National Confab: CAN faults Sultan’s assertion on delegates slant

The Christian Association of Nigeria has disagreed with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on the allegation that Muslims are marginalised in the composition of delegates at the ongoing national conference.

Speaking to our correspondent on Friday, the Secretary-General, CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, however said the protest was a plot to frustrate the ongoing conference.

He said, “The JNI had a press conference where they said Christians are 52 per cent at the conference while we are just 40 per cent of the country’s population. I responded immediately. I don’t understand what the Sultan is up to.

“Is the conference on religious basis? We are going to respond because they are trying to divide this country and create a big problem. Let the whole world know that the Sultan and his people are trying to make sure that this national conference does not take place.

“They kicked against it and they did not succeed. Now, they are creating a problem for the country and I don’t know whether the President is listening to them or not. Whatever it is, this is not a religious matter; this is a Nigerian matter.”

Asake stated it was also wrong to conclude that the allegation of marginalisation was by the North against the South.

He added, “I am from the North, I am a Christian, but they don’t count me. I occupy a very sensitive position in the country as the CAN General Secretary, I would have thought that when they are fighting for the cause of the North, I would be consulted and mobilised as a northerner.

“Why are they not dealing with Christians? Whenever they are discussing anything about the North, why are Christians not included? The North is not Islamic; that is the lie they are trying to tell. Who made them leaders over us? I am a northerner, when did we make them leaders?”

He noted that both Muslims and Christians were given six delegate slots each.

The apex body of Muslims in the North, the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, had on March 19, 2014, accused the Jonathan-led administration of pursuing a hidden agenda over its “insistence” on convening and conducting the confab.

The Secretary-General of the Abubakar-led JNI, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, had alleged that Muslims were short-changed in the selection of delegates to the confab.

He said the process of selection of delegates  negated  the spirit of democracy as majority of delegates to the conference were Christians.

According to Aliyu, 52 per cent of delegates to the conference are Christians, while Moslems share the remaining percentage with other religions.

It could be recalled that the Sultan had on Wednesday led some prominent Muslims to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to protest before President Goodluck Jonathan.

Abubakar, who is the Chairman, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the Islamic leaders, specifically, faulted the composition of the national conference, saying it was skewed against Muslims.

The monarch met with Jonathan in company with the Secretary-General, NSCIA, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai; a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Lawal Uwais; and a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.

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