Outgoing President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in an interview with Nosa Akenzua explains how former President Goodluck Jonathan helped developed the country and wonders why Nigerians speak evil of him. To him Jonathan is his son and did well while he ruled. He also spoke about Gov. El-Rufai’s religious bill.
How would you describe your relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan?
I’m often shocked to read on the pages of newspapers negative reports about him (Jonathan). Goodluck Jonathan is my son and he is still my son. He meant well for the nation and he did his best, but if critics say he was bad; I don’t know the parameter they measured that with. It is unfortunate that Nigeria’s governance speaks different processes, especially those termed to have failed. Nigerians see that as an avenue to pour out their anger, insults and others. Goodluck Jonathan did his best to fix Nigeria but sabotage swung into action to ensure he did not succeed. It is laughable to read so many negative and unfounded stories about him. However, he had played his role as President and the rest is history. Our relationship is still cordial and as a leader of a church, I’m the father of all.
What is your take on the Kaduna State bill against public preaching?
Governor Nasir el-Rufai has seemingly taken the wrong step. He should call a meeting of all the stakeholders in that state with respect to religious activities before rushing to the state Assembly for any bill. Be that as it may, we have to be very careful if there is any bill intended to wear religious colouration. When Sharia was introduced into this country we were lucky to have a Christian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who tamed it. Nigeria would have been engulfed by the conflagration. Sharia would have been misunderstood. There are already enough laws in the statue book that take care of what Governor El-Rufai has in mind. I have no objection if he wants to curb noise pollution in the name of religion. I quite agree if this is the basis. But in a situation where it is meant to tackle extremism, libel, sedition, incitement and more, there are enough laws in our statute book for this. Doing otherwise is not good for him. I have tremendous respect for him for he was the person bold enough to say that there should be no more street begging. Yes, that was a sensible thing because even in the Islamic countries such is not allowed.