Servants of God, would not ask him to stop the unending killings going on under his watch in the Christian predominant communities in the North Central and some states in the South. They were so concern with the 2019 election that they forgot to tell the President that the primary duty of any serious government is to provide security to the governed irrespective of their religious and ethnic affiliations.
“Telling President Buhari that the opposition had hired some pastors against his government speaks volume of where they are coming from and who they are in the body of Christ. We are waiting for the list of the pastors whom they know that are on the pay roll list of the opposition who are allegedly guilty of hate speech. We all know how those who engaged in such an ungodly exercise in the Bible ended up.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria will not be discouraged by the activities of those whose agenda include but not limited to polarisation of the Association and blackmailing its leadership. We cannot turn the blind eye to the ordeal of our brothers and sisters anywhere in the country. Those who are not concerned about the violence in the country are also free to associate and express their views while Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church is on the throne to reward loyalty and judge the betrayals sooner or later.
“CAN as an organisation is apolitical and we always ask our members to pray for President Buhari and other political office holders in the country to rule with the fear of God.”