The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ayo Oritsejafor, who has severally been accused of being a "Christian Boko Haram", has taken some time to reply his critics. He also cleared the air on the fact that the Christians in Northern Nigeria are not only been marginalized but also, suppressed by the various Muslim-dominated government and traditional rulers of the Northern region.
"...Turkey, some time ago, was 100 per cent Christians. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire that was a neighbour to Constantinople was a 19-year-old boy. And the Christians were warned of what was going to happen, they said it could not happen. They sent emissaries to him. He received them. They said ‘we told you, they are so nice’. When the boy turned 21, he invaded Constantinople. Guess who helped him? Christians. The cannon with which he blew down the walls were invented by a Bulgarian Christian that was even inside Constantinople. He invented this thing and approached the king of Constantinople for money in exchange for the weapon, the man said he didn’t have.
The inventor sneaked out of town with his invention, went to the Sultan and the Sultan gave him money and collected the equipment and helped to lead the troops to blow down the whole wall. In the meantime, Christians inside had been fighting each other, talking nonsense about nothing. When they saw the invaders approaching, they held hands to say they were praying. Which prayer? And they came in straight, and the first place they went to was the church. And the Sultan walked into the church shouting ‘Allah Akbar’; and made his way to the pulpit, made some rituals and turned it into a mosque. For the next 1,000 years, that building was used as a mosque. The man who started the modern day Turkey by introducing democracy, what he did was to stop the place from being used as a mosque but he didn’t return it to the church. Instead he turned it into a museum. So inside that museum, you will see Muslim things and you will see Christian things. Do you think if that place was originally a mosque and was changed to a church, and they came and stopped the church, you think they will not change it back to a mosque?
Look at what is happening in Jerusalem. When we talk like this, some people will attack me. Look at the Al-Aqsa Mosque; was there not something in that place before that mosque? There was a Jewish temple there before that mosque. Why is it that the world never ask questions? If the original thing there was a mosque, and the Jews came and built a synagogue or a temple on top of it, you think it will stand? They would have blown it up by now. Everybody is talking about the mosque. What about what was built there before the mosque? Nobody is asking, nobody is talking.
We talk about western colonization; what about Arab colonization? We never talk about it. We pretend that it doesn’t exist or it didn’t happen. What happened to Egypt? Is it not the same thing that happened in Turkey? For over 1,000 years, Egypt was totally a Christian nation. The Arabs invaded. They came in. In the usual stupidity of Christians, they said it could not happen. They killed them like rats. And brought in a lot of Arabs within 50 years. Today, Egypt is known as an Arab country. Were the Pharaohs Arabs? Please let’s be realistic. They were real Africans, black people. Is that what you have there today?
What happened in Sudan? Why is it that Sudan split? You have Southern Sudan and Sudan. The whole of Sudan was pure black people. The same thing, they came in from Egypt and raided that place, took it over. Killed the men, dashed themselves the women, and brought in a lot of Arabs. Within 50 years or thereabouts, it became Arab Republic or Islam Republic or something. Today, everybody is seeing Sudan now as an Arab country. But was it really an Arab country? Is Sudan really an Arab country? Nobody asks questions.
I can push it further. Fulani herdsmen kill innocent natives across the nation, rape women and do several despicable things to people in the nation, but what do we hear ? Calls for compensation for them. People clamour for grazing land for them as if to say the nation should compensate them for killing innocent Nigerians. Nobody has asked the question as to where herdsmen get sophisticated weapons like AK47 from? Do you know that for the past 30 to 40... years, no church organisation has been issued a certificate of occupancy to build a church in the far North?
Go to the North of Nigeria and see the suffering of Christians. Are you aware that generally across the North, you cannot be a traditional ruler except you convert? Go to Gwoza. Gwoza is 80 per cent Christians, but they have an Emir of Gwoza. Does it make sense? That a place where 80 per cent of the people are Christians, you start an emirate, and there’s an emir who is a Muslim over 80 per cent Christians. Look at Mubi that was just taken over; there was an Emir of Mubi. In a place that is also over 80 per cent Christians. Can it be the other way round? Can you try it?
Can you go to Sokoto and say that from now it’s a Christian traditional ruler that will rule over a particular area? The only Christian in Bauchi State House of Assembly is a woman and she was thrown out. What did she do? The House woke up one day with the governor, and decided that a local government area headquarters that was located in a Christian area be relocated to a Muslim enclave. And they just did it like that. The woman got up and said no. They said she insulted the House. Her tenure is almost over, they took her security, took her car, no salary for almost three months. What has anybody done? All kinds of things have happened.
We have a Christian President and all these things are happening to Christians. People are complaining that the President is weak, he doesn’t act. What do you think?
Well, personally, I will say that people’s styles are different. All leaders will not operate the same way. So don’t rule out that possibility. Also, because personalities and style would be different, you also discover that there could be a leader who feels that because I’m a Christian, I should not do things that will make people think that I’m favouring Christians and would bend backwards to satisfy the Muslim side so that they will be happy. All I will tell you is that the man is... is bending backwards to satisfy these our brothers. He is the President of both Christians and Muslims. But the funny thing is our Muslim brothers complain that he is not treating them well. You sit back and wonder, it’s puzzling
.- Ayo Oritsejafor
The clergy man has spoken his mind, loaded with past and recent historical facts. What's your opinion on this?