AMERICAN CHRISTIANS WILL NOT BE SILENT UNTIL BOKO HARAM IS DEFEATED, SAYS CANAN LEADER
*SOYINKA SAYS HISTORY WILL NOT FORGIVE THOSE WHO APPEASE VIOLATORS AT THE EXPENSE OF VIOLATED
*ADEFUYE, US CONGRESSMAN KING, GAMBARI, UNFPA BOSS OSOTIMEHIN, EZEKWESILI, OTHERS GATHER IN NEW YORK TO CELEBRATE TOP NIGERIAN-AMERICANS
PRESS RELEASE (9/27/2013)- To mark its first anniversary, the Christian Association of Nigeria-American CANAN held a gala and award night in New York over the weekend.
Speaking at the event which was a roll call of eminent Nigerians in the United States, CANAN President Pastor Dr. James Fadele condemned the killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram terrorist sect pointing out that it is time for all Christians to arise and fight as “we can no longer keep quiet.”
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka also sent a solidarity message to the association, praising it for manifesting practical humanity.
In his solidarity message published in the event magazine, Nobel Laureate Soyinka said it is a relief “to find exceptions among one’s people, those who like CANAN, dedicate themselves…and manifest their humanity in practical ways.”
Going further Prof Wole Soyinka said “history will not forgive those who appease violators at the expense of the violated-their guilt transcends even the horrors inflicted by the violators. Posterity will however enshrine the example of the few who offer practical solace to the orphaned, the widowed and other traumatized innocents.”
Offering CANAN as the platform to engage the issues of concern to Nigerian-Americans , Fadele stated that the association gives voice to the vision of a great people, and voice to the voiceless.
The CANAN president described the essence of the gala to be in two fold, “to call attention to the material needs of the victims of Boko Haram through fund raising and also to showcase some of the best among the Nigerian community in different spheres of life in the United States.
In just one year of its existence, Fadele was thankful to God that amongst others, CANAN has become the voice of Nigerian Christians advocating the designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, FTO,
The association , he said has been recognized by the US and Nigerian governments, as well as launched and is now disbursing a relief fund for victims of Boko Haram.
In his keynote address, Professor Babatunde Osotimehim traced the cause of the Boko Haram activities to increasing state of inequality in the society where a few endowed rich could induce the army of unemployed youths to do whatever they want.
To solve the problem, Osotimehin said education is key and governments should help grow the educational system in Nigeria.
Also in her short remarks at the event, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, former Education Minister and a CANAN trustee said the association is the first African advocacy group in Washington DC led by Africans. She challenged Nigerians abroad to take greater interest in the affairs of the country back home, and contribute to the desired change, submitting that Nigerian will remain one for God is the one that sets the boundaries of nations.
Nigeria’s Ambassador Professor Adebowale Adefuye commended the CANAN initiative and their efforts to bring Nigerians together to fight a cause. On Boko Haram, he indicated that the federal government is liaising with various organizations within and outside the country to end the Boko Haram insurgence.
In the awards, United States Congressman, Peter King was given the Friend of Nigeria award. The award was to honor the US congressman who as chairman of the US House of Representatives, Homeland Security Committee, stood up to the pressure from special interest groups and the media and gave a lending hand to fight Boko Haram.
Speaking after the award, Congressman King reiterated his position to ensure that Boko Haram is designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization so as to be able to deal with the crisis. According to him, if Nigeria is not free from Islamic radicalization, the US is also not free.
Other award recipients were the Association of Nigerian Pharmacists in Tampa Bay Area a body that got right to conduct its own accreditation, the first of its kind in the US.
Young star, Emmanuel Ohuabunwa was also given an award for emerging as the first black to make a 3.98 GPA in John Hopkins university.
Also on the list of award winners was Professor Toyin Falola who was honored as the top Nigerian Academic in the US and Professor Ibrahim Gambari, a long standing Nigerian star at the United Nations honored with a lifetime achievement award in Diplomacy and Public Service.
Dr Ola Akinboboye was given an award for being the leader of black cardiologists in US. So also was Dr Augustine Esogbue, the only Nigerian to serve on the NASA Board so far who received a lifetime achievement award in Engineering and Technology.
The first Nigeria-born superior judge in the United States, Ms Bunmi Awoniyi also got an award. Also on the list of award winners was chief Usua Amanam founder of Nigeria’s first private refinery and Professor Adefuye for his outstanding achievements as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US.