Nigerians on social media have asked Poju Oyemade, Senior Pastor and Founder of The Covenant Nation, to withdraw the invitation of the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai, from this year's The Platform.
The platform is an annual conference organised by the church to commemorate Nigeria’s independence every October 1.
Many Nigerians on social media have condemned the inclusion of the governor from the list of speakers for this year's programme.
Some claimed El-Rufai had been instrumental in the killing of Christians in the North and also played the religion card by accusing Christians of involvement in terrorism.
Nigerians are consistently calling for the removal of the governor's name from the list with the #BoycottThePlatform trending on Twitter.
Social media user, @cremechicc11 wrote, “Dear @pastorpoju, we are annoyed and disgusted! We are insulted, that you would bring an ethnic jingoist into such a prestigious gathering. Especially one who has slandered the Christian faith. We will have NOTHING to do with you till the evil man is gone. #BoycottThePlatform."
Another user, @ayemojubar tweeted, “I endorse #BoycottThePlatform. Dear @pastorpoju, ‘Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character. and moral’ - 1 Corinthians 15:33. ‘The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence’ - Proverbs 10:11.
“If not for anything, the weeping, the gnashing of teeth and the suffering of Christians in Southern Kaduna is enough reason to delist this man on #ThePlatform. #BoycottThePlatform.”
@Real_AmakaIke said, “No sane persons or organisation will think of inviting a murder like @elrufai or even @GovWike in any leadership program. @elrufai is not different from many oppressors of Christians worldwide. #BoycottThePlatform.”
@afrispheric wrote, “If El-Rufai needed a church organised an event to speak at, he could have gone to the funeral service at ECWA of those university students killed in Kaduna. But he did not and did not even send a representative. #BoycottThePlatform.”
For @drpenking, the governor ought not to accept the invitation in the first place. “If El Rufai still has any iota of shame in him, he wouldn’t accept the invitation to speak at The Platform. Somebody who persecutes Christians openly and expresses his hate for them openly, what is he going there to say?
@firstladyship said, “NBA distanced itself from the divisive El-Rufai, for GOOD REASON. Apart from superintending the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna, & his ‘body bags’ statement, El-Rufai has no legitimacy being among a congregation of brethren. We are unequally yoked! #BoycottThePlatform.”
@TheoAbuAgada said: “Nasir El-Rufai is not morally fit to stand on the podium where Christians are gathered. Not after denying Southern Kaduna Christians, the deputy governor’s position. @pastorpoju, we are disappointed. #BoycottThePlatform.”
@AriyoAristotle wrote, “I endorse #BoycottThePlatform. We must be deliberate about leadership and our future going forward. Dear @pastorpoju, if we fellowship with evil, can we pray for the grace of God to abound? A Bigot on the only Platform is a conversation taken too far. #BoycottThePlatform.”
Twitter user, @verynigeriangal said, “Dear @pastorpoju, if the Nigerian Bar Association could rescind the invitation for @elrufai a well-known purveyor of hate and violence with unbidden hate towards Christians I see no reason why the Church of Jesus Christ should have him on their stage #BoycottThePlatform.”
@SKefason said: “Dear @pastorpoju, it is with great disappointment that I type this tweet. How could you invite an ethnic bigot, an expansionist who has been balkanising Christian Chiefdoms & establishing Emirates to speak on #theplatform? #BoycottThePlatform."
@Franeb alleged, “Dear @pastorpoju El-Rufai on that platform means you're endorsing a man who paid ransom to bandits who killed Christians. Five students were recently killed by kidnappers because he refused their parents access to negotiate. #BoycottThePlatform.”
@ify_zoe stated, “Dorothy Yohanna, one of the Greenfield university students killed was buried yesterday. The funeral service was conducted at ECWA Goodness church Narayi Kaduna. How do you think the Pastor & Church members will feel seeing another church giving El-Rufai a platform? #BoycottThePlatform."
Meanwhile, in 2020, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), withdrew El-Rufai's invitation to speak at one of their conferences following an outcry by some lawyers who said the governor stands against what the profession represents.
In a petition to Koyinsola Ajayi, chairman of the technical committee of the NBA conference, lawyers under the aegis of Open Bar Initiative Lawyers said they had “suffered untold persecution” from the governor.
The group also said that in addition to governing a state that has been described as “the most dangerous in Nigeria in 2020, El-Rufai has on several occasions abused the rights of Nigerians”.