“The Enemies Were Trying To Play Some Pranks” – CAN President Oritsejafor’s Wife Addreses $9.3m Scandal

Last week, the board vindicated the Pastor of all claims. Read here if you missed it.


Wife of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and founder of the Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Mrs Helen Oritsejafor, in this interview with Nigerian Tribune spoke on the nation’s security challenges, the $9.3m arms deal and the church’s forthcoming Jubilee Word Festival among other issues with Kehinde Oyetimi.

Read excerpts from the interview:

Your husband who is the CAN president received a lot of bashing lately. What is your reaction to this?

For us southerners, we may not really appreciate what Papa Ayo Oritsejafor is doing and the role he is playing in Christianity in Nigeria because we are not directly affected by the activities of the terror group, Boko Haram. Christians in the North are the ones experiencing it; they are the ones losing their loved ones. Their houses are being burnt and their young ones are daily abducted. The northerners value him very much. They know that whatever he is going through today is because of them. It was actually them who came to persuade him to run for CAN presidency. The first time they came, he told them he would think about it. They came back again and kept coming because they know who he is. He is a good man. If there is anything I know my husband to be is that he is a good man to a fault, and sometimes I really feel for him. Unfortunately, today’s society does not value a man like this especially those of us in the South. He is much respected in the North.

Pastor Mrs Helen Oritsejafor

How did the news of his jet’s involvement in the $9.3m money for arms saga hit you?

I was really surprised. I didn’t even know anything about it. I didn’t even know our plane was out of the country, because we leased it out to a company in Abuja so that we would be able to utilise whatever comes out of the deal for the maintenance of the plane, because it is quite expensive. So we didn’t know. Even though we read and heard some comments some people made concerning it, unknown to us that our plane was actually involved. In all honesty, by the time we got to know that it was Papa’s plane, we knew that the enemies were trying to play some pranks. It is natural, because he is a symbol of Christianity in Nigeria. The only thing is I wasn’t expecting people to get really dirty as they did.

Pastor Mrs Helen Oritsejafor

It’s sad to see Christian leaders calling for the resignation of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and so on when some of them don’t even know the details of what happened.

And some of them too have betrayed themselves. We also know the lives they live. I don’t even see some of those people as Christian leaders. I want to use this opportunity to appreciate our Catholic brethren, our Baptist brethren and all of the five blocks of the Christian Association of Nigeria who stood their grounds knowing who they have as their leader and, of course, standing to confront anything negative concerning him.

When I read the communiqué after a meeting they had in Abuja, they said this jet wasn’t bought by President Jonathan, but if anyone has evidence to this effect that it was bought by President Jonathan, make it public. Number two, they also said that this particular plane was leased out before now. If anyone has an evidence to show that it was not, make it public. I’m still waiting. I haven’t seen anyone to do that. I think he is a man who is worthy of commendation. A lot of people chickened out because they want to appear in the good books of everybody. No one really wants to come out. Everyone tries to shy away from anything that has to do with things like Boko Haram. He is the only one by the special grace of God, and no wonder God decided to put him in this position for such a time like this. If we had a weakling there, I don’t know what would have happened to this country by now. It would have been a different ball game entirely.

Pastor Mrs Helen Oritsejafor


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