1st June, 2023
DON’T MAKE MUSLIMS SACRIFICIAL LAMBS IN APPOINTMENTS : MURIC TELLS TINUBU, SHETTIMA
An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has reacted to reports that the new Vice President, Kashim Shettima, gave his first two appointments to two Christians from the North and South East. The group warned that President Tinubu and his vice should not make Muslims sacrificial lambs in matters of appointment.
This was made known in a press release issued on Thursday, 1st June, 2023 by the group’s Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
He said :
“There are reports that Vice President Kashim Shettima has given his first two appointments to two Christians. He made an Igbo man, a Catholic, his Chief Security Officer (CSO). Next, he gave another Christian from the North Central, the post of Aide-de-Camp (ADC). But he gave Muslims nothing.
“These are two very sensitive positions, in fact the most sensitive posts in the office of a top government official and the Vice President has elected to entrust them to Christians.
“We can understand the Vice President’s body language. He is eager to prove that he has nothing to hide. Again, the fact that he made a pronouncement after the appointments to the effect that he has no Islamisation agenda explains it all. The VP is afraid of being accused of pursuing an Islamisation agenda. He has behaved like a man boxed to a corner. No doubt this is the result of consolidated blackmail.
“The development gives us serious cause for concern. Muslims have started asking questions since the appointments: are we not in for another round of marginalisation since Muslim leaders have already started succumbing to blackmail so early?
“The ears of MURIC are very close to the ground. We are close to the Muslims. We get reports from all the geo-political zones. This is what Muslims are saying already about the first appointments that were made. The VP can find out by himself since he is close to them too. We hope he will not be given recycled, sycophantic and brummagem reports.
“Therefore to the new Vice President we have this to say: ‘This is your first act of injustice to Nigerian Muslims. You gave your first two appointments to Christians. Where is that of Muslims? Had you shared those two appointments between Christians and Muslims had been acceptable, but you bent over backwards to please your blackmailers thereby depriving Muslims who are already marginalized but who, characteristically, will not tell lies or blackmail to get what they do not deserve.’
“’Is it because they are good at making noise after committing wrong? Is it because they have perfected the art of the best form of defence is attack? Is it because they control the press? Verily verily we say unto thee oh Vice President, this is your first act of injustice to the Muslims.
“One of those two posts should have gone to a Muslim. Muslims are also human beings. They are affected by the economic crunch more than any other group. Muslims are at the bottom of the pyramid of poverty in this country. Every single appointment in any family reduces poverty in that family. Muslim families matter. Tank you for reducing poverty level in two Christian families while you tell hungry, famished Muslims to wait.’
“It is true that appointments must reflect competence. But it is equally true that it must also mirror the reality on the ground. Interestingly enough, the reality on ground is that Muslims are an overwhelming majority in this country today. MURIC did not say that. The presidential election held on 25th February, 2023 said so.
“In that historic election, Muslim votes were split among four Muslim presidential candidates (Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Ahmed Datti and Abdul-Lateef Kola Abiola). Christians, except a few, voted massively for Peter Obi. Yet Ahmed Tinubu won. It is a strong demographic declaration vis-à-vis the population strength of Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
“The Kaduna scenario is another good example. A minority Christian group based in Southern Kaduna had been arrogating to themselves the right to leadership until ex-Governor Nasir El-Rufai taught them the lesson of their lives. El-Rufai simply called their bluff by going for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He has won twice. Those who were promoting their false propaganda promptly shut up.
“Why then should the Christians take the lion share of the dividends of democracy if they are not the majority? Why should the Muslims work like elephants but receive the share of ants? It is still too early to forget how former President Muhammadu Buhari was hounded, intimidated and embarrassed from dusk to dawn with false allegations of Islamisation and fulanisation whereas his accusers were busy actively perpetrating, perfecting and perpetuating Christianisation and Afeniferisation.
“They accused Buhari of appointing Muslims only in his cabinet. The cacophony of noise and vitriolic attacks over this were so massively coordinated that the sky above Nigeria almost crashed until the Christian vice president came up to show how the number of ministers was equally shared between Christians and Muslims.
