2nd November, 2023
APPOINTMENT OF CHRISTIANS BY A MUSLIM PRESIDENT: THIS IS OUR CHARACTER – MURIC
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has berated the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for exhibiting extreme intolerance over the Muslim-Muslim ticket affair before, during and even after the elections until they began to see real Islam through the magnanimity of President Tinubu, a Muslim president who has been giving Christians juicy and lion shares of appointments into his government. The Muslim rights organization rebuked CAN for its inability to trust its Muslim neighbours.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday 2nd November, 2023 by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has eventually come out openly to express regret for its initial opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. The Christian body also expressed happiness at the turn of events which made it possible for more Christians to get more political appointments than the Muslims.
“Northern Christians are now saying President Tinubu surprised them with key appointments. In particular, they expressed shock over the post of Secretary to the Federal Government given to George Akume and that of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) given to General Christopher Gwabin Musa, a Christian from Kaduna.
“They added, ‘As Northern Christians, we initially had reservations about Muslim-Muslim ticket of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Ibrahim Shettima, yet your inclusive governance has impressed us greatly (guardian-ng.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/guardian.ng/news/tinubu-surprised-us-with-sgf-cds-appointments-northern-christians/amp?).
“It is very clear that what transpired in the last few months, at least since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu picked a Muslim, Kashim Shettima, as his vice president was unbridled manifestation of bad faith, acute desertification of trust, accommodation of overloaded kegs of suspicion and giving room for careless and reckless comments capable of causing chaos nationwide.
“MURIC is shocked by the way majority of Christian clerics exhibited extreme intolerance over the Muslim-Muslim ticket affair before, during and even after the elections. This repugnant attitude continued until they began to see real Islam through the magnanimity of President Tinubu, a Muslim president who started giving Christians juicy and lion shares of appointments into his government. We are nonplussed by the inability of Christians to trust their Muslim neighbours.
“Nigerian Christians should not be surprised. Magnanimity is in our character. One major concern of every true Muslim is the fear of failing to extend fairness to his neighbour, whether the latter is a Muslim or not. This is a major teaching in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The fears of our Christian nmeighbours over the Muslim-Muslim ticket was baseless, unfounded and misplaced. We can all see how President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now dispensing justice and fairness to Nigerian Christians.
“Nonetheless, there is need to compare the generous accomodation of Christians at federal level by a Muslim president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to the continued political marginalisation of Muslims at state level, particularly in the South West, by the six Christian governors.
“Against the backdrop of how Tinubu is treating Christians at federal level, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos gave Christians 31 commissioners but he gave a meager 8 to Muslims. The second batch of nominees after a massive protest by Muslims was not better than the first as it gave Christians 12 but gave Muslims 6, bringing the total to 43 Christians against 14 Muslims. In Ogun State, it is ratio 16:4. Oyo State is 10:6. Osun is ratio 17 – 7; Ondo 15:2; Ekiti 24:1, all in favour of Christians. Worse still, no South Eastern or South-South state gave a single commissioner slot to any Muslim even though the governors know the Muslim leaders in those states and they are indigenes.
“This is the scenario in the entire South. It has always been like that and it was in an attempt to reduce the imbalance and alleviate the suffering of Muslims in the region that MURIC came up with this idea of having a Yoruba Muslim president. But nothing has changed. It actually became worse. Some of the South West governors, particularly Sanwo-Olu, decided to have a pound of flesh as his own reaction to the Muslim-Muslim ticket at the federal level.
“Who is liberal? Who is accommodating? Who is fair? Who is sharing with his neighbour? Who is displaying the spirit of brotherhood? Who is being a patriot and nationalist? Who is being a true Nigerian? It is as clear as daylight.
Tinubu, a Muslim president is dishing out posts to Christians even more than he gives Muslims. Christian presidents were not so magnanimous to Muslims in the past. Obasanjo virtually sold the South as a whole to CAN throughout his 8 year rule. If Obasanjo could appoint two Christians from predominantly Muslim Kwara State, what stopped him from appointing two Muslims from predominantly Christian South-East and South-South? All the ministers from the whole South appointed by Jonathan were Christians. We had to meet Jonathan in Aso Rock to complain before he gave the South-West two Muslims only.
“See what we mean? But the difference is now clear, like that popular soft drink. Here is a Muslim president, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, appointing more Christians than Muslims until the latter started complaining and the former started praising him to high heaven. It really proves that wonders will never end.
“MURIC has taken a second look at the situation. Like William Shakespeare, we can see that ‘Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so’. In sober reflection, we have seen the good side of the lopsided appointments made by Tinubu, a Muslim president, in favour of Christians.
“We found wisdom in the words of the Glorious Qur’an where it says, ‘This is what Allah has created. Show me what others besides Him have created’ (Qur’an 31:11).
“MURIC says to CAN ‘This is the cabinet of President Tinubu. These are Tinubu’s appointments. They are Christian-loaded. Tinubu, a Muslim, is fair to people of other faith, so fair that they began to sing his praise. Show us the cabinets of your Christian presidents before him. Were they fair to the Muslims?
“Whereas people thought Tinubu has little knowledge of Islam, he has taught the whole country a huge lesson about how Muslims are tolerant, accommodating, just and fair. This is exactly as the Glorious Qur’an teaches Muslims, ‘Oh you who believe, be persistent in standing firm on justice, as witnesses for Allah, even if it is against yourselves, your parents or your relations, and whether it is against the rich or poor’ (Qur’an 4:135).
“This is what Muslims can do. Magnanimity is our middle name. We can be magnanimous in victory. There was nothing CAN members did not do against us because of this Muslim-Muslim ticket. They cursed. They raved. They threatened. They said they would disgrace the Muslim-Muslim ticket by their numbers but the numbers numbered to nothing.
“How can Christian families of averagely 6 or 7 to Muslim families of 18 or 24? Most Christians are monogamous and most Christian families comprise of husband, wife and four children. Can this be compared to the Muslim family of two, three or four wives with three or four children for each wife. CAN’s census man must do his homework properly next time. The issue of numbers is not an area where Christians can expect to beat Muslims, not until cocks give birth to cows.
“But history is already at work to chronicle the free and massive appointments for Christians by a Muslim president. Majority of them did not vote for Tinubu and Shettima but they are getting appointments. This is what will go into history. The last time we checked, Mr. President’s name had not changed. He is still Ahmed. But how have Christian rulers treated Muslims?
“Look at Bola Ige, former governor of Oyo State, a Christian. He distributed copies of the bible to all students in public schools. But when told that Muslim students want the Qur’an, not bible, he locked his office doors firmly. The message is clear. Christian rulers have just one mission: to convert Muslim citizens to Christianity or to persecute them until they submit. It is a ‘winner-takes-all’ camp. No sharing with others, no caring for others, at least no caring without hidden charges.
“But let it be on record that a Muslim president gave juicy posts to Christians in Nigeria. Christian clerics should not forget to mention it when next they go to America to address Congress. If Trump wins the next election, he must not forget to ask Tinubu, ‘Why are you giving Christians key appointments?’ the same way he asked ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“Our message to Nigerian Muslims is from Qur’an 3:139, ‘Do not lose hope and do not be sad. You will surely be victorious if you are true in faith.’ (Laa tahinuu, wa laa tahzanuu)
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).