Something happened in 1993. Rev Fr Moses Orshio Adasu left the pulpit as a catholic priest and joined politics. He contested for the governor of Benue State and won.
This singular act shook the catholic church Nigeria and perhaps the whole world; before now, no priest had joined and contested election in our parts-I remembered reading an interview of Arch Bishop Okogie(as he then was) in TSM(The Sunday Magazine) where he said Adasu had gone against the Cannon Law;in those days too, people were divided on this issue.
Inspite of the division, the Church was firm on the matter, she suspended Adasu. That didn’t deter Adasu though…
So Firstly, let me say that suspension is not a crime, it is only a routinely recognized legal measure that every respectful organization uses occasionally to maintain its sanctity and upholds its name.
Schools use it against delinquents, international organizations use it against rogue nations and churches against backsliders-the Tiv word for suspension as used by the NKST church is Mkoom- meant here to be some sort of correction and not an indiscriminate punitive tool.
Till date, every democracy in Africa that is overturned by any military junta is summarily suspended from the African Union-also there are several nations like Iran and syria that for years have been suspended and placed under sanctions for going against certain codes regarded as basic standards in the community of nations.
Back to the 12 APC members of Benue state whose suspension was read out yesterday- I gleaned on social media and saw others in reaction to it, talked as if their suspension was some form of victimization- I think this is only misguided , unfortunate and ignorance for anybody to think like that.
Anybody who holds that warped view about the wise and timely move of Benue APC does not love Benue or at most is not aware of the particulars of this issue, especially as it pertains to Jime, who of late has been given messianic roles by a certain group.
Opposition politics was set in Benue in 1969 by a university lecturer-from then till date, many have died, wars have been fought and bad blood have ensued; since then, the battle line has always been clearly drawn. Contentious issues have always been between the two major opposing parties.
As the last governor left, defeated for the first time by an opposition candidate, the new man, Samuel Ortom took over for the first time quite without much rancour. The catholic in the state and NKSK held thanksgiving services and masses in Gboko to thank God for bringing peace to the land.
Funnily, what is rancorous today are the ego trips of some members of APC, the governing party in the state, who even after several months of the party primaries, are refusing to come to terms with the realities; or their fates.
To be candid with some of them, the laws were not followed strictly in their losses, but that is not enough for them to bring the party and the government it has put in place to a standstill in face of serious challenges of unemployment, hunger and poverty. What is rather appalling is the fact that , experts are also unanimous that most of them, especially Jime, don’t even have a case. This is where the party’s stand needs to be applauded and well situated.
The party, by this bold stand is saying she doesn’t know and is not party to what 12 of its members are doing. The message in this washing of hands, this suspension, similar to what UN does to rogue nations is clear ;the party is saying, your unholy pursuits, although it is your legal rights which we don’t have any power to stop you from, is at the moment against the philosophy of the party in state.
What many don’t know is, since last year, even before the election, the party has used every measure possible to pacify these men. The party respected their rights to be angry and sensibilities, so has been cautious and detailed.
The church in the state have also come in to settle this matter-for Jime, it is so funny that EVEN the judge handling his case at the FHC, Abuja has also pleaded and given time that he should settle out of court, yet he has refused.
I support this distancing move from 12 apostles of under development by the Benue APC which is the last resort as Ortom settles down-atleast, now I know that although they are not stopping anybody from seeking legal redress for their grievances, imaginary or real, they have made their stance very clearly known to ALL by this suspension-they are saying to the 12, we do not give you our blessings.