Traditionalists, CAN disagree over Osun schools crisis

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BY GBENGA OLARINOYE

OSOGBO — Traditionalists in Osun State under the aegis of Traditional Worshipers Association have blamed the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the state for allegedly inciting Christians against the state government over the recent merger of public primary and secondary schools in the state.

The President of the association, Chief Idowu Awopetu, who spoke in Osogbo, yesterday, accused the leadership of CAN in the state of fanning the ember of discord among the people of the state on the education policy of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola led government.

He alleged that the leadership of CAN has shown a high level intolerance with adherents of other faiths in the state, pointing out that the recent merger of public schools could not have generated crisis if Christians are accommodating and tolerant of other believers.

He described as absurd a statement credited to the state chairman of CAN, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya that the recent merger of schools embarked upon by the state government was capable of triggering terrorism, saying that such statement, capable of causing crisis, should have been avoided by a religious leader.

“We expect credible leadership of a religious organisation like CAN to be mindful of their utterances, especially those that can fan the ember of discord in our dear state, knowing the volatile nature of security and religion in our country,” he stressed.

He also called on security agencies in the state to investigate the CAN chairman over the statement credited to him, just as he warned the CAN Chairman not to provoke the adherents of other faiths in the state.

Chief Awopetu recalled that government had since 1975 taken over the ownership of schools from the missionary, and warned the CAN leadership in the state not to refer to any public school as missionary school irrespective of the name it bears.

He also challenged the leadership of CAN in the state to present evidence of their contributions to the up-keep of the schools referred to as missionary schools in the last 35 years.

CAN reacts

Osun State chairman of Christian Association of Nigerian, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya in his reaction to the allegation, said the leadership of the association are people of peace, who have been co-existing with other religous leaders in the state peacefully.

“We are not inciting anybody against the government in Osun State. What we are only doing is to protect the interest of Christians in the state and they are equally free to protect the interest of their members too.”

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