The All Progressives Congress has dismissed allegations that the party has any plan to Islamise the country. It said such was impossible and that the need for religious balance informed its zoning arrangement for the National Assembly leadership.
The anxiety over the religious twist to the leadership tussle was further exacerbated a few days ago following the statement by the former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.
In the six-minute viral video, El-Rufai caused a stir when he justified his choice of appointing Muslims to occupy top positions in the Kaduna State Government at the expense of Christians.
The former governor, who made the revelation during a meeting with some Islamic clerics on the eve of his final day in office, said the Muslims voted for the APC during the last election.
In the video, he told his audience that the dominance by Islam in the governance of Kaduna State had come to stay as he expressed relief that the trend had been successfully replicated at the national level with the election of former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as president and Kashim Shettima as the vice.
Reacting to the development, the Director of Publicity for the APC, Bala Ibrahim, said it was almost impossible for anybody to islamise Nigeria.
Ibrahim told our correspondent in an interview, “It was out of that concern that the party zoned principal officers to various zones in the country so that there will be balance of section, faith and conviction. Now, when the party said it had zoned the senate presidency to the South-South, it is hoped that a Christian from that part of the world would emerge as the Senate President.
“Again, when the party zoned the Deputy Senate presidency to the North-West, it is with the hope that a Muslim from that part of the country will emerge. If that is done, religion, sentiments and section have been balanced.”
When asked what the party intends to do if the zoning arrangement fails and a Muslim is elected as Senate President, Ibrahim stated that the APC could do little or nothing because such would connote that the will of the people had prevailed.
“If it fails, it means the choice is that of the senators and not the party. Don’t forget these senators are representatives of the people. It means they must have got the consent of the people they are representing to act in that manner, in which case, it will be seen as the wish of the people.
He however added, “Islamisation cannot go without the amendment of the constitution, and to do that, you will have to get the consent of the National Assembly including the 36 state Assemblies. According to the constitution, the chairman of the constitution review committee is the deputy Senate president.”
He said even if a Muslim emerges as the Senate President, the deputy would be a Christian, who would chair the constitution review committee.
“So things are not as easy as they are being discussed in some of these pepper soup joints,” he noted.
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