Onoja Onoja Jos.
Bishop Jonas Katung, President and founder of living stone Church Assembly on Friday that declared that Pentecostal Bishops from the Northern Nigeria should be Commended for taking the plight of Northern Christians before APC presidential candidate on his choice of Muslim-Running mate from North during their recent interface with Tinubu rather than being condemned by the likes of former Secretary to the federal government of the federation Babachir Lawal and group.Bishop Katung who stated this in an interview with Newsmen in Jos on Friday said the recent comments made by former secretary to the Federal Government,Baba Chir Lawal over their meeting with Tinubu was done out of mischief. According to him, Lawal’s description of the respected church leaders as fake Bishop’s was simply because the Bishops gave Lawal’s friend (Tinubu) turned enemy a chance to be heard.
He said Lawals actions depicts how low he can go for his selfish ambition even if it means smearing God’s anointed servants.“Of course Baba Chir Lawal, who does not belong to the Pentecostal fold is in no way qualified to access who a Bishop is or question their call” -Bishop Katung.
Bishop Katung said Lawal may have the right to disagree with the steps taken by the northern Pentecostal Bishop’s but he has no right to impugn their integrity or use uncouth language against them.
He said while Babachir Lawal was busy chasing the vain things of this world, these men of God labored over the years to raise congregation of royal priesthoods for the kingdom.
He advised Lawal to toe the part of caution as he pursues his selfish ambition and not to use the church to fight his personal battles.
According to Bishop Katung, their meeting with Tinubu,APC presidential candidate was as a result of the controversy generated by the nomination of Senator Kashim Shettima as vice presidential candidate of the APC by Bola Ahmed Tinubu occasioning a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC for 2023 presidential election.Bishop Katung added that the choice of Shettima as running mate has brought about divergent voices across the polity especially within the Christian community which expressed disapproval of same .
“As church leaders and concerned citizens,we as a group of Pentecostal Bishop’s from Northern Nigeria,the region which is most agrived by the same faith ticket decision of the APC, decided to engage with Bola Ahmed Tinubu the person who is at the center of the controversy to express the concerns and fears of the Christian community not only in Northern Nigeria but the country as a whole and to give him opportunity to explain his decision” .Katung said “As Arc Bishop John praise Aptly captures it at the interface ,this is in line with the biblical principle as contained in John 7:51 that no one should be condemned without first giving him a hearing,a principle that is also encapsulated in the constitution of our country” – Bishop Katung stressed .He said at the meeting with Tinubu , notable and respected church leaders including Arc Bishop John praise the national vice president of Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Rev Danjuma byang all spoke to highlight the marginalization and injustice meted to Christians in the north over the years which has created mistrust in northern Christians over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC..
According to Bishop Katung, they emphasised at the meeting that the interface was not in any way an endorsement of the same faith of the APC, adding that it is important to note that the church consist of members who belongs to different political parties and not being partisan.
“Church must not portray a posture of antagonism to any political party without first having a full appreciation of their decisions and actions” – Bishop Katung.Katung said, the efforts of the church leaders to bring to the attention of the APC flag bearer the plight and fears Christians of northern Nigeria ought to be commended by all people of good will especially Christians .He added that it came to him as a shock that Babachir Lawal an eleventh hour Christian champion had the effrontery to describe these church leaders as fake Bishops in his ill motivated recent press statement.He questioned Babachir Lawal to know why it is now he has suddenly found his voice to speak for Christians in Nigeria?.According to Bishop Katung,it is on record that Lawal was secretary to the Federal Government under Buhari adminstration for about three years before he was unceremoniously relieved of the position for conduct not in Accord with Christian teachings and that it was during that time Christians suffered unimaginable marginalization in appointments in to offices by the government and Lawal did nothing to save the situation because he did not want to put his position to risk .
He asked that Babachir Lawal should tell the whole people of the North the impact he made on the church while he was in office that qualifies him to become a champion of the Christian faith in northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole .Bishop Katung warned that Lawal should not be allowed to use the church to fight his selfish battles as he Lawal was never there for the church and cannot now speak for the church .