“Yet these same people went on sabbatical when MURIC was complaining about Ekiti State where a Christian governor, Ayodele Fayose, ran an all-Christian administration with all the fourteen commissioners, all chairmen of boards and agencies were Christians and the only Muslim appointed was the chairman of the Muslim Pilgrims Board.
“The same people were not on planet Jupiter when MURIC was complaining about ex-Taraba governor Darius Dickson Isyaku who appointed twelve permanent secretaries in November 2021 and all of them were Christians. Who does that?
“We affirm clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Muslim-Muslim ticket is majority rule in Nigeria. It is what democracy teaches. Democracy is about majority having its way while minority has its say. But here we have been witnessing the tyranny of a vocal minority.
“We believe that justice resides in giving the Muslims what they deserve in terms of numbers and giving the Christians what they deserve in terms of numbers. If democracy is a game of numbers, Nigerian Muslim leaders cannot afford to be mindlessly generous to Christians to the detriment of Muslims for fear of being blackmailed by the former.
“They blackmail you but we voted for you. Who deserves your attention most? Remember that second term is payback time. Do not make the mistake of thinking 2027 is still far away. Allah says, ‘They see it as far away but we see it as near’ (Glorious Qur’an 70:6).
“The time to adjust is now. Don’t sacrifice majority for minority. It will be inhuman, inconsiderate, unfair and unjust. Nobody should tell us cock and bull stories about picking Christians only because they cannot find competent Muslims. The advent of the Pantamis, the Oloyedes, the Musa Bellos (former FCT minister) has demystified the myth of incompetence of Muslims.
“The workaholic and highly talented Professor Ali Isa Pantami executed 4,366 projects in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Planning just in four years. The ex-FCT minister is a silent achiever. He is transparent to a fault. Professor Ishaq Oloyede has dazzled the nation with his achievements in JAMB. Yet they are just a flash in the pan. Do not say you cannot find competent Muslims. Tell us another story.
“Of course we find it difficult to see how President Tinubu will bypass competent bona fide sons of the North when sharing cabinet positions. They stood by him in times of hardship. A case in point is that of El-Rufai. The eminently qualified Nasir El-Rufai traversed the length and breadth of Abuja shuttling between media houses and rubbishing the bunkum and balderdash falsely brandished by the cabal as naira redesign and fuel reallocation.
“El-Rufai put both his life and political career on the line and manifested uncommon courage and rare political acumen. Why won’t Mr. President pick such a gem as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) or Chief of Staff (SGF)? This will just be in line with the rhetorical question in the Glorious Qur’an where it asks, ‘Is there any other reward for goodness other than goodness (Hal jazau al-ihsan ila al-ihsan Qur’an 55:60)?
“We know that Islamdom parades many young and competent, nay, versatile Muslims. All President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his vice need to do is search in the appropriate places. Come to think of it. How did Obasanjo and Jonathan always go to the remotest parts of Muslim-dominated areas of Kwara, Borno, Kaduna, etc to fish out ministerial materials among the Christian minorities? If that is possible, how can it be impossible for Ahmed and Kashim to find ministerial materials from hitherto marginalized Muslim-dominated areas?
“We are not asking Tinubu and Shettima as Muslim president and vice president respectively to go on a revenge mission on behalf of Nigerian Muslims. But, like Fernan Caballero opined, ‘Be fair before being generous, be human before being fair.’
“You cannot be generous to Christians at the expense of Nigerian Muslims. Who is losing? Who is gaining? Who is the majority? Who voted for you? This time around, the landlords of Aso Rock must look upon Nigerian Muslims with eyes of kindness. This is not entitlement mentality. We Muslims are a people long deprived, long marginalized, long oppressed. It is time for liberation. It is our turn. Awa lo kan, and rightly so.
“Our message to our Christian neighbours is exactly how Laone Collins puts it, ‘Remember: Let’s look for ways to take care of each other rather than look for ways to take advantage of each other.’
“We should stop talking about sharing political posts equally, particularly now that it has become glaring that Muslims have a very comfortable majority. Any 50-50 sharing formular is monumental injustice to Muslims. It has gone on for too long. While it is good to be magnanimous in the sharing of appointments, it should not be at the detriment of competent Muslims. Neither President Bola Ahmed Tinubu nor Vice President Shettima should make Muslims sacrificial lambs.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).