By Balkis Tijani
The Kwara State chapter of the Juma’at Nasril Islam (JNI) has responded to the open letter by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kwara state chapter, in which the Christian body requested the Kwara State government to be fair and just in the distribution of political appointments.
In the letter titled, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’, the Kwara CAN had complained that appointments made so far by governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq had been heavily skewed against Kwarans who profess the Christian faith.
One of the topmost Muslim organizations, the Jama’at Nasril Islam (JNI) has now responded to the Christian body. In a rejoinder made available to newsmen earlier today (Monday), the JNI said the distribution of political appointments in Kwara had always been on the basis of geopolitical consideration rather than religious representation.
JNI also defended the specific allegation made by CAN that all elected members of the national assembly from Kwara are Muslims, saying the accusation is “ridiculous, divisive and irresponsible as the government has no hand whatsoever in who got elected to elective positions.”
Read full statement below:
The attention of Jama’at Nasril Islam (JNI) has been drawn to an open letter written by the kwara state chapter of the Christian association of Nigeria (CAN) to his Excellency, the executive governor of Kwara state, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
We will like to state from the onset that it has never been the duty of JNI to reply letters on behalf of government, we believe it is sufficiently capable of replying any letter written to it by any individual or group of people, but because of the sensitivity of religious issue and the dangerous way CAN is taking it, we are compelled to respond by clarifying issues for the peace to reign in our state. We therefore state as follows;
1. Political appointment in the state has never been, to the best of our knowledge, based on religious representation but on the geo-political consideration. Had it been so based on religious representation Muslims in the state ought to have cried out for not having fair share of political appointment for a very long time. Is it fair to Muslims in Kwara state to have Muslim-Christian combination as governors and deputy governors respectively knowing fully well that these deputy governors are picked from Muslim dominated areas like Ifelodun, Oyun and Offa.
As a matter of fact, the last dispensation has been too unfair to Muslims’ sensibility in the state having picked a Christian deputy governor from Baruten local government where Christians may not constitute up to 2% of the population. In the same vein, the unreasonable attitude of CAN also became apparent when the governor was even accused of not having a Christian among the 9 members of the national assembly. This is highly ridiculous, divisive and irresponsible as the government has no hand whatsoever in who got elected to elective positions. It is but a blatant blackmail to create religious disharmony in the state.
2. The fact that Muslims in Kwara state have never been known to beat drums of war when it comes to religious agitation or openly kick against government policies does not mean that they don’t know their rights and responsibilities. The only guiding principle for Muslims who are the overwhelming majority in the state is to keep peace and tolerate Christians wherever they come from.
3. Hues and cries of marginalization in Kwara state by Christian groups are not new and this is not the first time such accusing fingers will be pointed to government. We are not therefore surprised to see similar thing in the present open letter to his Excellency.
Christians must however be advised in their own interest that if Muslims are made to fraternize across local governments pushing aside ethnicity, tribal sentiment and political consideration, Christians will have themselves to be blame.
Finally, it is our candid opinion that all of us in the state irrespective of our religious leanings should support government at all levels and constructively criticize whenever the need arises. It is the development we want and it is the progress we aspire.
Professor Hamzat I. Abdulraheem
Secretary General JNI Kwara State