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Obasanjo: I’m a Christian — but I refused to finance CAN building with public funds

Dyepkazah Shibayan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he refused to use government funds to complete the Ecumenical Centre better known as National Christian Centre in Abuja.

The centre is located in the heart of the federal capital territory (FCT).

Speaking at a book launch to mark the 85th birthday of Sunday Mbang, prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, in Lagos on Friday, Obasanjo said instead he set up a fundraising event for the completion of the building.

The former president said if he had used government funds to complete the centre, he would be forced to do the same for other religions.


“He (prelate) asked me in his capacity as the head of the Christian Association in Nigeria that I should bring money to complete the Ecumenical Centre as they called it then, now it is known as National Christian Centre,” he said.

“I said, ‘No, I don’t have; I won’t put government money into that type of thing because if I do it for Christians, I have to do it for Muslims, I have to do it for Babalawo (traditionalist), I have to do it for Sango worshippers. No.

“He insisted. Again, persistence. I had no choice to agree to now become a fundraiser for the completion of the National Christian Centre and I did.


“I got people together –the rich, the not-so rich, the poor, the not-so poor and we raised money to complete the National Christian Centre. I don’t believe he has been given credit for that work because if he had not gone the way he did, may be that centre will still remain uncompleted till today.”

Obasanjo said he and Mbang worked together during his tenure as president “out of necessity”.

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