The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kwara State chapter, has decried the perceived marginalisation of Christians in the central Nigerian state by the state government and its agencies.
Kwara State’s CAN Chairman, Rev. James Folaranmi, made CAN’s displeasure known at a press conference held in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, recently.
According to Folaranmi, available records show that Christians are being marginalised at all levels in the state such as political appointments, employment generally, education and related matters, which he said violates the Nigerian Constitution.
He said: “For instance, out of 146 key political appointments in the state, there are only 29 Christians. So, if we want to go by percentage, what they have given us accounts for less than 10 percent, in a state where Christians are about 50 percent of the population.”
The Christian group leader also lamented that aside the governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, being a Muslim, most of his aides like the secretary to the State Government, Head of Service, the Chief of Staff are all Muslims, while the Chairman of Teaching Service Commission, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, heads of state-owned tertiary institutions as well as all the secretaries, treasurers, directors in the 16 local government areas are also Muslims.
Folaranmi opined that only five out of the 18 Commissioners in the state are Christians, only 7 out of the 21 Permanent Secretaries are Christians, while all Federal Government Chairmanship board appointees from the state are also Muslims.
On employment, he lamented that the chairman and the three other members of the state Civil Service Commission, a body that is in charge of employment, posting and discipline of civil servants, are all Muslims.
Little wonder, he said, Muslims are daily being recruited into the state civil service despite the impression being created by the commission that no employment was going on.
He decried the subtle agenda by government to scrap the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge by deliberately reducing the number of admission to institutions where teachers can be trained for this and the deliberate flooding of Christian Schools with Islamic teachers out of proportion to the number of Muslim pupils in such schools.
The latest absurdity, he lamented, was the systematic marginalisation of Christians in the selection rather than election of chairmanship candidates for the forthcoming local government elections by the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, showing that only one Christian out of 15 candidates has been selected by the leader of the party, Senator Bukola Saraki, despite the preponderance of Christians in areas such as Irepodun, Oke-Ero, Isin, Ifelodun, Offa and Oyun.
Folaranmi also pointed out that both the chairmen and deputies selected in some areas including Ifelodun where Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed hails from are Muslims.
CAN has given the state government seven days to make amends or “other actions may follow”.