17th August, 2022




The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, recently accused President Muhammadu Buhari of starting same-faith leadership in Nigeria with the Buhari-Idiagbon regime in 1983. However, an Islamic human rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has corrected that impression by asserting that same faith leadership began under Christian leaders in the country and it preceded the Buhari-Idiagbon administration.


The clarification was made in a statement issued by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 17th August, 2022.


The statement reads:


“While speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘Politics Today’ on Thursday 11th August, 2022, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Rev. Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of starting same-faith leadership in Nigeria when he picked Tunde Idiagbon as his deputy in 1983 (


“But Father Kuka was being economical with the truth. We all know that Nigeria’s same faith leadership phenomenon started long before Buhari became military head of state. The sad thing is that some people find it convenient to fall victim of collective amnesia when it comes to Muslim-bashing. Fortunately there is also a crop of truth seekers who are keen on putting the records straight and MURIC is pleased to be counted among them.


“How can anyone claim that Buhari started same-faith leadership when we all know that Nigeria’s first military head of state, Major-General Thomas Umunakwe Aguiyi Ironsi picked a fellow Christian, Brigadier Babademi Ogundipe, as deputy in 1966. He did not stop there. He also made another Christian, Admiral Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey, his third in command.   


“Ironsi’s all-Christian regime was succeeded by another all-Christian leadership led by General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) with Admiral Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey as his second in command.


“In retrospect, we note that Nigerian Muslims did not complain about Christian-Christian leadership for once throughout this Christian administration and Gowon ruled for nine good years from 1st August 1966 to 29th July, 1975.


“The question MURIC is asking is this: if the Muslims can tolerate a Christian-Christian leadership for nine years (1966-1975), why can’t Nigerian Christian leaders stomach the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket? Today’s Christian leaders have one major characteristic in their Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA). It is intolerance. Unfortunately DNA is the main constituent of chromosomes and it is self-replicating. Therefore this intolerance chromosome in today’s Christian leaders may not disappear too soon.


“Political clerics may get away with falsehood, deceit and half-truths on the pulpit, but they cannot maradonise Nigerians with any historical inexactitude in public discourse. The facts before us prove that Kukah was economical with the truth. He should crosscheck his facts properly next time he speaks in public. Nigerians are adept at fact-checking.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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