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School Dispute: Youth Group Urges CAN to withdrawal Ultimatum Against Osun Govt

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola

The African examiner,

The O’odua Muslim-Christian Youth Dialogue Group, (OMC-YDG) has asked the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) leaders in Osun to withdraw the seven day ultimatum issued in the wake of the dispute over school re classification in the state.

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola

In a statement issued after the group’s meeting in Osogbo on Wednesday night, the inter-faith group regretted that CAN was reading religious interpretations to a policy set to address the decay in education in the state.

The statement was signed by Osun State coordinators of the group, Mr Olu Suleiman and Felix Adebisi Olakunle.

The OMC-YDG was established four years ago and each year the group organises regional conferences aimed at strengthening inter-faith harmony in the eight Yoruba speaking states.

The statement read “We have taken time to study the re classification of schools in Osun State. The facts are that 38 years ago, religious groups have given up ownership of these schools when they were paid off.

There are no longer strictly religious schools in Osun but public schools established to promote no particular religion but to nurture good education and sustain the plural faith tradition in Yorubaland. Schools in Osun are neither specifically for Christians nor Muslims and religion has always being of secondary consideration to universal learning, to the extent that even in the so called Baptist schools, there were Muslim students long before the merger of the schools.

We urge our Christian leaders to realise that tolerance of other people’s faith is the hallmark and strength of Yoruba people. It is against Yoruba age-long tradition to oppose Muslim students in a school with a larger population of Christians when in reality, Christians and Muslims in Yorubaland are of the same blood, they speak the same language, eat the same food, have the same history and live under the same shelter.

“It is regrettable that the Muslim students that were brought into the Baptist School were given inhuman treatment with a notable hate and disdain for their chosen faith.” The group said that religious tolerance has been the kernel of the Christian faith especially in Yorubaland.

In some instances in Yorubaland, Muslim parents have children who are Christians and vice-versa. It therefore does not make any sense to begin to segregate students based on their religious beliefs.”

The group stated that the main reason why schools were established is because of education in science and art and that these subjects are religion-neutral. The group also expressed  support for the teaching of Ifa in schools saying that if students could be thought about European History from the stone age to the age of renaissance, there is no reason why they should not learn about their own history including Ifa, which is science and in fact a theory of universal knowledge.

“The world has moved from the dark age, students on their own could access information about Ifa on their handsets.

Attempts to block their search for the history of Yoruba civilisation is self-defeatist when it is a known fact in Yorubaland  some Christian and Muslim parents still consult Ifa and that the traditional Obaship, which is the oldest institution in Yorubaland is founded on Ifa adding that every of God’s creation has its own purpose.

“It is appalling that while religious leaders condemn the study of Ifa in schools, many religious leaders would be glad to encourage their wards to study nuclear physics an aspect of which is the making of bombs which can destroy the entire human race.”

The group said the reclassification where Muslim students were brought to Christian dominated schools has the potential of creating greater inter-faith harmony among the younger generation than a situation where leaders of tomorrow grew up with the notion that their religion is superior to the other simply because they have never had any intimate experience with peer groups of different religious background.

OMC-YDG urges CAN leaders to withdraw their ultimatum saying that issuance of ultimatums is the exclusive culture of labour unions and student union formations.

“We urge CAN to let reason prevail. We know CAN leadership supports peace. The way to peace is dialogue and not ultimatum. We trust that at the end of the day, CAN will see reason and allow peace to reign in Osun State.”


Sent in by Wale Adeoye  

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