A couple of days ago, the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Pilgrims’ Agency, Dr. Yusuf Arrigasiyyu , went for a courtesy and advocacy visit to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna branch, under the chairmanship of Rev. JJ. Hayab. The aim of the visit was to create synergy between the pilgrims agency and CAN, owing to the fact that both the Christian and Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards have been merged into a single agency, which Dr. Arrigasiyyu is currently heading.
As a new leader, whose mandate is to spearhead pilgrimage activities of Christians and Muslims, Dr. Arrigasiyyu embarked on rigorous consultations and inquiries, in preparation ahead of the imminent Christian pilgrimage exercise, aimed at conducting a flawless spiritual journey to Jerusalem.
The purpose of the visit by the executive secretary of the pilgrims agency was “plainly apolitical”, because he is curious to find out the cause of the sudden decline in the number of the Christian pilgrims. And in the same vein, to make concerted efforts to increase the number of the pilgrims that will participate in this year’s exercise.
What’s wrong with this visit by Dr. Arrigasiyyu, as a newcomer, who wants to ascertain the situation that led to the decrease of Christian faithful to partake in the pilgrimage? Is it not part of his job description to do the needful? Undoubtedly, it’s within his jurisdiction to make such findings.
Unfortunately, the visit was greeted with mischievous remarks by the CAN chairman, who politicised the visit. Evidently, owing to his invective disposition and antecedents, the CAN chairman countered the visit, depicting it as a political mission.
He said that the Christians were hampered from going on pilgrimage because they exhausted their wherewithal paying ransom to the kidnappers. And it’s CAN that’s massively paying the ransom on behalf of the Christians who were kidnapped. He berated the visit as a misplaced priority, while challenging the executive secretary to first inquire about the number of Christians who are still in captivity.
The CAN chairman, probably out of hatred and mischief, is confused to the extent of urging the executive secretary to derail from his job; and interlope into the security aspect, as if it’s the task assigned to him.
It’s a historical fact that during the administration of late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna, when Rev. JJ. Hayab was serving as the special adviser on Christian matters, there was a time when the “Prince of Kuwait” visited Nigeria and went to Kaduna. He paid homage to late Yakowa at the Government House. One eminent personality represented the Sultan of Sokoto.
When he notified the gathering that he came to represent the Sultan, all of a sudden, the aggressive Reverend vehemently denied by saying, “we didn’t even invite the Sultan! Imagine, even if the Sultan wasn’t invited, what’s the big deal if he graced a function where a high profile member of a monarchy from a Islamic Republic is attending? Instantly, he ignited an outrage over his utterances.
Again, during the 50th Anniversary of Radio Nigeria Kaduna, the Secretary General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Aliyu Abubakar, expressed worry about how the then CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor was politicising the issues of security, whenever arrest was made against those who were trying to plant bombs.
Reverend Hayab was also at the time, the special assistant Christian Matters to late Governor Yakowa. I was flabbergasted by the manner he replied the JNI secretary general; he was very rude in his response.
Reverend Hayab, as a religious leader, is supposed to be a symbol of unity to the diverse religious adherents. His character and leadership style should be exemplary to the people, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Ironically, he has the tendency to be hostile against the people with whom he has contrary views.
Jabir T Usman,
Tudun Wada, Kaduna,