The Christian Association of Nigeria has called on the National Assembly to reflect ethnic and religious balance in the appointment of new principal officers for the 9th parliament.
The Christian body said this was necessary to address the imbalance in appointments in the executive and judicial arms and to remove any apprehension and suspicion.
The CAN spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, cautioned against the domination of the leadership position in NASS by any ethnic or religious group.
It said, “Although both the Senate and the House of Representatives have several principal officers, our focus here is the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
“As it has been the practice since 1999, whenever the Senate President is a Christian, the Speaker of the House has always been a Muslim and vice- versa; And the same thing happens to their deputies.”
“Our quest becomes imperative due to the existing order in the two other arms of the government. Today, both the President and the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria are Muslims and our appeal is to let either the Senate President or the Speaker be a Christian to address the religious dichotomy. This will give all Nigerians a sense of belonging irrespective of their religious affiliations,” CAN said.
The association further called on the ninth National Assembly members to address both the religious and ethnic dichotomies between the North and South regions in the interest of equity, justice and fair play.
It also urged the Presidency and the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress to support its position in “our quest to find an enduring peace, unity and development for our Fatherland.”
Doing this, CAN argued, would go a long way in fixing some of the problems confronting the country which it said were rooted in religious, tribal suspicion, domination and marginalisation at every level of the government.
“In as much as we agree that merit should not be sacrificed in every appointment, but there are Christians who are equally credible and capable of running the affairs of the National Assembly and other key positions in the government if given the opportunity,” the body stated.