Monday, September 2, 2013


3rd September, 2013
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Sunday, 1st September 2013, asked the Federal Government to withdraw the query given to the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Festus Odimegwu, and apologise to him over the 2006 census controversy. The Christian umbrella organization took a swipe at the Federal Government whom it accused of treating as sacred cows.
We assert that CAN has an anti-North agenda and the Christian umbrella body is merely using the census issue as a smokescreen to realize this. By targeting certain leaders, bureaucrats and politicians of Northern extraction, CAN leadership is simply exposing itself as implacable jingoists who are out to use every available tool, both fair and foul, to bring the North to its knees. Available indices only point towards one direction as far as the objective of CAN is concerned, viz, to turn the North into a Christian enclave or destroy it in the alternative. CAN is indulging in ethnic profiling.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warns President Jonathan not to be deceived by the antics of CAN. This is a body deeply committed to committing wrongdoings only to be the first to accuse Muslim leaders of being the perpetrators. Seizing every opportunity availed by the traditional pro-CAN sentiment in the Western-oriented media, CAN abuses its monopoly of the paraphernalia of propaganda with astounding impunity.
Neither the Federal Government nor CAN should mistake the cool-headedness and maturity of Muslim leaders for a sign of weakness or cowardice. On the contrary, the attitude of Muslim leaders is informed by high level of responsible leadership, exemplary discipline and an unparalleled degree of patriotism. Records show that the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has never issued confrontational statements or employed provocative language since its inception whereas the archives are replete with several instances of the use of reckless and unpalatable statements from CAN. This last pronouncement issued by the Christian body falls within such category.
We challenge CAN to cite just one instance whereby NSCIA issued a provocative statement and we will cite trailer-loads of examples of unguarded statements emanating from CAN leadership. The time has come to put the records straight.  
MURIC denounces these last declarations as baseless, reckless and unbecoming of a pulpit sermon. It is a deliberate attempt to heat up the polity. We charge CAN to join hands with the Federal Government in dousing tension particularly at a time like this when a lot of people are on edge.
We find it very amusing that CAN is now accusing the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) of dabbling into politics every time. CAN said in its latest statement and we quote: "Since when has ACF become a political party that every time they will always dabble into politics?" This is hypocrisy of the highest order because ACF has never hidden its identity as a pressure group. This is normal in a democracy. Why should CAN attempt to silence ACF? By the way, who should comment more on politics, a pressure group or a religious body? We implore CAN leadership to inject some modicum of sincerity into its public declarations in order to avoid misleading its followers.
How dare CAN accuse Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank, of turning the CBN into an Islamic agenda? Can CAN say that it is not aware of the open secret that the whole of Nigeria is a Christian project? No, CAN cannot! Was CAN not leading a campaign of Nigeria for Christ particularly in the pre-Shariah period 1979-1999? The Christian body is simply exposing the major stock-in-trade of its leadership, namely, blackmail.
We consider it mean, demeaning and highly denigrating that CAN will turn national issues into personal ones as it rants on the same Sanusi, "Why have they not called Sanusi to order? This is a man who will dress islamically to office in a manner that is contrary to the banking code. Yet, the heavens didn't fall."
Now we know where CAN is coming from! The above complaint about Sanusi's Islamic dress highlights CAN's preoccupation at the moment. As far as CAN is concerned, there is a deadly virus in anything that has a tinge of Islam in it. This includes, but is not limited to, Islamic dresses, Islamic organizations, Muslim leaders, Islamic traditions, the religion of Islam itself and every Muslim person. MURIC reminds CAN that those who hold Muslims in contempt will not see anything good in Muslims and cannot coexist peacefully with Muslims. This is an interesting finding for sociologists. It is also food for thought for those looking for solution to the crises in places like Plateau State.
There is however one area where we agree with CAN when it said, "The only solution to these problems is a national conference come 2014 to address all the issues in Nigeria where it would be determined whether we will remain together or peacefully part ways..." As far as we are concerned, a sovereign National Conference (SNG) has become sine qua non in present day Nigeria. However, unlike CAN that is envisaging a balkanization of the country after the SNG, MURIC looks forward to Nigerians allowing themselves to determine how to live together peacefully without parting ways.
For long CAN's president Oritsejafor raved at Muslims in general of being behind the Boko Haram phenomenon but we were shocked to our marrows when Oritsejafor maintained a conspiratorial silence two weeks ago when Muslims were killed in large number inside two different mosques by the same Boko Haram.
MURIC appeals to Muslim leaders and the adherents of Islam throughout Nigeria to ignore the provocative pronouncements of CAN and continue on their avowed path of responsible leadership cum responsive followership. We ask Muslims to continue to love and to forgive, to tolerate, to understand, to share and to care. In particular, we urge Northern leaders not to respond to CAN in like manner in order to avoid an implosion. The rest of the world is waiting for the actualization of the prediction of Nigeria's breakup in 2015. It shall not be in Allah's Mighty Name.
Finally, we dismiss CAN's demand for apology from the Federal Government to Odimegwu. We ask the Federal Government to consider the demand as one coming from an overbearing body. Such apology can only mean one thing, that FG is controlled by CAN and that the government lacks dignity, integrity and institutional honour.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
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Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace

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