By Mansir Lawal Kaware
The National conference, convened about three months ago on 17/3/2014, is charged with the responsibility for charting a new course for the country. The body considered all aspects of the Nigerian Nation aimed at bringing positive changes to the country. While the delegates have a right to discuss and come-up with suggestions on diverse issues, there may be some of the areas the conference can not pass a resolution for the affected persons without recourse to the generality of those concerned. One of such issues is religion. Muslims and Christians believe that the source of their religions is from God. Believers in the two religions run their lives in accordance with the scriptures sent to them through their messengers. Unless one is a believer of either religion he cannot have the required knowledge and guidance to take decision for others or decide on their behalf on what is to be done.
A good and strong building is expected to start from the foundation. As far as the religious issues are concerned the base of the conference is weak and can therefore not support the building properly which eventually will lead to its collapse. That is to say the membership of the conference was in a ratio of 2:1 between Christians and Muslims, making it lopsided in favour of the Christians. Whether the action was intentional or not the reality is that Christians have doubled the number of Muslims at the conference. Jama’atu Nasril Islam had complained on
20/3/2014 over the undue favour given to Christians. The Sultan of Sokot oAlhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, also led some prominent Muslims to Aso Villa on 26/3/2014 where he submitted a protest letter to President Jonathan over the lopsided membership of the conference delegates against the Muslims. These were in addition to hues and cries from various Muslims quarters.
Under this circumstance the conference can take decision on other issues as they affect the nation, but it can not take decision on Islam and its activities because the Muslim population of delegates is not there to do so. Taking decision on Islam by whatever process, either by consensus or voting will not be binding on the Nigerian Muslims, because it would mean imposing Christian views on the Muslims. How do you vote in a house with 2/3 majority when they have no idea about Islam and how Muslims practice the religion. Sentiment aside one can not direct his
neighbor to cook Yam simply because he decided to cook it in his house, bearing in mind that he did not supply the neighbours house with food items and he does not know what he has in his food store. The fact that President
Jonathan did not amend the conference membership despite the complaints has usurped the powers of the conference to make decision in respect of Islam and Muslims.
In the light of that, the Tuesday 27/5/2014 voting at which churches and mosques were listed among tax payers and similar decisions can not affect Muslims and Islam. Since the Christian majority voted for it.
Then it will be for the Churches to pay, more so all the examples given were restricted to Pastors and Churches, frowning at church leaders owning private jets at the expense of poor church members. Even the said Naseer Kura
representing Civil Societies who made the contribution could not mention any Imam or Mosque that owned a jet or has a fleet of cars. In fact, unless an Imam runs private business, he can not own a car unless if it is donated to him, and one day he will not be seen in the car because he has no money to buy fuel. How will he be asked to pay tax to the government. IssacIghure who represented Guild of Editors also mentioned that some heads of Churches owned private jets while many of their members are in abject poverty. As the decision was taken through a voice
vote Dr. Bello Halliru a former Minister of Defence said there was no clear winner and called for allowing delegates to go for division. The Deputy Chairman of the conference Professor BolajiAkinyemi agreed to that, though many delegates were reported to have disagreed arguing that the matter has already been decided.
But the question is who are the many delegates, it simply refers to the Christians two third majority, and we are
saying they have taken decision for the Christians. We believe the Pastors, Churches and other Christian will have no quarrel with that since the decision was that of Christian majority who also know the religion of Christianity. As for the Muslims, individual states should be allowed to take decision on what to do on all the issues raised.
In Islam Imams and mosques committees are not allowed to levy any follower. I supposed even Naseer Kura can not tell us that he was asked to pay any amount before praying in a mosque at any Muslim community in the country.
Mansir Lawal Kaware wrote in from Katsina