CAN Slams Niger Gov, Bello Over Religious Flavoured Appointments

By Pita Chib, Minna

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Niger state, has condemned the recent political appointments made by the state governor Abubakar Bello, describing it as an embarrassment to Christians in the state.

CAN said it considered the lopsidedness in the appointment of key principal officers by the governor without a single Christian as "alarming and a disappointment despite the overwhelming support the Christian gave the governor during the just concluded election".

The Chairman of CAN in the state Rev. Mathias Echioda who made  the position of Christians clear in a press conference in Minna  Thursday  evening just 24  hours after the governor announced the appointments  of some principal officers.

According to him, "This is equal to political robbery and we will not take that low at all because we contributed to enthroning the present administration, we should also be part of the decision making at the highest level in terms of management, policy formulation and policy implementation".

So far the governor had announced the appointment of the secretary to the state government, the Head of service, the chief of staff and private Principal Secretary, and all Muslim.

The CAN Chairman pointed out that the Christian body acknowledged the cordial relationship it had with the administration especially during the first tenure, it had expected that the government should have improve the that relationship by giving Christians fare share in his administration.

"We have had a very good and cordial relationship with the present administration especially during the first tenure, we appreciate the mutual respite we have enjoyed throughout the period.

"In the course of our relationship, we never relented at bringing to the fore, the need for Christians to be part of the principal leaders of the Niger state government and the explanation and excuses we had at that time was that people were appointed based on merit and participation in politics.

"So with this, we went to address our people, we motivated and encouraged them for party politics and political involvement both at the state and at the grassroots. And as much as I know, the level of participation of Christians in politics, active involvement and personal sacrifices was like what every other politician could make.

"This time, we have never had it like this in the past and the question of competence, experience and expertise is not in question, we have our hands full, we know that we have several competent people.

Echioda lamented that like every other stakeholders, Christians in the state made their contributions to the overall success of the government of Niger state in this administrations, adding regrettably that "but now that the battle has been won, of course, the dividends is suppose to go across the stakeholders, benefit everyone that participated in the elections and were actively involved and made their sacrificial contribution to the success of the present administration should also benefit from it".

The CAN Chairman who said he believed that "to whom much is given much is expected" insisted that "Christians in Niger state participated very well and actively during the primaries, before, during and after the general elections and therefore deserved to be given its own share.

"I can vouch that the level of out participation have never been like any other time in the state, if we were that aggressive, if we were that involving, if we were that sacrificial, if we were that committed, if we were all giving to it as we did and it wasnt a hidden thing that Christians were generally involved in the election.

"I know how much Christians overwhelmingly vote for the present administration, we therefore expect that we should have our share of the booty".

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