Arewa Christians & Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA) recently held its 2023 annual day of prayers and lectures at the ECWA headquarters, Jos, Plateau State. This year’s event featured presentation of merit award of excellence to some distinguished Christians and Muslims, investitures, and book dedication by the group.
His Excellency Gov. Ifeayi Okowa of Delta state and vice-presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in this month February 25th, 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, a former speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi, convener, Apostolic Round Table (ART) led other deserving recipients of the ACIPA’s merit award of excellence. The other recipients of the award include Dr. Caleb Ahima, Engr. Mansur Saliku Nakande, Mallam Nuhu Ibrahim Almasih and Sheik Muhammad Nuru Khalid.
Rev. Dr. Luke Shehu, chairman, Arewa Christians & Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA) informed Christian Benefits that the award presentation was instituted by the Arewa Christians group “to identify and promote southern Christians and Muslims as well as to promote unity with southern Christians and break the distrust among Christians and Muslims, especially in the north.” The ACIPA chair described the awardees from the two religious divides (Christianity and Islam) as the catalysts for the new Nigeria rebirth to a greater destiny.
Dr. Luke in his address of welcome at the event disclosed that ACIPA commenced with the clear understanding that the north is centrifugal to the destiny of Nigeria as ordained by destiny and with Jos-Plateau being vital. “For this reason among others did the forces of evil against our destiny align and resulted in the 2001 Jos crises,” he said
The ACIPA chairman condemned religious bigotry, hatred, intolerance and the insecurity situation across Nigeria. He charged the Nigeria’s government to bring justice to those who promote bigotry, intolerance and unrest across the country.
“God did not make mistake by allowing Nigeria to be into existence from our different ethnic groups, tribes and regions despite what skeptics describe as the amalgamation of Britain for the colonial interest. Therefore, ACIPA shall resist any and all forms of dissent and discord as much as we shall resist any fanatical religious cleric’s teachings, promoting hatred between Christians and Muslims. In this regard, we strongly call on the government and security operatives to bring to justice in accordance to the law of the land those clerics whose antics promote hatred, bigotry, intolerance and unrest,” the ACIPA chair charged the Nigerian government.
- Apostle Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi and Sheik Mohammad Nura Khalid two of the awardees at the event
- Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi and one of the participant at the 2023 ACIPA Day of Prayers and Lectures in Jos, Plateau state
Below is the full text of the address of welcome delivered Rev. Dr. LUKE Shehu at the ACIPA Day of prayers, awards and book dedication/launching at ECWA Headquarters, Jos, Plateau state on the 29th January, 2023.
Today, 29th day of January 2023 marks the turning point for a new Nigeria as we meet to pray for Nigeria and align with the forces of heaven in enthronement of new government and recognition of our allies in this journey.
Distinguished guests of honour, special guests, our honorable and deserving special merit award recipients, gentlemen of the press, the journey have just began in this hallowed, revered and holy alter of ECWA Headquarters Church Jos.
We must acknowledge with special gratitude to God almighty the role of the former ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado in the formative stage of ACIPA, HRM the late Hama Bachama Honest Irmiya Stephen, the present Hama Bachama, HRM Dr. Daniel Shaga Ismaila, the late Aku Uka, HRM Masa Ibi Angyu, the late Mai Tangle HRH, Buba Mai Sheru and a host of others for their support and encouragement.
The fatherly role and inspirational leadership of the ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya Baba and the COCIN President, Rev. Dr. Amos Mohzho of the two largest evangelical churches in Africa is of note and commendation as we strive to build a greater Nigerian.
We also commend Rev. Dr. Joel Billi the EYN President, and congratulate him on his ascension of leadership of TEKAN. Likewise, we are grateful to our distinguished guests of honour, our father, mentor and patron, an elder statesman H.E Dr. Danjuma Gani, the chairman of National Christian Elders Forum for his exemplary incorruptible life discipline.
Archbishop Markus Ibrahim Amfani, Rev. Dr. Toma Ragjniya, Rev. Justin La-Nibetle, Rev. Dr. Yakubu Hassan our Trustees have been amazingly wonderful in their support, doggedness and prayer. God bless them.
First, we are gathered here as a people under one God, the supreme, the almighty, the giver of life and in whom everyone and everything belongs and submit.
I do not see a people divided by religion as Christians or Muslims, from north or south or by their ethnicity. I see all as the descendants of Abraham in whom the covenant of God almighty was fulfilled.
Over ten years ago in the Middle East was the vision of ACIPA birthed and initiated seven years ago. The inspired vision for ACIPA commenced with the clear understanding that the north is centrifugal to the destiny of Nigeria as ordained by destiny and with Jos-Plateau being vital. For this reason among others did the forces of evil against our destiny align and resulted to the 2001 Jos crisis. Today we know better and the rest is history but we shall restore our lost glory.
When yesterday I held the hands of my brother, Sheik Mohammad Nura Khalid, I felt the blood of a brother with equal passion and inspiration to make Nigeria great by charting a new path of unity, cooperation and trust as the voice of the orphans, widows, the poor, the victims of political exploitation, the victims of religious bigotry, the victims of nepotism, the victims of those who claim to be nationalists but in truth are tribal war lords and the victims of religious clerics but who in truth are pawns and paupers of political elites. ACIPA chose not to be any of such or the hunting dogs of corrupt and desperate politicians whose only claim to power is their “right of turn” or “chop I chop”.
