The purchase and sewing of Christmas clothes for 20,000 children in Ekiti State by Governor Ayo Fayose has run into the web of controversy as Muslim youths have described the gesture as a ploy to elevate one religion over another.
Acting under the aegis of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), they described the act as “unacceptable and a breach of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
The section provides that “the Government of the Federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.” The Muslim youths maintained that the Xmas clothes for kids project was aimed at promoting Christianity as a religion.
The Xmas dress for Ekiti kids is expected to gulp about N200 million; the governor has gone on air to invite parents to bring their children to the Government House where about 200 local tailors have been assembled to sew the clothes.
In a statement on Monday made available to newsmen, NACOMYO State Coordinator, Alhaji Tajudeen Olutope Ahmed, said in as much as the group was no averse to any form of child welfare or development, it was worried that “our commonwealth as a state is being used to promote a particular religion and to placate the subscribers of the religion.”
NACOMYO contended that as Christians look forward to Christmas and New Year, Muslims also look forward to festivals like id-el-maulud or id-el-fitri hence “as the governor of all, he is expected to patronize both Christians and Muslims in equal measure.”
NACOMYO said further: “It is on the basis of the above that we hereby call on Governor Fayose to suspend his planned celebration of Christians and Christianity during the forthcoming Yuletide period.
“In the alternative, if the governor is determined to go ahead with his planned provision of Christmas dresses, he should disclose the budget for the dresses to the public and be ready to expend the same amount during the forthcoming Muslim festival. This is the justice of
“While maintaining that the resources of our commonwealth should not be made for the patronage of only a section or religion, we posit that the duty of providing dresses for children is fundamentally that of parents and not government.”
“Ekiti State government should be more concerned about fulfilling her duty under the law, which includes that of prompt and adequate payment of staff salaries. In this way, parents will be able to make adequate care and provision for their children.”
But Fayose insisted that the project was conceived by his administration to give Ekiti children between the ages of one and ten years a sense of belonging and cater to the needs of the less
Assorted local fabrics of Ankara, Guinea and Kampala among others had been purchased by the governor and made available to the local tailors for the exercise.
Fayose said that every tier of government must endeavour to concretely cater for the needs of children, especially children of the less privileged.
Speaking at the official flag off of the distribution of the Yuletide clothes to the beneficiaries Sunday evening at the Government House, Fayose also urged the kids to urge their parents to support his anointed candidate for the 2018 governorship poll, Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola.
Fayose said: “As a government, we must be seen to be caring, not by mere saying it but by practice. Part of our duty is to give our kids a sense of belonging.
“We are bound to provide some happiness for them at a yuletide such as this. We are providing Christmas clothing for over 20,000 of our kids.
We will raise it to 100,000 by next year as I am very sure the next governor will come from my party PDP.”
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