By BASHIR ADEFAKA
The Muslum Rights Concern (MURIC) has lived up to its promise to be awake to responsibility of being able to tell the politician it supported during the February 25, 2023 presidential election, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, where he has inadequacies, just like he would do where he does well.
This it did by its statement calling the attention of the President to what it considers to be lopsidedness in his appointments so far.
MURIC told Tinubu to ensure that all regions, faiths and sections benefit from political appointments made by his government while no ethnic group or faith is seen to be favoured above others.
Making the appeal on Monday, 18th September, 2023 was the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The head of the Islamic human rights organisation added that appointments made so far by Tinubu are lopsided because they favoured mainly Yorubas and Christians.
He advised the president to ensure balance in coming appointments.
The statement read in details, “We are shocked to our marrows that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been appointing Christians and Yorubas mainly to key positions since the inception of this administration at the expense of Muslims. For instance, five out of eight security chiefs appointed earlier are Christians. Ministerial posts have not been different.
“All five key appointments made by President Tinubu to revive the economy were given to Christians and Yorubas mainly. These new appointees include the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, the newly nominated CBN Governor, Dr. Michael Cardoso, Hon. Zacch Adedeji, Acting Chairman, FIRS, the Chairman, Tax Reforms Committee, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele and Mr. Tope Fasua, Special Adviser on Economic Affairs.
“Many competent Muslims who campaigned and voted Muslim-Muslim ticket during the presidential election were ignored. It is interesting to note that some of those Muslims are eminently qualified to hold key political offices since there are professors, engineers, medical doctors and holders of doctorate degrees among them.
“To add salt to injury, one of the best Muslim ministerial nominees, the man who championed the Muslim-Muslim ticket and mobilised the whole North behind Asiwaju has been jettisoned. Also, Professor Ali Isa Pantami who took the communication and digital economy to enviable heights during the last administration was ignored. Where, then, is our Muslim president, taking Nigerian Muslims?
“MURIC rejects this trending narrative that makes competence the raison d’etre for concentrating appointments in any particular tribe, religion or group. Government’s tentacles should be spread nationwide in the search for competence. Neither should the need for skills be used as a cover for the marginalisation of some sections of Nigeria.
“We assert clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that competence is not the monopoly of any tribe, faith or group. Talented Nigerians are to be found everywhere if sincere searches are conducted.
“Besides, government should take the lion share of the blame if competent hands cannot be found in any section, creed or group for certain assignments. It means the government has not, ab initio, allowed educational and training facilities to be fairly and evenly distributed, or that government has failed to consciously integrate all segments of the Nigerian society. All sectors must therefore have equal opportunities to participate in governance.
“This regime must be wary of allegation of nepotism which the previous regime was accused of. Nigeria is a vast country with talented men and women in all nooks and crannies. Government must not just pick the low hanging skills or those on the water surface. It must send its underwater swimmers to dive below the surface in order to bring the gems to dry land.
“Our message to President Tinubu is this (and we want the president’s handlers to take this to him) the cacophony of voices of dissatisfied Muslims has reached an unbearable crescendo such that MURIC is now constrained to speak up. People are complaining, particularly Muslims from the North and South West and they can only be ignored at the risk of foregoing 2027.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our Muslim brother but that should not stop us from criticising him if he does the wrong thing. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Help your brother when he is wronged and even when he is wrong…”
“Traceable as well as well known authors on social media are exchanging lopsided lists either tilted in favour of Christians who did not vote for the Muslim-Muslim ticket or in favour of Yorubas only. Such lists raise questions of nepotism and that of marginalisation of the same Muslims who stood behind Asiwaju and voted massively for him.
The pervading hunger everywhere in the land may force some regions to seek a pound of flesh in 2027 if they are denied political appointments where it matters. In particular, President Tinubu should ensure that the North, which was his strategic ally in the 2023 presidential election, is not stinted of political appointments, otherwise he will destroy the thin veneer of solidarity which currently exists between the North and the South West.
“We remind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that all regions, faiths and sections deserve political appointments. The Tinubu administration must not be the exclusive preserve of the Yorubas at the expense of other tribes, nor the monopoly of Rome at the expense of Madinah. No region must be sentenced to hunger, starvation and political isolation.
“Tinubu’s next appointments must see a shift in body language. All regions, faiths and sections must benefit from political appointments made by this government while no ethnic group or faith is seen to be favoured above others.
“Meanwhile we in MURIC accept full responsibility for the dilemma facing Nigerian Muslims as their Muslim-Muslim ticket has turned into a ‘Christian majority government’. We admit being in the forefront of the campaign for a Yoruba Muslim presidency which has become a bone in the throat of Yoruba Muslims in particular and Nigerian Muslims in general.
“With heavy hearts, we tender unreserved apology, first, to the former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai for what we led him to even though he showed no interest at the beginning, and to other Nigerian Muslims particularly those who have been accusing us of misleading them.”