By Ethel Sonoma
I have just read the response of the CAN President, Revd. Samson Ayokunle, to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s remarks, that both the Islamic Development Bank and Sukkuk bonds are not, as has been suggested by CAN, evidence of any plans by the present administration to Islamise Nigeria.
The Vice President informed his audience that Nigeria joined the bank in 2005, under the administration of a Christian, President Olusegun Obasanjo. Its first director/ governor was Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, a Christian. Its present director/ governor is Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who is also a Christian. He also disclosed that Nigeria is today the fourth largest shareholder of the bank.
On the Sukkuk bond, he disclosed that the difference between the bond and the Eurobond is that while holders of the latter could earn interest, holders of the Sukkuk are entitled to dividends from the asset purchased or paid for. But more importantly, he listed 28 other countries that had floated Sukkuk bonds, including USA, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. This particular bond was to raise money for 25 road projects across the country. It is an initiative of the Debt Management Office, the agency responsible for bond issuance and the Ministry of Finance. Both agencies, by the way, are headed by committed Christians. Each of the geo-political zones of the country is expected to receive the sum of N16.67 billion for road projects in their respective zones.
The North-Central and South-South zones accounted for five each of the 25 key economic road projects, while the North-East, North-West and South-East have four road projects each. Three other projects are to receive funding from the Sovereign Sukuk proceeds. The CAN President, of course, did not and will not tell us how the Sukkuk or Islamic Bank will be used to Islamise Nigeria. And we all know he has no idea how nor is there any logical path to that destination.
It is evident that CAN is now being nurtured on the idea that the way to retain legitimacy with the Christian population is by fear- mongering; constantly raising fears about an Islamic agenda, islamisation of Nigeria etc. This was how the Jonathan government had hoped to deflect the deluge of public disaffection over the crass corruption and misgovernance of that administration. Locked in an unholy alliance with the CAN leadership then, money flowed freely, indeed, N7 billion was said to have been made available for some pastors. It is incredible that all that time, CAN never accused the government of an Islamic agenda, even when they sat on the board of the Islamic Bank and belonged to the IOC.
What we Christians would like to see is the Christian agenda. We are the ones who have been mandated to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Our CAN leadership plays the politics of religion, excite the populace with one cloak and dagger story after the other, align with corrupt leaders when they can, and abandon the task of spreading the message of salvation by grace to every nook and cranny of the world.
A last word. The problem with a crying wolf when there is no wolf is that when the wolf does come, no one will take its cry serious.