Some in the audience at the just concluded Northern Peace Conference were stunned when a former minister of Petroleum and former education minister, ex-Senator Jubril Aminu called for the banning of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).[IMG]/images/stories/jubrilaminu.jpg[/IMG]
Jubril Aminu claimed that of CAN was not proscribed, Muslims would be forced to form the Muslim Association of Nigeria. However, what many asked after Mr. Aminu made the comment is what he wants done to the Nigerian Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) or the Sucpreme Council on Sharia in Nigeria.
It was shocking to hear ex-Senator Aminu, a former Nigerian ambassador to the United States make such a claim especially as the Central Bank of Nigeria is currently in the process of promoting Islamic Banking as an alternative form of banking.
Many at the event are puzzled at the reason why a man, supposedly a statesman would target a particular religion and ask that they be denied their freedom of association rights as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution at a onference convened to deliberate on pace.
It would be recalled that durng his time as Babangida’s minister of education, the same Professor Jubril Aminu introduced the controversial policy of designing Nigerian school uniforms to be compliant to Islamic tradition, a policy that was stoutly resisted by the Christian community.
Reacting to Aminu’s calls, a Christian Pastor who has acheived national renown in other fields asked “since Aminu has been born till now, can he tell me how many times he has heard that Christians attacked a church, or that Christians attacked a religious organization. Even Aminu himself know the people who formet violence in the name of religion in Nigeria. As Christ said in Mattew 7:16, by their fruits you shall know them”
But perhaps speaking in a veiled way to people like Aminu who leave the issue of what was to be discussed to attack Christians, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Mattew Hassan Kukah accused Northern leaders of hypocrisy, a sentiment earlier re-echoed by the Chairman of the event, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
“Today, 99 per cent of our discussions are on Sardauna and about Sardauna; but we are being hypocritical. We are seriously looking at almajirai (beggars) in the North, while the Southern states are far developing their educational system to the extent that, the number in one of their states is more than all the ones in one of our zones.”
In the same vein, the Chairman of the Arewa Youth Forum, Alhaji Gambo Gujungu, at the event lambasted Northern leaders and accused them of holding a jamboree which would not change anything. Said he;
“From what we have seen and followed, there is nothing new that guarantees significant future, for the downtrodden Northern masses, be they Muslims or Christians, Hausa, Fulani, Bajju, Berom, Angas, Igala or Egbira in this conference.
“It is based on the foregoing that we make the following observations:
“The Peace Conference is nothing but waste of time and a jamboree and talk show, and also another unique opportunity for elite re-union aimed at renewing political lineages.
“Nothing more than that. There is nothing new and convincing that heralds a new dawn in the North. What is there that we have never heard? What did the main actors say that they have not been saying in the past decades?
“How many Peace Conferences did Sir Ahmadu Bello organise to bring about unity and development in the North?
“Even the South that is ahead of the North today; how many such gatherings have they organised to have a lead ahead of the North?
“In short the so called conference was purely politically motivated and not a genuine commitment as demonstrated there.
“It has nothing to do with the masses but just dancing with their lyrics but not the rhyme, as contained in the hymn book.
“What impact does the August meeting have on the lives of aggrieved Northerners in Maiduguri, Kano, Bauchi, Damaturu, or Southern Kaduna? What impact does it have on the Almajiri children in the streets?
“ACF should note that peace is priceless, and not cosmetic; rather it can only be achieved with sincere and honest leadership which we cannot vouch for in the North now.
“Our sympathy rather goes to few sincere individuals who actively engaged in the talk show but the reality is that the issue of forgiveness and reconciliation go beyond rhetoric or at a tea or coffee party. In fact the debate arising from one of the technical sessions confirmed our argument, for we witnessed how insincerity and sentiment dominated and beclouded the issue of the supposed Road Map to peace. As far as we are concerned, it is a jamboree and waste of public funds that would have been channelled to the ailing but crucial sectors in the North.
“We are conscious of how the New Nigerian Newspapers, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, along with other legacies of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello are in ruins today, except that the leaders are beautifying them with lies and insincerity.
“Till this very moment, Christians and Muslims in the North are still killing one another, because of religious manipulation of same elite. What have they done by directly concentrating their efforts in recociling feuding communities, and appealing to them to sheath the swords, they, the elite supplied them through preaching hatred, acrimony and false religiosity?