The disagreement between the Kwara State Government and the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN over the claim of the Christian body that Christians in the state are marginalized has deepened into a serious crisis.
Before now, the state chapter of CAN had met with Gov. Fatai Ahmed and complained bitterly about what it believed to be the marginalization of Christians in respect to political appointments and career prospect of Christians in the State’s Civil Service.
It had claimed that out of about 147 political positions in the state, less than 30 are Christians.
But the body’s position was however, contested by the governor who was of different opinion.
Indication of the looming war between the two emerged over the weekend when the Kwara State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN turned down the State Government’s invitation to participate in the Church Service to commemorate this Year’s Independence Celebrations.
In protest, the Christians umbrella body also directed all its members intending to embark on this year’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem to shun any sponsorship offer from the state government.
At the end of its emergency meeting held in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital over the weekend, the body called out its members to instead gather at the premises of the United Missionary Theological Church, UMCA, along Offa Garage Road Ilorin by 5pm this Sunday for “a special prayer for the nation.”
According to its Chairman, Dr. James Folaranmi, “we received few days ago a letter from the government inviting our organization to this year’s service for the nation’s independence anniversary.
“But we have told the concerned authority that can two persons walk or work together except they had first agreed? In view of our position and the Governor’s own, we are not in tandem and we can’t be hypocritically organizing any service ordered by the Government that is denying our existence in the State.
“Because we love our father land, all Christian faithful will gather at the UMTC on Sunday evening to pray for the peace and progress of our dear country.
“And no Christian in the State should accept any Jerusalem sponsorship from the government. These are the decisions reached today at the end of our emergency meeting”.
The Christian community in Kwara had few weeks ago alleged a deliberate ploy by the State Government to shut out qualified Christian faithful from occupying key political and career positions under the government of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
The CAN further came up with statistics of serving political office holders in the State alleging that the positions and number given to Christians were a ridiculous disparity to the population of Christians in the State.
It would be recalled that Gov. Ahmed at his monthly media chat programme on the network of Radio and television stations in the State tagged ‘The Governor Explains,’ debunked the Christians’ claims adding that appointments into political offices by his administration were purely on the basis of Local Government Areas and not religion saying; “and will never be on religion”.