By Hammed Shittu
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kwara State chapter at the weekend expressed concern over the continuous marginalisation of Christians in terms of political appointments since the present administration came into office on May 29, 2019, in the state.
The group said the ‘ugly development’ has negated the promise of the state Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, that he would be fair to all during his electioneering in the 2019 general election.
In an open letter to the governor signed by CAN Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Reuben Idowu Ibitoye and Most Rev. Paul Olawoore respectively, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Ilorin, CAN lamented that “none of the nine federal legislators from Kwara State is a Christian.
“It was a situation that ordinarily should spark off suspicion of an agenda because such development was not a result of drought of astute Christian politicians in the process that culminated in the emergence of candidates for those positions.”
The CAN added: “As it stands today, almost all the appointments so far made by the governor do not reflect sensitivity to the religious plurality of the state.
“On coming on board of this government under your leadership on May 29, 2019, you promised to be fair to all Kwarans. However, right from that time till date, the Christians are yet to see a true reflection of that promise.
“For instance, the first three appointments you made-the Chief of Staff, the Secretary to the State Government and Chief Press Secretary to the governor, and later that of the Deputy Chief of Staff-did not include a single Christian. Yet, the Deputy Chief of Staff slot has always been reserved for a Christian once the Chief of Staff is a Muslim.”
The group stated that: “Out of the 16 commissioners that were appointed, only five are Christians while all Special Advisers are non-Christians. This indicates that out of the 26 member-state Executive Council, only six, including the deputy governor, are Christians.
“None of the chairmen of the Governing Boards of all statutory boards and commissions-Kwara State Civil Service Commission, Kwara State Judicial Service Commission, Kwara State House of Assembly Commission, Kwara State Polytechnic Board, Kwara State University (KWASU)Board, Local Government Service Commission, Teaching Service Commission, International Aviation College and IVTEC just to mention but a few so far appointed is a Christian.
“Still in continuation of the marginalisation, appointments of both the Rector of Kwara State Polytechnic and the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University were schemed against the emergence of suitably qualified Christian academics.
“Again, out of the eight Permanent Secretaries so far appointed by the governor, only two are Christians. Coupled with this is the unholy appointment of junior staff to superintend as acting general managers over their most senior colleagues who are Christians in two of the three media houses in the state.”
CAN opined further that “our frustrations and why we resorted to writing an open letter is for Your Excellency to note that this open letter became our last option, after several efforts made to meet you privately to table our observations on several issues, including the pressing issue of technical ban placed on prayer and preaching in our schools by the state Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, proved abortive.
“We have managed that absurd policy with optimal maturity and avoided media altercation in the belief that you will be available for a quick resolution of the matter and other connected issues.
“But to our utter dismay, the events of recent times and your evasiveness leave us with no other option than to shout out if our whispers are too inaudible for your ears.”
The organisation, therefore, called for an urgent amendment in the future appointments in the state in order to reflect the religious plurality of the people of the state.