Reverend Danjuma Byang, a member of delegation of the Northern Pentecostal Bishops that met with All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a couple of months back, has regretted being part of the gathering.
The cleric posted the remorse in a WhatsApp group, ‘Blunt Truth’, where he explained what transpired at the meeting.
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The bishops had been accused of receiving millions in naira as ‘transport money’ and branded souvenirs.
Rev. Byang, who confirmed his attendance, explained that the religious leaders visited the politician to table their grievances with northern governments.
He said: It is a smear campaign. Yes, I attended the meeting and wrote a short report of it. I am surprised that the only thing they read there is the transport money I said I collected. Let me send you the report I made.
He said one of the organisers, Bishop Jonas Katung, invited him, explaining that Katung held that the church in Nigeria, most times, plays the politics of exclusion, often with grievous consequences, when the outcomes manifest.
He (Katung) said there is nothing wrong in interfacing with all political aspirants and candidates, even with the ones we do not share in their manifestos or those we think are not likely to win, to hear what they have to offer and have the opportunity to express our fears and challenges if they eventually win the election.
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He further explained that he told Timubu that Christians in the North were not happy with his choice of another Muslim from the North to deputise for him for good reasons. He explained that in the North, there was a deliberate agenda to marginalise Christians from the public square and to annihilate Christianity in due course, if possible. He said there were at least eight states with a majority Christian population and a few others more which are roughly equal in population between the two faiths.
Christians are not allowed to preach their faith in government-owned media houses in some states. The teaching of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) and or Bible Knowledge (BK) has been banned in public schools in many states, including Borno, in which the ban was done by the man he had chosen to deputise for him.
Reverend Byang continued: Christian students are denied admission into public universities and other tertiary institutions and the few admitted, are denied their choice of some professional courses like medicine, engineering, law, accounting, which are needed for Nigeria’s development.
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The Reverend emphasised that Archbishop John Praise Daniel and Bishop Katung, the conveners of the meeting, made sure that BAT did not leave the meeting thinking that the Northern Pentecostal Bishops had endorsed his candidacy for the office, but wished him the best of luck.
He asserted that the PFN was not part of the meeting with the presidential candidate that was highly politicised. We are, however, aware of the ripples in the public domain about this matter. I am speaking officially to clarify that PFN has nothing to do with that.