The Bishop of Zaria, Rt Rev Abiodun Ogunyemi has denounced the Archbishop of Kaduna and the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council for paying a “humiliating visit” to Governor Nasir El-Rufai to apologise for criticising him over a plan to demolish the St George’s Cathedral in the university town.
Ogunyemi said the apology was all an attempt to make the governor look good in preparation for a possible presidential ambition in 2023.
But to Ogunyemi, the apology boiled to nought, according to a statement he published on the church’s website, zariadiocese.org.ng
“The governor should know that he will never be president of Nigeria. I speak prophetically as a servant of the living God,” the Bishop of Zaria said.
“Let fake Christians and religious spies placed in our church by a particular religion be aware of the consequences of their actions because heaven is watching. May the Lord expose these spies in our midst on Jesus Name.
In fact their actions now show very clearly that they are working for an interest against the church. The Lord in His mercies will raise help to deliver His church from fake Christians, fake converts and novices,” the bishop said.
The bishops that drew the ire of Ogunyomi are the Most Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, Archbishop of Kaduna Province and the Bishop of Wusasa, and the former Archbishop of Kaduna and current ACC leader, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon and the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council.
Ogunyemi said the Anglican leaders have placed loyalty to Muslim politicians over loyalty to the Church of Nigeria.
He singled out Lamido for special venom, accusing him of compromising Christian standards and the truth and he and Idowu-Fearon for ”their intrigues with the government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
According to a report written by George Conger in Anglican.ink , the dispute arose over the attempted seizure by the Kaduna State government of St George’s Cathedral in Zaria.
On 20 Sept 2019 the Church of Nigeria’s Diocese of Zaria reported it had received a notice to vacate the 110 year old cathedral within seven days by order of Governor El-Rufai. The Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency (KASUPDA) said it would use the historic church land to expand the Sabo market.
However, following protests by the diocese and the Christian Association of Nigeria the state backed down from its plans.
However on 12 Nov 2019 Archbishop Lamido led other church leaders to El-Rufai to apologize for the criticism of the diocese and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
A statement issued by the Kaduna State government said the archbishop “has apologised to Governor Nasir El Rufai for the social media campaigns that tried to turn the issue of the redevelopment of Sabon-Garin Zaria market into a religious matter.”
The statement also reported the archbishop and other Anglican bishops expressing their thanks to El-Rufai for “his decision to preserve St. George’s Cathedral.”