The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the endorsement of two Muslims as leaders in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Earlier, the ruling All Progressives Congress endorsed Ahmed Lawan, and Femi Gbajabiamila, who are both Muslims, to become Senate President and Speaker respectively, for the incoming 9th National Assembly.
CAN president, Samson Ayokunle, in a letter to newly elected lawmakers, appealed to the party to make either of the leaders a Christian, for the sake of equity and justice.
As the Inauguration of the leaders approaches, the president implored the lawmakers-elect to ensure balance across religious divides to avoid domination and marginalisation of any kind as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We, from the Christian Association of Nigeria, recognize the importance of the National Assembly to the stability and growth of our polity. It is in this regard that we call for ethnic and religious balance with depth in picking the leadership of that great institution of democracy.
“Although both the Senate and the House of Representatives have several principal officers, our focus here is the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
“As it has been the practice since 1999, whenever the Senate President is a Christian, the Speaker of the House has always been a Muslim and vice- versa. And the same thing happens to their deputies.
“Our quest becomes imperative due to the existing order in the two other arms of the government. Today, both the President and the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria are Muslims and our appeal is to let either the Senate President or the Speaker be a Christian to address the religious dichotomy. This will give all Nigerians a sense of belonging irrespective of their religious affiliations.
“We also urge both the Presidency and the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to support the position of the Association in its quest to find an enduring peace, unity and development for our Fatherland.
“Doing this will go a long way in fixing some of the problems confronting our country today that are rooted in religious, tribal suspicion, domination and marginalisation at every level of the government.” The statement read.