Mr El-Rufai compared the CAN leader with his predecessor.
"The courage of the likes of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, the Reverend Sunday Mbang and Cardinal John Onaiyekan, for instance, are shining examples of faith in action, with compassion for the oppressed and chastisement for the tyrants," he said.
"It is a mark of the sad and uncertain times our country faces that we have to be reminded that previous leaders of CAN have used that platform for nobler purposes than we currently see."
He accused Mr Oritsejafor of turning the association into a political arm of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Many in Nigeria today may not remember the name of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, but if there was any opposition to the military regimes of the eighties and nineties, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) under him definitely represented a voice of resistance to those governments' excesses. At a time when many people kept silent in the face of human rights abuses, Okogie faced down the military government and told them some home truths. It didn't matter if the victims were Muslims or Christians; it didn't matter whether they were from the north or south; CAN fought for all Nigerians.
Okogie had the moral authority to act, and did so with dignity, to the admiration of all of us.
Okogie's bravery was not unusual for CAN leaders; if anything, in the turbulent history of this country, there is a proud tradition of leaders of CAN who spoke for and stood by the people of this country. They used their moral authority to defend the rights of all Nigerians even during the most brutal military dictatorships or corrupt and inept civilian administrations.
The courage of the likes of Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, the Reverend Sunday Mbang and Cardinal John Onaiyekan, for instance, are shining examples of faith in action, with compassion for the oppressed and chastisement for the tyrants.
It is a mark of the sad and uncertain times our country faces that we have to be reminded that previous leaders of CAN have used that platform for nobler purposes than we currently see. In spite of the corruption that blights much discourse these days, it is evident that a clear distinction exists between CAN as a body and the individual that leads it. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor cannot be allowed to conflate himself with CAN.
He bears personal accountability for the conduct and utterances that portray him as a messenger of the powerful, or as an active soldier of the ruling party. Except for the informed, the casual observer may mistake Oritsejafor for a minor protocol official of government, so pathetically has he cheapened the erstwhile integrity of the CAN presidency.
Pastor Oritsejafor's utterances and behaviour amount to repudiation of the moral authority, fair-mindedness and high standing his predecessors invested in that office. While they spoke truth to power in the exalted prophetic tradition, he cossets and pampers the government of the day.
He even champions their politics of ethnic and religious division by making unfounded allegations against opposition leaders. How else can any neutral observer rationalize his two calls for General Buhari's arrest?
In contrast, Oritsejafor was dead silent when persons that are Jonathan's sidekicks threatened the nation with violence if he is not voted president in 2015! The dissonance between the glorious past and now is rather loud.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.