…Lampoons El-Rufai over alleged religious comment
By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly June 13th, former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark has asked the Senator- elect to ensure that they elect a Southern Christian as the President of the Senate.
In an open letter addressed to the 109 Senators-elect Friday, the Leader of Southern and Middlebelt Leaders Forum, SMBLF said that it has become imperative for a Southern Christian in order to build bridges of unity that were left in tatters during the eight years rule of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Leader also lampooned the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai
over his alleged claim that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress that produced President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima was a deliberate move to ensure the dominance of the Islamic religion in the nation’s political governance space for the next 20 years.
Recall that last week, a video of El-Rufai went viral in which he claimed that the APC was intentional about its Muslim-Muslim ticket which delivered the presidency to the ruling party.
The Elderstatesman also enjoined those who argued that religious balance was very insignificant in the political configuration of the country not to forget what played out in 2014 during the Constitutional Conference.
Clark’s letter read, “The tension over who occupies what position in the 10th Senate, is overheating our polity, and hurting the fragile peace and unity we are currently having in our beloved country.
“It is time to heal our land, and in so doing, what I expect of the 10th Senate is to give the position of Senate President to a Christian Senator from the Southern part of the country. It is only fair, equitable and just, to do so. We have Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima as President and Vice President of the country, respectively. Both of them are Muslims. The Chief Justice of the Federation, Olukayode Ariwoola is a Muslim.
“Making a Muslim the Senate President will be unacceptable to any discerning mind that thinks well of this country, as it will mean that the three arms of government are all headed by Muslims. It is also to be noted that the person tipped to be the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is equally a Muslim.
“Senator Bola Tinubu was to be the running mate to Muhammadu Buhari on the the ticket of the APC. It was the same party leaders who objected to this arrangement on the grounds that a Muslim-Muslim ticket is not suitable for Nigeria. Sen Tinubu listened to the voice of reason and nominated Prof Yemi Osinbajo for the position of the Vice President. What has changed now?”
Taking a swipe at El-Rufai, Clark described as “Insensitive, irresponsible, uncouth and arrogant statement credited to Nasir El-Rufai, on his plan to impose the Islamic religion on the country, lasting for the next 20 years.”
He said, “It is unthinkable how someone who describes himself as a leader could utter such a statement, except to cause confusion, which is very obvious that he benefits from.
“It is a shame and embarrassment that El-Rufai who has been in government since 1999 and has served with President Olusegun Obasanjo government, should commit such a seditious act that could incite violence and tear the country apart.
“What else is a treasonable felony? What is the difference between the action of El-Rufai, and the offence that Nnamdi Kalu is accused of?,
He called on the former Governor to get sufficient education on Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (As amended) to understand the secularity of the Nigerian State.
Clark said, El-Rufai is hereby reminded of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Prohibition of State Religion, which says “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.” He should also be reminded that it is because of the fact that Nigeria is a secular State, with ethnic diversity that the Federal Character principle is enshrined in our laws, for equity, justice and inclusivity.
“Once again, I appeal to the 10th Senate that as they chose their leaders, to be directed by true sense of reasoning. The position should be given to a Christian southerner.
“I appeal to the northerners to look into their stand again. The Muslims need the Christians and the Christians need the Muslims. No one group should think that they can do it alone.”