By Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, Ph.D, DD
“Mr President you are finished,” said Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor to then President Goodluck Jonathan. And President Jonathan responded: “You said what?” And Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor repeated: “I mean you are finished Mr President.” And there was a dead silence for a moment before the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the enviable dogged fighter of the Christan cause yet most vilified Christian leader of Nigeria, left the Aso Villa in utter disgust and rage. That was indeed the Ayo Oritsejafor metaphor penultimate the 2015 electoral debacle that sent President Goodluck Jonathan packing from Aso Villa.
As the 2015 elections approached and both sides of the political divide began to make frantic moves to decide the course and subsequent outcome of the elections a concerned Northern Muslim and driver to one of the prominent Emirs of the North secretly approached a Northern Clergyman and informed him of the on-going clandestine plans of the Northern Muslim leaders including those who are serving under Goodluck Jonathan’s Governmentt and presumed to be his confidants to make sure that President Goodluck Jonathan was kicked out of power by every possible means and have a Northern Muslim installed as his successor.
The visibly agitated Muslim Good Samaritan had narrated to the equally highly agitated Northern Clergyman how prominent Northern Emirs and politicians of both the ruling PDP and the Opposition APC had gathered in Sokoto under the superintendency of the Sultan of Sokoto in a nocturnal meeting where it was decided under Oath of Secrecy that never would any Northern Muslim support President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid or any future Christian of the nation aspiring to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As part of the ritual processes of enacting the spiritual efficacy of the all-binding Oath and ritually seal it, a live-cow was ritually buried alive in the course of the event to signify the burial of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid and any other Christian Aspirant to the Presidency.
That human Muslim Angel had implored the already profusely sweating Pastor with every urgency to urgently link up with President Goodluck Jonathan and implore him to act with every urgency to equally spiritually nullify the ritual concoctions of the Caliphate and save the nation from disintegration. Because as the Angelic messenger stated, the Traditional Doctor who carried out the ritual processes on their behalf warned them that although they would get what they were asking for but it might involve the spilling of much blood if not immediately but after.
To the surprise of the Native Doctor the Northern leaders asked him if it was possible to achieve any political feat without the shading of blood? This was one of the fundamental reasons why the driver decided to reveal the secret machination in order to seek the means to nullify the said spell. It was stated that the man left the Pastor immediately without collecting a dime from his host, having rejected the money offered to him by the highly elated but agitated Pastor.
Almost immediately the highly agitated Pastor reached out to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) then had easy access to President Goodluck Jonathan. As would be expected, the equally highly agitated Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor did not waste time in reaching out to President Goodluck Jonathan. After narrating the weird episode to President Jonathan he was informed by the President that he would quickly investigate the matter and act accordingly.
Like Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, President Goodluck Jonathan exhibited one of the most uncourteous acts of naivity that facilitated his early exit from power. It should be recalled that in the wake of the Northern plan to launch the July 29, 1966 counter-coup d’etat a good Northern Samaritan had rushed to Col Alexander Madiebo and revealed the secret plan against both General Aguiyi-Ironsi and his Igbo kinsmen. On getting hold of the information Madiebo had rushed from his Kaduna Base to Lagos to inform General Ironsi of the impending catastrophe. After listening attentively to the highly agitated Madiebo, Ironsi is his drunken-style jolly-good fellow mentality courteously asked Madiebo to have a seat for a moment.
The now elated Madiebo had thought that Ironsi had begun the necessary contacts with the equally threatened kinsmen to abort the heinous plan. But to his surprise, what he saw and experienced next were to cast cold shudders down his spines and all over his inner and outer human frame. The next moment Madiebo saw Brigadier Ogundipe and Col Yakubu Gowon marched into Ironsi’s office. Few monents later he was summoned to join them. There before the two men Madiebo was commanded by Ironsi to repeat what he told him about the coming counter-coup.
The visibly enraged but obviously betrayed Madiebo repeated the same information just as he narrated to Ironsi. Immediately Gowon countered Madiebo denying any such plan against the Supreme Commander, further demanding from Madiebo to reveal his source of information. Madiebo was put in a sorry state of a Humpty-Dumpty. He saw himself sweating profusely immediately under the severe cold of the airconditioner and could not phantom if what was happening to him was in real life or dream.
It was under that confused state of mind, body and spirit that Ironsi ordered him out of his office and warned him to face his duties as an army officer and stop peddling destructive rumours. Madiebo eventually managed to stagger out of Ironsi’s office and took the next available Train back to his base in Kaduna. The consequence of that ineptitude by a supposed intelligent Army General is hard to explain further, but it has remained one of the major episodes of Nigeria’s dark historical past. The was the same scenario of political stupidity Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor was to find himself.
As soon as Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor left Aso Villa, President Goodluck Jonathan summoned his Chief Security Adviser and scion of Sokoto Caliphate Col Sambo Dasuki and his Principal Secretary Alhaji Hassan Tukur also of Caliphate extraction. The most humble President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria then narrated to the surprise of both men what Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor had just narrated to him and thereafter commissioned both men to investigate the matter immediately and report back to him.
Both men who were evidently part of the clandestine political meeting were surprised because they could not understand how such sensitive information regarding an act executed under the cover of oath of secrecy could get to such a classified enemy of the Caliphate as Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. It was therefore decided by both men that for their plan to work out most effectively the person of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor must either be destroyed or kept out of the way by every possible means. That was how Pastor Oritsejafor’s woes as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria began, which subsequently paved way for President Jonathan’s free-fall from the pinnacle of Nigeria’s Presidency.
