By: Abideen Muhammed, Lagos

Sequel to the statement credited to Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I will say it is uncalled for and Nigerians don’t expect such at a moment when we are experiencing tough times with looters and villains. It shows that this is a time everyone needs to be at alert to determine defaulters among our leaders in all corners of the nation, so that the wrong doers will be made to serve as a deterrent to others rather than helping the sinners knowingly or unknowingly.

In this democracy, which we claim to be practising, people are at liberty to make allegations against another person or group with factual evidence(s). With this, one would expect that the next step expected of CAN to take is to investigate the facts behind the allegations and validate on the basis of authenticity or reject outrightly if found to be baseless, without being bias. 
I join all advocates of good leadership in Nigeria to condemn the recent provocative press statement, dubious and unguided vituperation made on the March 17, 2017 by the Christains Association of Nigeria (CAN) concerning allegations against Apostle Sulaiman. In the press statement, series of excuses were advanced for non-intervention in the case, that is, CAN is not interested in investigating the allegations against Apostle Sulaiman, which in my opinion are very weak, misleading and dangerous in a volatile multi-religious society like Nigeria. 

According to the CAN’s statement, the CAN cannot be involved because what is happening is not an official issue. It is a personal issue. Though, the man has denied the allegations made by the lady , but she insists. We are also told that their lawyers and the appropriate authorities are already involved . “If it was a matter that had to do with the church now, we would have waded into it,” part of the statement read.
This is nothing but a dubious act and a misleading statement. It would have been so better if CAN didn’t respond to the media rather than making a statement that can disorganise a peaceful community. The issue is not a personal issue as opined by CAN but religious issue capable of leading to national degeneration. Without mincing words, the game being played by CAN is well understood. CAN is trying to cover the shame of Apostle Sulaiman as a means to protect Christianity.

Let me quickly open a book of history to find a case similar to the issue at hand and relate the melo-drama being played by our Christain friends.

Yinusa, a tricycle driver, was accused of taking away Ese Oruru to Kano on August 12, 2015, from her mother’s shop in Opolo Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. The mother, Mrs. Rose Oruru, had gone out on the day leaving Ese and her siblings in the shop. Yinusa allegedly ‘seized’ the girl in her absence.
In fact, I don’t need to remind us the reactions of our christains friends. I brought this out to our conscious mind, perhaps, CAN may reflect and make proper justification to the bone of contention. I keep wondering why CAN is sitting on the fence in this case? Why won’t they be interested in bringing the culprit to book? When are we going to stop helping our pastors to sin if found guilty? What is the different between Yunusa and Apostle Sulaiman? Why different reaction to the same issue?
This will be the highest hypocrisy act committed by CAN if the case of Apostle Sulaiman will be left to die down like that. May I quickly remind CAN and other stakeholders that the issue is not an individual issue as viewed by CAN but a national issue. The case if not cleared, can tarnish the image of his church and the entire nation. So, why won’t CAN be interested in a religious case that threatens the peace of our nation if there is no skeleton in their cupboard? Atleast, the Muslims want to know!

Allah counsels :

Don’t mix falsehood with truth after the truth has manifest itself and you know it. ( Quran 2 verse 42).

From the forgoing, I believe that the leadership of CAN and the elders have failed to manage the issue maturely and uncompromisingly by allowing it to degenerate to this level. If CAN truly serves as an umbrella to all other Christian associations then they should be able to call Apostle Sulaiman to order, since he started his hatred preaches, nepotism attitudes and hatred for Islam. 
I have had to endure a barrage of unfair attack as criticisms for writing public commentaries in regarding sexual misconduct and marriage contract breach allegations against Apostle Sulaiman. I will not also like to attack a personality – Apostle Sulaiman. I believe two wrongs can never make a right but CAN press statement can not be let go. 
This is not the right time for CAN to sit on the fence. Perhaps, CAN was so quick to forget the kind of role it played in linking Ese Oruru case to Islam when actually  it was not a religious case. Neither was Yunusa a leader in any mosque nor a cleric, but a mere practising muslim. The case of Apostle Sulaiman and Ese Oruru is the same in different form – sexual misconduct! 

There is the argument that the reaction would have been different if the person accused were adherents of some other religious faiths? Would Christians, and in particular, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN),  have reacted more vociferously, stridently and with more vehemence to these allegations if pointed to a bunch of Imams and Muslims?
There is also this politics game being played anytime a crime is being committed by Christians like declaring them defaulters, a fake one or merely lunatics, while muslims who may engage in identical acts are accused of being motivated by blood, lust and religious zealotry. 

I will like to advise the entire members of CAN to fear the supreme being and do what is expected of them. We can’t fold our arms while Apostle Sulaiman keeps on misrepresenting ‘the lord on earth’. Is there no other pastor on earth before he was accused of sexual misconduct and marriage contract breach? 

May I also beckon on all members of CAN and stakeholders to vividly investigate the case of Apostle Sulaiman and tell the world nothing but the truth without compromising for accountability sake. Apostle Sulaiman should also be relieved of preaching, if found guilty to face the consequences of his actions. 
If truly we want to eradicate corruption from our country, then it must start from the religious sphere. This is the only rudiment if our nation will rise! 

Long live Nigeria Patriots and Federal Republic of Nigeria! 

Abideen Muhammed Ayomide is a student of Adeniran Ogusanya College of education.

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