Dr Sunday Ibrahim is currently the state secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, as well as the financial secretary of the 19 Northern CAN and FCT, Abuja. He spoke with MUHAMMAD SABIU on the recently concluded election that ushered in new CAN National President as well as on the crisis that followed after the election. Excerpts :
Has the 19 Northern CAN pulled out of the parent body as being speculated?
Thank you for that question. I think as the state secretary of CAN, Kaduna State chapter as well as the Financial Secretary of the 19 Northern CAN and FCT, Abuja, I can speak on this being an insider. I really want to appeal to the concerned brethrens who are bitter on the outcome of the recently concluded elections that ushered in new officials of the Christian body to look at the other direction and embrace peace by seeking audience with the Northern CAN. There is this belief that if you see somebody crying, definitely there must be something that he or she is not happy about. So, I am of the opinion that both the Northern CAN and our parent body should reach out to them and discuss the issue at stake. CAN is a credible body that is made up of credible leadership that enjoys tremendous support and respect. There is no doubt in my mind about the capacity of the present leadership to deliver. So, the leadership should have a roundtable discussion with these aggrieved brethrens. This will help us and help the country. My advice to them is that they should please sheath their sword and engage the national leadership in dialogue. Like I keep saying that we will settle all rifts. Yes, the bottom line is to have the wisdom to sit down and talk as a family.
But the aggrieved group was saying that the Northern delegates did not particicipate in the election that ushered in the can president. Can you elaborate on this?
It is true we did not participate. But I want to beg them to forget what has taken place as it is now in the past. We are trying to let go of what transpired. We that came from Kaduna also suffered from the outcome of the convention, but we told one another that we should move forward and put the past behind us. What has happened has happened. We support the new leadership. We are reaching out to the concerned brethrens and I want to advise the leadership that when it engages in dialogue, it should shift grounds so that the other party will be ready to accept its hands of friendship.
What is your take on the persistent killings in the North in the name of religion?
It is very sad, barbaric, wicked and inhuman, that a fellow human being will slaughter his fellow being like chicken. There are people that cannot slaughter a chicken even though they are quite aware that chickens were meant to be eaten. Nigeria is a secular state. No religion can claim to have rights over the other. We must appreciate one another and live in peace with one another.
We, therefore, stand to condemn the wanton killings of innocent souls in some of these Northern states and equally call that those involved must be fished out and prosecuted. I think when government is serious, people will be cautious and will not like to commit any offence. Now, what has government done to the recent killings in Abuja, Nassarawa, Kano and Zamfara states. Government has the responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens, except it is now telling us that they can no longer protect us and that we should protect ourselves. These barbaric acts must be checked or else it will shake the foundation of the nation. Also, we should be praying for our leaders because it is not easy to govern a country like Nigeria. But I want to tell Mr President that Nigerians are suffering and that there is hunger in the land. There is poverty. It is now glaring that people steal from the pots. So government, both at the federal and state levels, should pay workers their salaries. I sincerely believe the government can do better.