CAN, Religion and NASS leadership By Ismail Omipidan

I don’t like introducing religion into issues that are purely political and which require only political solution to get them resolved. Reason: Most people who argue purely from religious point of view are too emotional and sometimes irrational. Thus, their arguments, most often become illogical.

But I feel compelled to make this intervention because even some journalists who have reported the National Assembly over the years and who should know better appear to have failed in their primary responsibility of providing the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with the correct information. If they do, CAN would probably not have come up with the letter to our lawmakers requesting that either the president of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives should be a Christian.

I had in one of my posts about five days ago stated clearly that religion play no role in the emergence of National Assembly leadership. And I will give a few examples here. In 1979, the president of the Senate and the Speaker were both Christians.

In 1999 however, President of the Senate was a Christian, while Speaker, a Muslim. This arrangement was retained again in 2003. Note however that it was never about religion, it was more about zonal representation.

By 2007, it changed. At the beginning we had a Christian as Speaker and another Christian as President of the Senate. But when Etteh was sacked, a Muslim became the Speaker. In 2011, it reverted to the 2003 arrangement.

And by 2015, the arrangement was again retained. It is important to however note here that the 2015 arrangement was by accident and not by design. But for the deft political moves by some APC members, the original design would have produced a Muslim-Muslim for the House of Representatives. But we had it before anyway in Bankole/Nafada, just as we had a Christian-Christian in the Senate for eight years, Mark/Ekweremadu to be precise.

So, I will appeal to colleagues strategising for CAN to change strategy on this matter, if indeed it wants to influence the emergence of the next set of NASS leaders.

Editor’s Note: This piece was first published in 2019.

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