Founder of Living Stone Assembly, a Jos based church, Bishop Jonas Katung has alleged former Secretary to Government of the Federation(SGF) Babachir Lawal failed to protect the interest of Christians and the church in President BuharI’s administration.
Katung also said the former SGF abandoned his religion and became self-centered for the three years he was in office.
He made the allegeations in a statement in Jos while reacting to a statement accredited to Babachir Lawal.
Katung said: “My attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation in which he made disparaging remarks against Pentecostal Bishops from Northern Nigeria who held an interactive meeting with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT), the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in FCT Abuja on 22nd September, 2022.”
He explained that the purpose of the meeting with the APC Presidential flagbearer was to hear from him why he chose a Muslim running mate instead of a Christian.
“As church leaders and concerned citizens, a group of Pentecostal Bishops from Northern Nigeria- the region which is most aggrieved by the same faith ticket decision of the APC, decided to engage with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu – the person who is at the centre of the controversy to inter alia, 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.
“As Archbishop John Praise aptly captures it at the interface, this is in line with biblical principles 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.
“At the meeting, notable and respected church leaders including Archbishop John Praise – the National Vice President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Rev. Danjuma Byang all spoke to highlight the marginalisation and injustice meted to Christians in the North over the years which has created mistrust in Christians in Nigeria in the muslim-muslim ticket of the APC. The Christian leaders also emphasised that the interface was not in any way an endorsement of the same faith ticket of the APC.
“It is important to note that the church consists of members belonging to different political parties and not being partisan, it must not portray a posture of antagonism to any political party without first having a full appreciation of their decisions and actions. The efforts of the church leaders to bring to the attention of the APC flag bearer the plight and fears of Christians in Northern Nigeria ought to be commended by all people of goodwill especially Christians.
“It therefore came to me 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 press statement.
“The question Babachir Lawal must answer is why is it now that he suddenly found his voice to speak for Christians in Nigeria? It is on record that Babachir Lawal was Secretary to the Government of the Federation under the Buhari Administration for about three years before he was unceremoniously relieved of the position for conduct not in accord with Christian teachings. In that time, Christians have suffered unimaginable marginalization in appointments into offices by the government and while many concerned Christians voiced their displeasure at the glaring injustice on adherents of the faith, Babachir Lawal recoiled to his cocoon not wanting to put his position to risk.
“But being a poor student of scripture or worse still a coward of faith, Babachir forgot the words of our Lord in Mark 8:37 – 38 and Luke 17:33 that “whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Little wonder he lost his position which he coveted more above the general interest of the Christian fold in a most disgraceful manner.”
Katung maintained Christians have agitated that after eight years of Buhari, power should shift to a southern Christian.
However, Babachir Lawal disengaged himself from this course and rooted for Tinubu, a southern Muslim to emerge as APC presidential candidate in the hope that he would be picked as running mate.
” By so doing, he clandestinely sabotaged the struggle of Christians to produce the next president for his selfish ambition.
“It was when BAT overlooked him and picked Kashim Shettima that suddenly Babachir Lawal became a self- appointed Northern Christian leader championing the Christian course.
“Christians are not fools, they know their leaders, they know people who passed through dangers, toils, snares and martyrdom for the course of the faith. Babachir Lawal does not by any stretch of imagination fit the description of a Christian leader. As Secretary to the Government of the Federation what was his impact on the church?
“His sudden renaissance as champion of the faith is never altruistic but rather self-serving and actuated by blind and selfish ambition. He must not be allowed to use the church to fight his selfish battles. He was never there for the church and cannot now speak for her.
“His description of respected church leaders as fake bishops simply because they gave his friend turned enemy a chance to be heard depicts how low he can go for his selfish ambition even if it means smearing God’s anointed servants.”
Stressing further, the Bishop said: “Of course Babachir Lawal, who does not belong to the Pentecostal fold and is in no way qualified to assess who a bishop is or question their call, may have the right to disagree with the steps taken by the Northern Pentecostal bishops but he has no right to impugn their integrity or use uncouth language against them.
“While Babachir Lawal was busy chasing the vain things of this world, these men of God labored over the years to raise congregations of royal priesthoods for the kingdom. I would advise Babachir Lawal to toe the path of caution as he pursues his selfish ambition and not to use the church to fight his personal battles.”