Just what is going on that Sukuk is snowballing into another controversy? And how does it happen that otherwise well educated leaders, ranging from Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President and a pastor in his own right; Kemi-Adeosun, the Minister for Finance and a Christian, the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, (NSCIA) and of the Muslim Rights Concern, (MURIC) headed by a professor cannot agree on what Sukuk bond might mean or could be made to mean in Nigeria? Could that suggest that there is some politics going on? If the leaders cannot resolve what Sukuk might mean in the Nigerian context, are they waiting for the folks to resolve it in fisticuffs or to say that the media escalated it?
Now, it is the Christian leaders interrogating each other on Sukuk. NSCIA and MURIC had interrogated CAN earlier on. CAN itself had framed Sukuk as an Islamisation agenda. It is restating its earlier position in the unedited statement below, written specifically in response to Prof Osinbajo.
Immediately below are extracts from Prof Osinbajo’s speech in Lagos last Friday at the Greater Nigeria Pastors Conference. The occasion was convened by Apostle Wale Adefarasin and Reverned Abayomi Kasali. Intervention is publishing the extracts because the full text was not immediately available. Following extracts from Osinbajo’s speech is Reverned Ayokunle’s reply. Ayokunle is, of course, the president of CAN. Here, we go:
Prof Yemi Osinbajo:
“Part of the problem is the failure of Christian leadership to take its rightful place. We focus our minds on something we call the Islamic agenda. We look for it everywhere as if we are looking for demons. But where is the Christian agenda. Are we not entitled to one? We are too divided as Christians to have an agenda. The key to the unity and progress of Nigeria is in the church. …
The Sukuk is an Islamic concept which enables people to have access to credit. It is essentially like a bond. The US, UK, China, South Africa have all used the Sukuk. Once there is money in the market, let us not get sentimental. The most important thing is for us to use those monies well. Some people say there are some hidden things in this arrangement and that one day somebody is going to take us over. Where? How will that happen? These are straightforward financial systems used all over the world. I don’t think it presents any real problem. It is a very progressive financial system.
Nigeria became a member of the Islamic Development Bank in 2005 and the first person to sit as director of the bank was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The second person to sit as a director is the current Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and both of them are Christians. So, when people talk about Islamic agenda, sometimes I am lost. The person who brought us into the bank is not a Fulani or Northerner, the person was a Christian, so why are we complaining? Nigeria is the fourth largest shareholder in the Islamic Bank. This wasn’t Buhari’s making. We must have facts before saying things. But above all, we must ask ourselves if being a member of the bank profits us or not. For me, I have no problem with this. We can use what we get there to develop our society. This is the most important for me”
Reverend Ayokunle, CAN National President’s Reply:
I think I have to speak at last in response to what His Excellency, the VP, Prof Oshinbajo said which seemed to be a misunderstanding of CAN leadership’s position on the collaborative grand plan to Islamize Nigeria. First of all, his statement may be based on his lack of enough facts on the subject matter of the grand plan of Islamization of Africa and Nigeria in particular in which the government of Nigeria has been collaborating with OIC & Islam in Africa Organization. The OIC met in London in 1983 with a follow up meeting in Nigeria in 1989 and with a communique to Islamize Africa with Nigeria capturing a great attention. You can read this in Wikipedia or browse for OIC’s Conference in London, 1983 and Abuja Declaration of 1989. Nigeria was later made an observer member of the body (OIC) through Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Later under Abacha, a Muslim again, we were made full member in total violation of the constitution that the nation is secular and our government should not be religiously partisan.
Thereafter, different administrations in Nigeria started drawing us into joining different Islamic organizations in keeping with the resolutions of OIC & Islam in Africa Organization(IAO). (See their communique tagged ‘Abuja Declaration of 1989).’ We are not opposed to Islamic Evangelism by the Muslims if it has no violence in it as we Christians are also been evangelizing the nation through peaceful means of revivals and gospel rallies. But we are opposed to our government shifting attention to Islamic resolutions of Islamization by making Nigeria, a non-Islamic Republic, a member of Islamic Organizations. It is a tacit support for Islamization.
Let our VP who is a constitutional lawyer address that and do something about it. Apart from this, why did the government of Nigeria in the past donate twenty one billion dollars to Islam in Africa Organization? Let the VP cross-check whether that was true or not and give us an answer. This fact is on Net and can be verified. Is that not as well tacit support for Islamization? In the VP’s latest address in Lagos, he did not tell us why government of Nigeria started to be active in Islamic Alliances and organizations in total violation of the constitution. It is not about the benefit we would derive from Sukkuk Bond or lack of it, it is about the constitutionality of it. Is it constitutional? Was it not part of the resolutions of OIC & IAO that adoption of Islamic Sharia compliant financial system should be vigorously pursued for all governments in Africa?
Furthermore, why has the present government joined Islamic Military Alliance against terrorism? Are we an Islamic nation? Can’t we fight terrorism without joining Islamic coalition? Why is the government careless about heating up the polity? Can’t the government be more circumspect in a multi-religious nation. Is the government’s participation in Islamic Sports Federation not part of what OIC set up to Islamize many countries? Why was Nigeria led into membership? Who gave the approval and who was consulted before participation? Muslims in Nigeria can be part of all the above but not the Nigerian government. Enough is enough! I know the VP must satisfy his principal that he is loyal but that is not at the expense of our religious freedom and violation of the constitution.
If CAN has its problem, there is no organization without its problems, that will be addressed differently. As a Christian too and member of CAN, let him be more feasible in offering his on positive contributions to CAN but not on the pages of newspapers. We love Nigeria and we are shouting that government must do something to constant attacks of Christians and predominantly Christian communities all over the nation. Why has this government not arrested the murderous herdsmen killing and maiming people in communities? Why didn’t the VP address this? The nation deserves more from him!