ACIPA’s team have carefully chosen you our distinguished award recipients because you deserve to be so honored, and most importantly because you are the catalyst for the new Nigeria rebirth to a greater destiny. Together we shall work to restore Nigeria from the precipice and the downward spiral of the last seven and half years.
Our committee, like the generality of northern Nigerians at large can testify to the incredible efforts and leadership of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara as an astute legislature, promoter of democracy, the rule of law, and grassroots developer.
His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State has stood out as a true bridge builder across the south to the north and lover of Arewa (North). This is evident on every front. Among others, two instances stand out: Governor Ifeanyi Okowa built a state of the art modern cattle market for in Delta State for those bringing cattle from the north. Not to mention his aids and support to I.D.Ps in the north, Governor Okowa’s unprecedented support to northern Muslims and Christians of recent is worthy of mention.
Although there are many other Christian clerics, one among others worthy of mention is Rev. John Audu for his outstanding work in C.O.C.I.N and beyond as an administrator, counsellor, teacher, and a promoter of peace comes to bare.
In recognition of the role of some of our security officer’s professionalism, selfless sacrifice and gallantry, we have identified Colonel M.D Abdullsalam of the Operation Safe Haven and S.P Ayuba Akawu Iliya of the Plateau state Police Command for our special merit award of excellence.
Though we have twenty distinguished special merit award recipients, please permit me to mention the strategic role of our northern allies, the Fulani Christians association in the promotion of peace, unity and development of Northern Nigeria and by extension Nigeria. Their efforts have gone beyond the shores of Nigeria. It is for this reason among others that ACIPA has recognized and awarded the Chairman of the Fulani Christians association of Nigeria (FULCAN), Rev. Buba Aliyu and other three founding leaders. (Two are posthumous recipients.
On behalf of the leadership of ACIPA, we congratulate our newly appointed women, youth, zonal and other leaders as coordinators as they join this train on a mission to make Nigeria great from the Northern frontiers. Congratulations.
ACIPA remains resolved and cannot be the hunting dog or the pawn of any single powerful politician or group of politicians in our resolve to work with the likes of Sheik Mohammad Nura Khalid.
God did not make mistake by allowing Nigeria to be into existence from our different ethnic groups, tribes and regions despite what skeptics describe as the amalgamation of Britain for the colonial interest. Therefore ACIPA shall resist any and all forms of dissent and discord as much as we shall resist any fanatical religious cleric’s teachings, promoting hatred between Christians and Muslims.
In this regard, we strongly call on the government and security operatives to bring to justice in accordance to the law those clerics whose antics promote hatred, bigotry, intolerance and unrest.
We are not unaware of the silence of this administration when it chose to look at the other side when clerics romancing bandits have their way, but Sheikh Mohammad Nura Khalid was singled out for speaking against the ills of government.
It is imperative to set the record straight with regards to the recklessness and financial impunity of this administration without recourse to the plight of Nigerians and the future generations. While the economic failure of the federal government have since reached an alarming rate. States like Plateau that has mortgaged their people’s future as a result of massive indebtedness with no investment or any infrastructural development.
During the tenure of Governor Dariye, the debt burden of Plateau state was N75b. When Governor Jonah Jang left office the debt was N105b with proven infrastructural development. However, under this administration of Governor Simon Lalong, the indebtedness of the state shot up to N220b with meaningless development. This is unacceptable anywhere in Nigerian state. The truth is that such leaders at state and federal levels will be held accountable to the masses of Nigeria under the next administration we are enthroning today.
On the political spectrum, after wide consultations, I hereby on a clear and unmistakable terms state categorically that I do not see the A.P.C as a political party forming government in 2023. This is not unconnected to the fact that in the first instance her emergence was a permissible will rather the will of God. This was confirmed at a pro A.P.C meeting I was privileged to attend in one of the Northern states in 2015 with key northerners.
With discernment and after wide consultations, I hereby, on a clear and unmistakable term state categorically that I do not see A.P.C as a political party forming government in 2023.
ACIPA, in the nineteen northern states including the F.C.T Abuja are aware of our position as we network with our allies across southern Nigeria and especially the Nigerian National Christian Coalition (NNCC) under the leadership of Apostle Titilope Oluwadare.
We in the north cannot waste our vote where there is no light especially considering the gross failure of the government on all front. They failed and did not keep their promises of decimating terrorist, revamping the economy and creating employment opportunities. Rather, the north has been turned to the poverty capital of Nigeria with daily harvests of death among the Christians and Muslims.
Today, I have seen the light of a glorious Nigeria. It has begun with the confusion in the camp of the titans and the unrepentant who held our nation and the people captive both spiritually and physically. The shaking has begun with the justice of God and cannot be stopped or manipulated no matter how delayed. I saw a President that will spring up surprises and he will be the Darius (Isaiah 45:1-6) over Nigeria. Many will come to judgment among the rich and the affluent. It shall be judgment from above and from man. The desolate land shall blossom and many shall begin to rejoice.