Most Chris­tian del­e­gates avoided Re­li­gion Com­mit­tee – Sec­re­tariat

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Fran­cis Okeke

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.

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