Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PRESS RELEASE: CAN IS BLACKMAILING NATIONAL CONFERENCE
23rd April, 2014
CAN IS BLACKMAILING NATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday accused Justice Idris Kutigi, Chairman of the National Conference, of religious bias against Christians in the appointment of chairmen of committees.
Speaking through Sunny Oibe, its Director on National Affairs, CAN in a press statement issued on Tuesday complained about the composition of the committee on religion which CAN claimed is chaired by Alhaji Nurudeen Lemu.
Perhaps we should start by raising a point of correction. The committee on religion is co-chaired by a Christian and a Muslim, not just by a Muslim. The Christian co-chairman is Bishop Felix Ajakaiye.
We are perturbed that a religious body can openly indulge in subterfuge. CAN has deliberately ignored the macro to focus on the microcosm. CAN should tell the world the number of Christians and the number of Muslims at the national conference.
How can a body which takes the lion share of 303 complain about bias in favour of a group that has 189? It beats imagination. There is only one logical conclusion here, namely, that CAN is playing smart, blackmailing the national conference to ensure a win-win situation.
Where exactly is the injustice done to CAN? The committee on religion has two chairmen: a Muslim and a Christian. Imagine CAN disowning the Christian co-chairman, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye and the Christian member, Jonathan Obaje. It is laughable. CAN claims its co-chairman is representing Ekiti State at the confab and not CAN! Yet this co-chairman bears the title ‘bishop’. What is CAN’s problem?
It further goes to prove the Muslims right. MURIC had complained that Christians dominate the delegates from the South West and that Christian clerics were selected as Yoruba delegates. Ironically, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye who is representing Ekiti State is now being rejected by CAN. The question we should ask CAN is who would the bishop vote for in case of a division? Will he vote in favour of the Muslims? The world can now see who is being too clever by half.
Christians have an oppressively overwhelming majority of 303 while Muslims in the conference are just 189. Although the Muslims have gone crying to the father of the nation, President Jonathan, who promised to do something about it, nothing has been done weeks after the promise. While the Muslims are waiting patiently for the president to do justice, CAN deems it a good ploy to cry wolf again where there is none just to blackmail everyone into silence and retain the status quo.
CAN is simply showing the world that the best form of defence is to attack but only fools are deceived when the pot calls the kettle black. It is left to the conscience of the leadership of the national conference and the honourable delegates to decide whether or not they will allow themselves to be railroaded into submission.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) advises CAN to desist from causing distraction. A national conference is a more serious affair. CAN must cultivate the spirit of give and take. A winner-takes-all attitude must not be allowed to dominate affairs in a forum which is originally designed to engender harmony. It is a place for true patriots. CAN’s latest outcry is an attempt to divert attention from real issues.
A Daniel has come to justice. The pedigree of the duo of Justice Kutigi and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi is reassuring enough except for doubting Thomases and unrepentant cynics. The conference secretariat should go about its normal duty.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)