About three weeks after the death of General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, the family of the deceased appeared to have distanced themselves from the leadership of the association over his burial.
Consequently, Asake’s family has written to CAN, rejecting the participation of its leaders in the funeral activities.
The rejection came barely a day after CAN set up a burial committee chaired by Rev. Stephen Adegbite “to organise a befitting farewell” for its late general secretary.
Although it was not immediately clear if he had returned to Nigeria, the President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, was said to have travelled to Philadelphia, United States of America, few hours after Asake’s death was announced.
A source in CAN stated that few hours after Asake’s death, some senior officers of CAN reportedly asked his personal assistant to surrender the keys to the deceased’s office.
Since his death, there have been indications of an imminent succession battle.
The family of Asake conveyed their feelings in a terse letter signed by his first son, Aminchi Musa-Asake.
The letter addressed to the Assistant General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola, was obtained on Saturday.
He said, “I received your letter dated May 22, 2018. I want to thank the Christian Association of Nigeria for reaching out to my family and wanting to commiserate with us on the passing on of my father. You have been so generous to offer us assistance with the planning of his burial, even planning a service of songs and a commendation service. But at this point, I must ask CAN to stop, we do not need your assistance.
“The family has taken an independent decision that we will be solely responsible for the burial of our father, late Rev. Dr. Musa Asake. We have already set up an independent committee and we will proceed accordingly with our plans. Thank you.”
Nobody can stop us – CAN committee
Meanwhile, the committee set up by CAN has vowed to proceed with its plans to be part of the burial because “he died while still in the service of CAN and the association owes him the last respect.”
Speaking in a telephone interview, the Chairman of the committee, Bishop Adegbite, who revealed that the body is composed of representatives of the five blocs that make up CAN, said they were going ahead with their plans regardless of the position of the Asake family.
“The family has a choice not to be in support but the person we are going to bury died in office as General Secretary of CAN which is bigger than his family. When he took up the appointment, the understanding was that if he died in office there are things that must be done by the association for him.
“So nobody can stop that. That is what we going to accord him as the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, not as Rev. Dr. Asake. We owe him the duty and it is something that must be done for him. It’s like saying the President of Nigeria dies and the family says Nigeria should not participate in his burial. Does that make sense?
“It’s not for the President but for the man who is occupying the seat. So, that must be done. State burial must be given to any state officer. Asake was a national officer of CAN, so CAN must organize a national burial service for him; and that must be done by the grace of God.” Asked if there was a possibility of mending fences with the family before the burial, he said:
“We are having a meeting on Monday with the family. When we meet, we’re going to harmonise our differences. As a matter of fact, I have not been told by the family that we cannot be part of the burial.
The last thing I heard was that a meeting has been scheduled for Monday (tomorrow) and we are going to be there to organize a befitting burial for our General Secretary”.
Adegbite hinted that an emergency NEC meeting of CAN had been scheduled for June 1 in Abuja and the only agenda of that meeting was to plan the burial of the CAN General Secretary.