“Reverend” Hayab and the crisis of identity

The Bible contains not one, but at least 17 prophetic statements by Jesus Christ on virtually every issue from the rise of false prophets to very pointed signs that willsignal end times. Chief among the prophecies includes that of His own life, which came to pass. The interesting thing was that some of the events when Jesus predicted them seemed improbable at the time; nevertheless, they came to pass. Being God He undoubtedly foresaw that mankind for which He sacrificed his only begotten son, so that they can live a life devoid of misery, would be misled by merchants of prophecy, masquerading as His faithful servants –  merchants that the good Lord referred to as false prophets, and likened to as wolfs in sheep clothing.

“Reverend” Joseph Hayab, former Special Adviser Religious Affairs to the late Governor Patrick Yakowa and Chairman, the chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has tasted power, limelight and the advantages that go with it, which unfortunately has absolutely nothing to do with his call as a “reverend” of the Baptist Church. But he certainly deserves credit for understanding very early in his ministry that real power and the opportunities lies in “advocacy” than within the four walls of a church. But for fighting for “his people”, as opposed to teaching the good news, Hayab would have remained largely unknown. He surly craves for power and popularity, which largely is responsible for his adventure into the murky world of politics which most likely will consume him.

Hayab has two or three faces like the Japanese would say-the first face being that for his Southern Kaduna people, on whose “struggles” he has continued to feed fat on and it’s hateful and irredentist, then there is the face for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his main benefactors, on whose behalf he fights the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai administration and lastly the face for the donor/development agencies that he keeps hoodwinking that he is a credible partner in advancing peaceful coexistence. It remains a mystery how Joseph Hayab, a man whose every action and public statement are antithetical to peaceful coexistence, can be so trusted by international agencies to promote or work for peaceful coexistence? It’s a ringing indictment on their selection process that Hayab who promotes violence works for them. The donor agencies might as well hire any disciple of the late Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram sect, as their peace advocate.

In the aftermath of the attack on St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Tudun Wada, Kaduna by unknown persons, the reaction of Hayab the so-called apostle of peaceful coexistence was predictable – it was very inflammatory and was not in any way intended to help douse the fire which the incident could have triggered. Hayab said,“CAN is sad with this development which is a clear indication that is under siege and our government is not paying serious attention to these evil happenings but instead is busy chasing shadows with a divisive preaching bill.” The statement could jolly well have been issued by the PDP, the main opposition party, which would have been understandable considering that it’s engaged in a power struggle with the All Progressives Congress(APC) and the fact that in Nigeria the opposition hardly understands when it’s in its interest to put up a united front.

How can Hayab conclude in a manner that refuses to acknowledge the efforts of the Kaduna state government in ensuring that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are arrested, empathising with the body of Christ and offering to pick up the cost of repairs of the burnt church? Hayab and his likes would never see anything good in El-Rufai or his administration because he deprived the leadership of CAN and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) access to cheap money which they had enjoyed throughout the PDP years, which by the way was never used for the purposes they claimed – maintenance of mosques and churches.

To resolve what seemingly seems to be a crisis between CAN and the Kaduna state government, which in actual fact is all about the interest of one man – Hayab- is as simple as ABC. All the El-Rufai government needs to do is to throw wide open the gates of the Government House, allocate 10 pilgrimage seats and the “antagonism”, which Hayab has portrayed as a war against the Body of Christ would become chummy chummy to the astonishment of his supporters who do not understand the high stake game. If CAN can eat and dine with Governor Ramallan Yero ,who treated Southern Kaduna people with utter disdain, and abandoned very critical projects initiated by their son Patrick Yakowa, it won’t be difficult luring Hayab into bed. Not many people know that while Yero paid himself his severance package to last the kobo, he bluntly refused to pay his deputy Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, unlike El-Rufai who has treated his two Southern Kaduna deputies with utmost grace.

Nasir El-Rufai in his acceptance and inaugural speeches made it abundantly clear that peaceful coexistence and improved security will be top of his second term agenda like it was in the first term, because of the desire to bequeath a more united and prosperous state to the people of Kaduna state, who are sick and tired of the image of the state as a place were at the slightest provocation people unleash terror on each other. This explains why El-Rufai created the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, which will drive the various efforts towards improving the security of lives and property. The other strategic move is his resolve to talk to those who “disagree” with him for whatever reason. But as usual the “apostle of peace” Hayab ensured that pastors of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) boycotted the meeting between them and government. Thankfully, Hayab couldn’t stop meetings between the Catholic Church, Pastors United for Change and many others.

The good thing is that the government has resolved to pursue peace, without the likes of Hayab who prefer the polluted environment which makes them continuously relevant. And this puts to rest the question that has continued to agitate the minds of the people- the response of the opposition – will they accept the olive branch genuinely offered or continue on the warped strategy of war of attrition which it had aggressively pursued since 2015, with the hope that it would help ensure the defeat of El-Rufai in the 2019 general elections? The strategy was undoubtedly the main reason Kaduna state was constantly in a state of crisis. But having failed to defeat El-Rufai, the reasonable cause of action, which they owe to themselves and the state, is to abandon the earth scorched strategy and work with the state government to ensure  a more peaceful state, which like the governor said is necessary so as to tackle the issues of high poverty rate, lack of access to health, etc.

Will the real “Reverend” Joseph Hayab stand up for recognition and will the people start idolising the art, rather than the artist and the message rather than the messenger?

Musa writes from Kaduna.

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