As would be expected, a verdict of false alarm and distructive information was immediately returned to their eargerly waiting and easily malleable boss with the rider that he should be cautious of his closeness to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor in order not to jeopardize his chances for re-election. President Jonathan eventually invited Pastor Oritsejafor to inform him courteously that what he narrated to him earlier was at best a fake news. When Pastor Oritsejafor arrived at the Villa President Jonathan addressed him in his usual humble manner characteristic of his personality. “You see my President,” for that was what he usually called Pastor Oritsejafor as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria; “I have investigated that story you told me about the ritual cow and Sokoto meeting and found it to be false and unfounded.” It was at that point that Pastor Oritsejafor bursted out in anger and said “Mr President you are finished.”
The West Niger Igbo say, “onye ni maho ebe mmili si mabaa, a ma makwa ebe o si kwusu i mani.” Interpreted, it means, a person who did not know where the rain began to beat him will never know where it stopped beating him. Oftentimes most people tend to pass value judgments without raising some critical questions penultimate the matter under disputation. There is no gainsaying the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan was a very fine gentleman in politics, broad-minded and slow to judgment. But that he was naive and an utter stranger to the realities and responsibilities of his time at the detriment of those whose political future depended mostly on his exalted position cannot be disputed.
That was Pastor Oritsejafor’s temperamental disposition towards President Jonathan’s docility woven in acute naivity in handling such an obvious sensitive information which was critical to his survival in office. An intelligent and reasonably sensitive President to the audacious callings of his office should have consulted a highly technical inner caucus of confidants within his ethno-religious band-width to handle the information. For Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor however, his patriotic zeal and unquenchable desire to see that the Nigerian Christians assume their rightful place in the political schemes of their nation soon became a nightmare and counter-product to his towering personality.
As earlier pointed out, the Caliphate could not understand how their secret ritual deal got to the knowledge of such unexpected personality as Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and thus became alarmed. It equally became obvious to them that unless Pastor Oritsejafor was destroyed and permanently divested of whatever influence he had over both President Goodluck Jonathan and the teaming Nigerian Christian population of Nigeria their plan of extinguishing the political ambitions of President Goodluck Jonathan would not come to fruition. Thus Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor saw himself placed at the firing range of President Goodluck Jonathan’s political detractors and scutlers of his re-election bid.
It is important to note that part of the resolution of the ritual cow-driven Sokoto meeting was for all Northern Muslim political leaders of the two major political parties PDP and APC to unite under one discreet political umbrella and make sure that President Jonathan did not succeed in his re-election bid. There General Muhammadu Buhari was unanimously nominated as their preferred candidate with the condition that he would serve for only one term in office because of his age and ill-health, with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar taking over the reins of the Presidency after.
This shadow election was initially opposed by the likes of Bukola Saraki and Rabiu Kwankwaso who equally had the ambition to contest for the Presidency, but they were quickly called to order and Bukola Saraki in particular was strongly reminded that his Yoruba name “Bukola” had not obliterated the fact that he is first and foremost a Fulani man before adopting the Yoruba identity garb and thus should not question their consensus.
They were therefore implored to work jointly towards the disintegration of PDP by forming a break-away from the Party which would be led by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar assisted by the likes of Rabiu Kwankwaso and the Speaker of Federal House of Representatives Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who was promised the Governor of Sokoto State. On the other hand, those holding sensitive national positions in Jonathan’s administration such as the PDP National Chairman Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu and the National Security Adviser Col Sambo Dasuki were advised to retain their positions which should be used to facilitate their plan from within. This was the discreet political process that eventually led to the massive decamping that greeted PDP at the heat of President Jonathan’s re-election bid.
In the process some Northern Christian political and religious leaders became captives to the spell of anti-Jonathan ritual-cow syndrome and consequently became the willing political tools of the Caliphate’s evil machinations, mostly through the Episcopal exertions of the Northern-led Roman Catholic Church of which the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja the Okun Yoruba-born John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Taraba State Kona-born President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the Kaduna State-born Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto Bishop Matthew Kukah, and the Tiv-born former Governor of Benue State Senator George Akume.
The first strategy adopted by the Caliphate in recruiting these willing Christian quislings was to sow the seed of discord among the Nigerian Christian family. In pursuing this strategy they found a willing tool in the person of John Cardinal Onaiyekan the Episcopal head of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese and titular head of the Roman Catholic flock in Nigeria. John Cardinal Onaiyakan was quick in accepting to be a quisling to the Caliphate’s design to sow the seed of discord among the Nigerian Christendom which ultimately paved the way for the failed attempt to destroy Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor’s reputation as President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the eventual scuttling of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid for obvious personal reasons.
First, he saw it as an opportunity to cut his own pound of flesh from Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who according to him master-minded his failed bid for second-term in office as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) by opting to challenge him and eventually defeating him in the election that followed. But the same John Cardinal Onaiyekan forgot that his election as CAN President in the first instance was the result of his scuttling of the second-term bid of the Primate of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Most Reverend Peter Akinola for the same reason of under-performance.
Furthermore, it is instructive to note that Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor did not in the first place indicate any interest to challenge John Cardinal Onaiyekan for the CAN Presidency but was only invited to take the mantle of leadership by the Northern caucus of the Christian Association of Nigeria of which John Cardinal Onaiyekan was a member, who saw the latter’s unrestricted cuncubinage with the Caliphate utterly embarrassing at the detriment of the collective interests of the Northern Christians.
Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD; Odogwu of Ibusa Clan, Delta State,
is of Institute of African Studies/Dept. of History & International Studies,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State.
Opinions and views expressed are those of the author, and never the stand of the Management of The Nationguardnews.com