By NBF News
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The newly-elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, was recently hosted by the South-South Christian Leaders in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. The event, which took place at Christian Central Chapel International, CCCI, Ikot Enebong, Calabar, attracted clerics and other ministers from the South-South.

Addressing the audience, Oritsejafor, who is also the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), stated 'that CAN plans to unite Christians and the Church in Nigeria with a view to giving them a voice as Nigerians cannot rely on religious leaders anymore because of discordant tunes.

Now therefore, is the time for the Church to unite to save Nigeria.'

The new PFN boss, who is the first non-orthodox fellow to become CAN President, said his emergence was by the grace of God because he will use his position to bring elected officers to be accountable to the electorate.

'We will find ways for people in elected positions to be accountable to the people who elected them. In present-day Nigeria, so many of our leaders are no more accountable to the electorate, rather, they have become lords unto themselves,' he stated.

My becoming CAN president was by the grace of God. Before then, some Christian elders visited me three times in Warri and persuaded me to contest for the exalted position. They insisted that the position is not about doctrine, but about the Church and Nigeria, that was when I made up my mind to contest. I also had the support of Catholics. God saw us through. However, my emergence is a big challenge to the Church.

For the Church, they must rise up to its responsibilities by having three qualities; integrity, vision and passion. The Church should wake up to its responsibility of guiding and leading the people aright.

Programme of action
I will do my best to unite the entire Church. Presently, the Church has lost its voice and because of that, Nigerians are no longer listening to the church. It was not like this before; that is why we have to restore the voice of the Church in every aspect of our nation-building. We will also do our best to reduce to the barest minimum religious crisis especially in the Northern part of the country and work towards restoring peace in the Niger Delta region.

Another disturbing trend in the country that I will like to tackle is the deliberate refusal of our leaders to be accountable to the people. We know most of our leaders belong to different Christian denominations, but we will still try and address this issue. It is sad that our people in positions of authority are no longer answerable to the people. We will find ways to make people in elected positions accountable to the people. It is really unfortunate that in Nigeria today, majority of our leaders are no more accountable to the electorate, rather, they have become lords unto themselves.

But the Church is expected to play a big role in this regard to make our leaders accountable. I believe there is hope for Nigeria and the Church, that is why I am calling for prayers to enable us serve the Church and the nation well.

On the Niger Delta problem
It is unfortunate that there seem to be no end to the protracted crisis in the region, as we still hear of cases of kidnappings and other violent crimes in the region despite the Federal Government's amnesty programme. I think there is hope that lasting peace would soon return to the region.

The entire region needs restoration, our children need total rehabilitation. Our dignity must be restored because it has been abused and dehumanized for too long. I believe that with time, Niger Delta will rise up again. There are too many things about Niger Delta that people do not know. The people have the intellectual prowess and I strongly believe that all what they have lost will be restored.

Religious crisis
Ethno-religious crisis especially in the North is worrisome. We will do our best to reduce it to the barest minimum especially and it would be strongly tied to Niger Delta problem which is becoming a nightmare. We are one and will work with religious leaders and the Church to restore peaceful co-existence among all religious groups in the country.