The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has honoued Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State with a Friend of the Church award for meritorious service.
The governor bagged the first-of-its-kind award Saturday at the end of the two-day prayer summit and award presentation organised by CAN held at the Anglican Cathedral, GRA, Katsina.
The state CAN Chairman, Rev. Fr Richard Shuaibu-Liti, while conferring the award on Masari, described him as an outstanding governor who had exhibited good leadership qualities and all-inclusive governance in the state.
“We are here as leaders of the Christian community in Katsina State to express our deep sense of gratitude to the Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, who did not only exhibited an outstanding leadership style in general, but has exhibited an all-inclusive leadership and we want to confer on him the title ‘Friend of the Church’. This award is the first of its kind in the history of the association.
“The main reason why the entire state executive council of CAN unanimously agreed to honour your excellency is not far fetched, you are the first governor in Katsina who has identified with the church to an extent that you appointed three of our members as SSA Christian Affairs, SA Christian Women Affairs and SA indigenous Nigerians into your cabinet.”
He explained that the governor had expended billions of naira on sponsoring over 300 Christians on pilgrimage to the holy land of Israel for the past seven years and other assistance to the Christian community across the state.
The CAN chairman, however, admonished Governor Masari to include Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in the school curriculum in order to pave the way for the teaching of the subject in both public and private schools before the expiration of his second tenure.
He prayed for God to release the Christians who were abducted in a church at Unguwar Haruna in Kankara Local Government Area and other Nigerians across the country that are still in captivity and for the conduct of hitch-free 2023 elections.
He tasked Christians in the state to intensify prayers for God to choose credible and patriotic leaders that will pilot the affairs of the state and the country in the next four years, urging them to come out en masse to exercise their franchise during the forthcoming polls and eschew violence.
Responding, Governor Masari said Christians in Katsina State are indigents not residents, urging them to desist from travelling to other states to secure indigeniship “stay here and fight for your right”.
He attributed the challenges bedevilling the country to lack of good leadership and education, and called on Christian parents to enrol their children in schools to acquire education to tackle the myriad of predicaments confronting the nation.
The governor, while noting that there can never be peace in the country without justice and neighbourliness, warned political gladiators against using religion, tribal and regional differences to mislead ordinary Nigerians from following what he termed the wrong path.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Masari on Christians Affairs, Rev. Ishaya Jurau, told the gathering that the Masari-led government had sponsored 3,000 Christians for pilgrimage and plans were on to do more for the Christians community.
According to him, “Governor Masari is the only governor in the North-west that is sponsoring Christians for holy pilgrimage and is the first governor who is church friendly in the north.”