The Secretary of the National Inter-religious Council, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, has described as a betrayal of trust, allegations that the controversial curriculum for primary and secondary schools was aimed at Islamising the country.
Speaking with newsmen, Oloyede, who is also the Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria had spoken in one voice against the controversial curriculum, ahead of its introduction.
“What I find difficult in Nigeria is that falsehood can become popular and we tend to forget the trend of things. It’s a betrayal of confidence on the part of Muslims and Christians. Because we were fighting this thing together, how they now turned it round is what I am not sure of.
“The National Council on Education passed this thing in 2014. How come they are now saying that the man who came in as minister in 2016 is the cause of this thing? It’s unbelievable,” he said.
Oloyede, a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and former vice-chancellor of the University of Ilorin, condemned the claims by the National Christian Elders Forum that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, was the proponent of the curriculum.
He said the outburst against Adamu and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari should have been directed at the immediate past Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, and the previous Federal Government.
“In 2012, we made submissions to the president, Goodluck Jonathan. We went there; I was the one who read the speech which was signed by three of us: the Sultan and Onaiyekan, that’s the National Inter-religious Council.
“When these people went ahead to do what they did and they called it Religion and National Values, it was the Sultan who first cried out. This was on December 21, 2015.”
Showing a publication of the national dailies, Mr. Oloyede read a headline to buttress his point.
“Look at this: ‘Sultan—Don’t Replace Islam and Muslim Studies with Religion and National Values’. Leadership newspapers in that month also carried it,” Oloyede said.
Reading through a section of another publication of the Daily Trust newspapers published on July 14, 2015, Oloyede said the position of CAN regarding the curriculum was rather indifferent at the time.
“Listen to this: ‘Also speaking with our correspondent; the secretary of CAN in the 19 northern states said religious leaders will have to engage the policy makers in education to authenticate the true situation of things’. Even at that time they were still sceptical about the situation, that is why they said they will go and ascertain the true situation of things,” Oloyede said.
Also reacting to claims that CAN had been indifferent on the matter, the President of the association, Samson Ayokunle, said the association paid several visits to former President Jonathan regarding the matter.
“You know that right from the time of Jonathan, we have been protesting against this thing. We went to Aso Rock, I followed them; the then president of CAN led the protest. And when this new administration came up, we still stood against the protest, the vice president received us. I was surprised that there was a curriculum like that,” Ayokunle said.