Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel on Saturday openly disagreed with the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle on the issue of payment of dues by the Akwa Ibom Chapter of CAN to the national body of the association.
The disagreement ensued on Saturday during the thanksgiving service by Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno held in Nsit Ubium.
While giving his goodwill message at the event, the National President of CAN, Rev Ayokunle said that the Akwa Ibom Chapter of the body is owing dues, asking the governor to come to the aid of CAN in the state in order for the debts to be defrayed.
He said representatives of Akwa Ibom State CAN were last month sent out of a national CAN meeting held in Lagos because of non-remittance of dues.
“I want to appeal to the governor of the state whom God has blessed to come out to the aid of the church in this state. I don’t know where the church got it wrong, but I am not proud of the fact that most of the state branches of CAN in Nigeria are not able to pay their annual dues to the national body, including the Akwa Ibom State branch of Christian Association of Nigeria.
“During our last meeting in Lagos in August, we decided to send the state representatives of CAN out of the meeting. Please, get in touch with the state chairman of CAN and get this debt cleared. I appeal to Church leaders in this state to show leadership. This state is not the only one owing the national body. There are other states owing as well. This is not a good story to hear about the church in Nigeria because we know that the Lord has blessed the church. Let us respond better to collective collaboration so as to be stronger in operation. Remember that no matter how strong your church may be, a tree cannot make a forest. No church can fight the battle against anti-Christ alone”, Rev Ayokunle said.
Before ending his goodwill message, the CAN President urged the governor to ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) selects a good successor for him come 2023.
“Finally, Your Excellency, I urge you the governor to do like Moses and make sure that a credible person is chosen by your party to succeed you in office so that your good works may continue. I pray the Lord to see you to a successful end. And may you hand over gloriously to another task-oriented individual that will take Akwa Ibom to the next level of glory”, the CAN boss stated before leaving venue of the thanksgiving service to attend another event outside the state.
But while giving his address at the thanksgiving, the governor retorted, saying the State chapter of CAN is not owing the National CAN a dime, fuming and stating that he disliked the embarrassment meted on the state by the National President’s utterances.
“State C.A.N Chairman, I know you will permit me. Since the National President of C.A.N embarrassed us publicly, please you have to redeem the image of the state. C.A.N President cannot stand here and say that we have not paid dues. It is not allowed. I mean, this is a state that is named after God. 99.999 percent of us are Christians. So I think for CAN President to say so openly I must also respond as a governor that CAN in Akwa Ibom State does not owe even one month dues to CAN national. The man embarrassed us openly and I didn’t like it. Tell the National President of CAN that we have paid all our dues. So, he should announce it at the award tonight that we are not owing any dues to the National. He should retract what he said earlier”, the governor said.