Nigeria mourns as CAN general secretary, Musa Asake, passes on

*Dr. Asake

The death of the general secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Musa Asake, 68, has thrown the Christian community, nay Nigeria into deep mourning.

Asake’s death on Friday, May 11, 2018 occurred two weeks after he led Christians under the umbrella of CAN on a nationwide protest against the killing of Christians by militia herdsmen.

Since his death, condolence messages have been coming in torrents with organisations and prominent Nigerians expressing sadness at the loss of the vocal and fearless cleric.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his condolence message to CAN and the family of the deceased asked God to comfort them.

The President’s message was contained in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

“President Muhammadu Buhari joins the national leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Christian community in Nigeria in mourning the passing on of the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. (Dr.) Musa Asake.

“The President, while commiserating with the family of the late reverend, prays that God Almighty will comfort all those who mourn the departed, and grant his soul eternal rest,” said Buhari.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara described Asake as a “bridge builder” and a clergyman who had passion for Christ and peace initiatives.

“The late clergy lived a life worthy of emulation. He was bridge builder and a man of peace since his days as the Secretary General of Evangelical Church Winning All.

“It is with a deep feeling of loss that I condole with the body of Christ and the late reverend’s family.

“Late Dr. Asake was devout man of God, courageous leader and scholar par excellence,” said Dogara who also prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest in His bosom.

Similarly, the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NOCEF) described the late cleric as a “hero” and an “epitome of humility whose death has created a very big vacuum in the body of Christ in Nigeria.”

Spokesman for NOCEF, Sunday Oibe, said in a statement entitled, ‘Musa Asake: We’ve lost a strong pillar’ that the deceased was humble, unassuming and not materialistic.

Oibe said Asake will be greatly missed in the conglomeration of 15 churches under the aegis of Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (meaning, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christians) and Evangelical Church Winning All.

“The NOCEF received with shock the death of one of our strong pillars and General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). We are in pains because it is very difficult to use one word or expression to describe Asake.

“But Asake is an epitome of humility, unassuming and selfless man who is not greedy. In my interaction with him since I met him, Asake keeps telling me that he was born in poverty, enjoys growing in poverty and doesn’t look for money. But he held on to his fate very strongly and his passion for the church in Nigeria, particularly in the North is very wonderful.

“Asake is an epitome of humility, his death has created a very big vacuum in the body of Christ in Nigeria, the North, NOCEF and TEKAN/ECWA. Asake is many things to different people. But to us, he’s a hero that deserves celebration.

“You can see the humility of Jesus Christ in him. Anytime we talk, Philippians Chapter 2 guides him. It said, ‘let this man be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.’ He is guided by the spirit of humility, as exemplified by the Lord, Jesus Christ. People who are Junior to Asake will abuse him. And Asake will take it humbly,” said NOCEF.

In its condolence message, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the CAN scribe as a “great man” adding that he was “passionate about discipline and hard work.”

The message which was signed by MURIC’s director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, reads: “The national secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake, died…after a brief illness.

“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) expresses immense shock. We commiserate with CAN President, Dr. Adebayo Oladeji, members of his executive as well as the entire body of Christ in Nigeria. We also condole with the nuclear and extended family of the deceased.

“We share the grief of his immediate friends and admirers. We are with his mourners in spirit at this trying period. Our hearts are heavy with sadness. In particular, our hearts go to his widow, Mrs. Asake, the biological and spiritual children he left behind, his brothers and sisters. We pray that Almighty Allah will give them all the strength to bear this great loss.

“We invite Christian youths to emulate Rev. Musa Asake. He was a great man. He was passionate about discipline and hard work. He worked tirelessly for a better and more secure Nigeria. He was deeply committed to what he believed in and he left behind a legacy of activism, industry and patriotism. His sudden demise has left a yawning gap which will be difficult to fill.

“We remind Nigerians that death is a necessary end and nobody knows when it will be his or her turn. But what matters is what we leave behind. Let us therefore seek a better and more secure life for our country, our children and generations yet unborn

“As we round up, we charge religious leaders to learn from the lessons which the late Rev. Musa Asake left behind. These include forging love between Christians, Muslims and traditionalists in Nigeria. Our children must not grow up to hate one another. Our children must not grow into a world of rancor and animosity. Despite our differences, Musa Asake was an epitome of love, goodwill, humility, forgiveness and tolerance. We disagreed on matters of faith but we always agreed on issues affecting our dear country, Nigeria and humanity.”

*Dr. Asake

CAN which confirmed Asake’s death in a statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, special assistant, media and communications to the CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle said the clergyman died after a brief illness.

“His last official assignment was the press conference he addressed few days ago on the incessant killings in the country, where CAN called on Christians to embark on a peaceful protest with a view to waking up the Federal Government and the security agencies to their constitutional responsibilities. Asake’s burial to be announced later,” said CAN.

Born on September 15, 1952 at Unguwar Rimi Bajju-Kafanchan in Zango Kataf local government council, Kaduna State, Asake was vocal in the defence of Christianity in Nigeria.

He was vocal in the condemnation of the murder of a female Christian preacher, Mrs. Eunice Elisha in Kubwa, Abuja by suspected fanatics; the murder of Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme in Kano; the murder of Rev. Zakariya of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Obi, Nasarawa State attributing their death to “religious hatred and discrimination against non-Muslims in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.”

*Dr. Asake

Speaking on the killing of Christians in the country, the vocal cleric and dogged defender of Christianity once remarked: “ “From the way I see things happening, there is a grand plan to wipe out Christians in this country but by the grace of God it will not come to pass. That is why I am saying if the government is not going to protect us, then we have no choice but to protect ourselves. We will not continue to fold our hands and accept being killed for no reason. These killings are going on as usual and we have got to a point to say ‘enough is enough.’ Everybody has to defend themselves.

“That is not taking the law into our hands, it is defending ourselves. You cannot just sit down and allow people to kill you since you have nobody to help you –it’s not taking the law into your hand. If somebody breaks into your house, you have to deal with them. You slap me, I slap you. We have been preaching that ‘vengeance is of the Lord’ but we are being pushed to a certain level that we can no longer tolerate what is happening.

“As Christians, we don’t have anybody speaking for us; nobody is protecting us. They (the government) are leaving us to die as chickens and so I say ‘enough is enough’.

“The Bible says ‘watch and pray’. The Bible again tells us that if a thief is coming to your house and you are aware of it, you cannot go to bed and allow the thief to destroy your house and kill your family. You have to protect your family. So, we are not going to sit down and be deceived; people are using that verse (of the Bible) against us.”





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