Most Christian delegates avoided Religion Committee – Secretariat
The secretariat of the National Conference yesterday denied any ploy to undermine Christians through the composition of the committee on religion, saying only 13 delegates who are Christians indicated interest to work in that committee.
A statement by the conference secretariat spokesman Akpandem James said before composition of committees, all delegates were asked to choose three committees they wish to serve in. Only 13 Christians and 20 Muslims chose to be in the committee on religion.
Daily Trust reports that more than half of the 492 delegates of the National Conference are Christians.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Tuesday issued a statement, through Mr. Sunny Oibe, in which it accused conference chairman Justice Idris Kutigi of harbouring an anti-Christian agenda regarding the composition of the committee on religion.
But the conference spokesman James said “there is no truth whatsoever in the unfortunate alarm raised...which tends to give the impression of an attempt to undermine Christians in the National Conference.
“In trying to whip up unnecessary sentiments, Oibe claimed that the Committee on Religion is made up of 12 Muslims and eight Christians. That is not correct. The Committee has 21 members – 11 Muslims and 10 Christians,” he said.
Explaining how the selection process was conducted, James said delegates were asked to submit names of three committees they would prefer to serve, in order of preference, with seven Christians indicating religion committee as their first choice, four picking it as second choice and two as third choice, making a total of 13.
For the Muslims, he said, three Muslims made the committee their first choice, seven made it their second choice and eight made it their third choice bringing the total number to 20.
James said even some delegates nominated by Muslim and Christian groups did not pick religion at all.
He said it would be “mischievous for anybody or group to insinuate or accuse the chairman or the leadership of the conference of ‘working out a script’ to undermine the interest of Christians in the dialogue body.”
“The two co-chairmen of the Committee on Religion could not have come from the North as CAN would have wished; and it would amount to peddling ignorance to think that a Christian from the South does not know what Christians in the North are facing, as Christendom is one body.”
The 11 Muslim delegates in the committee are Hajia Shetu Alfa, Hadija Dije Dattijo, Prof. Obini E. Ekpe, Prof. Layi Erinosho, Mal. Muzzammil Sani Hanga, Prof Munzali Jibril, Alhaji Nuruddeen Lemu, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Aisha Aliyu Gusau, Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede and Hajia Amina B. Omoti.
The 10 Christian delegates in the committee are Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaiye, Bishop Joseph D. Bagobiri, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, Prof. Andrew Haruna, Monsignor Obiora Ike, Barr. Godswill Iyoha Iyoke, Mrs Fati Eunice Ibrahim, Barr. John A. Achimugu, Dr Kate Okparaeke, and Dr. Jonathan Obaje.