A security report by the Department of State Services, DSS, which the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, claimed indicted Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola on the issue of alleged islamisation of Osun is one of the body’s main reasons for the allegation, reports yesterday said.
According to CAN, the DSS report dated March 19, 2012 to the Chief of Army Staff stated in part: “There are indications that Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is nursing the ambition of islamizing the state. Already, he has taken control of the Jama’atu Ta’awunil Muslimeen Society of Nigeria, TA’AWUN, now spearheading the use of hijab in public schools in the state and serving as bodyguards to the governor and making frantic efforts to dislodge conventional security operatives from the Government House.”
General Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, who made the observation also alluded to several reports in the dailies against the governor, which he said were yet to be denied.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja,, Asake demanded an immediate halt to the ongoing reclassification policy of public schools, which he described as ‘ill mannered’.
He noted that apart from the governor being accused of creating something similar to Boko Haram, there were strong indications pointing directly to the fact that Aregbesola was pursuing islamization agenda.
“First was the Islamic bond (SUKUK), an investment instrument of about N11.4billion that was taken in December 2012 by the governor against wise counsel in an effort to change the identity of Christian schools.
“The implication of this is yet to be known. Taking an Islamic loan called sukuk in the name of a state with plural religion in a secular country like Nigeria can only mean that one religion is favoured above the other,” he said.
Speaking further on reclassification of public schools, Asake said: “By this reclassification schools like Baptist Girls Secondary School now has boys sent to it and Moslem girls in the school can now continue their agitation for the wearing of hijab as the uniform will be changed. The confusion that will ensue can be better imagined than experienced.
Asake further noted “with grave concern the governor’s love and open support for idolatry, we were all shocked to hear his declaration of a public holiday (Isese Day), set aside to celebrate the ancient idols of the land, Obatala, Sango, Yemoja, Ogun, etc, to which he credited to peace and tranquillity prevailing in the state.
“On the issue of Ifa, we in CAN believe that its introduction is a superb confrontation of tradition, modernity and religion. Why Ifa in this century?”
It will be recalled that the Osun State chapter of CAN in a letter to the governor by its Chairman, Rev. Elisha Ogundiya, dated October 9, issued seven days ultimatum to the state government, started from Friday last week, saying failure to stop the new education policy would be met with “appropriate actions.”
However, in a response to the allegations yesterday, Mr Semiu Okanlawon, Osun State’s Director of Bureau of Communications and Strategy said; “We in Osun are not interested in joining issues with CAN either at the National or state level because we are convinced that in the final analysis, CAN will come back to salute the courage of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration to give Osun and indeed, Nigeria, one of the best solutions to salvage the nation’s rotten educational standard. We are consoled by the fact that no Nigerian, no matter how uninformed he is, is happy with the state of education at all levels. This is the trend Osun is striving to arrest.
“We must however remind CAN that the so-called DSS report which it is referring to never existed. For CAN to make reference to that imaginary report more than a year after is an indication that those working against the interest of the people of Osun and this administration have exhausted their arguments and are now clinging to just anything to sustain their campaigns of calumny.
“It is for the same reason we believe that CAN would want to demonise the Sukuk bond, another financial instrument to accelerate development in the state. The Sukuk bond is a veritable avenue to assess capital to develop our state. In name, it only sounds Islamic but it has all the conventional bond characteristics.
“We are convinced that the leadership of CAN should rather bother about the use to which the bond will be put rather than the nomenclature and the seeming Islamic outlook of it.
“Are the beautiful schools of the highest standards now emerging in Osun not sources of joy to pupils, parents and other stakeholders? Are the schools reserved for pupils who are of any particular faiths? The answers are no!
“We must also add that nothing happens in Osun without it being a product of a well thought out plan. The declaration of Isese Day is in line with democratic tenets which provides choices for all to practice their faith without any hindrance.
“Can we be so hypocritical to the point of denying the existence of those who subscribe to these beliefs? Aregbesola does not hide his religious inclination as a Muslim but he also has the responsibility to protect the rights of people of other faiths.
“This is part of the essence of his oath to defend and be fair and just to all constituents.
“Once again, we seek the understanding of all, CAN inclusive, to look at the merits of the ongoing reforms which are already putting joy in the minds of the innocent young ones who are more than ever before assured of better future.
“We are sure that the body of Christians can never wish to stand in the way of reforms which bring progress. Only desperate politicians would seek to halt development if that is what it requires to get power. Our Christian leaders cannot afford the label of being tools in the hands of political warlords who would rather prevent reforms and progress if it serves their selfish political ends.”