The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has inaugurated a six-member committee that will prepare a document to articulate its position on the proposed National Dialogue.
CAN, while backing the dialogue however insisted that there should not be restriction regarding issues to be discussed.
Members of the committee are Prof. Emele Uka (chairman); Kate Okparake, Apostle Etimbule Sunday, Elder John Achimugu, Chukwuma Igwe and Elder Albert Uko (Secretary).
The President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, while inaugurating the committee in Abuja expressed his support for the confab, adding that there is no better time for the country to have a dialogue than now. “Today for me and for CAN is historic and important because we are taking an important step in the right direction.”
He lampooned opponents of the proposed dialogue and wondered why any Nigerian would oppose an agenda that will address the serious challenges facing the country.
Oritsejafor said, “Nigeria has come to a place; President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a bold step that will address all the issues about Nigeria. As CAN president, I want to congratulate the president for taking this step. We are prepared and set for it. So, we are setting up a special committee that will draft the presentation we will make an exciting time. It is a challenging time. No nation grows without challenges.”
“Sometimes, I get troubled about the way some people reason. A man has taken a bold step. So many people have been calling for a national conference. Suddenly, people are saying the timing is wrong.
“I remember some people then said that the president should dialogue with Boko Haram. We said no, but he went ahead and negotiated with criminals. Where we are now is very critical. We need to sit down and talk. Let everyone bring the card to the table. The fact that we can talk, we would have achieved something.
This is an incredible opportunity for us to sit down and talk. The positive side outweighs the negative side,” Oritsejafor said.
The CAN President believes that the confab should be able to discuss all issues that affect Nigeria and Nigerians, wondering why some are canvassing for a no-go-areas during the dialogue saying “everything should be brought to the table.”
“To be honest with you, I don’t know what anybody means with no go area. A dialogue is a dialogue. I really don’t understand. If we are going to sit down to talk, then we should do that. We should be free to discuss”, he stressed.
Oritsejafor also revealed CAN has reached out to both the government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian University, ASUU to shift ground in the best interest of the students.
“I’ve tried not to make any comment about the strike. I think Nigerians should know that we are not silent. We’ve made several attempts. I’ve had several phone conversations with ASUU president. I made a proposal for us to meet, but I didn’t hear much from him.
“We’ve also approached the government and we told them the strike isn’t good for Nigeria. We told them something needed to be done to end this situation. We were promised that they were ready to shift ground. As I speak, we’ve not been able to meet ASUU.
“Let me say that I’m appealing as President of CAN to both government and ASUU to come back and sit down. We need to face this problem. In any situation where two parties cannot seem to agree, there must be movements from both sides. I heard government has moved the amount. For the sake of our children and this nation, they should find way to mend fences and find a way to come to an end.”