2nd May, 2023, 2023
TARABA NNPP CANDIDATE CHEATED FOR BEING MUSLIM –MURIC
An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has alleged that the gubernatorial candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), Sani Yahaya, was cheated in the last gubernatorial election in the state. The group has therefore appealed to the state’s election tribunal to do justice to the petition filed by the candidate.
MURIC’s allegation was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2023 by its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads :
“The last gubernatorial election in Taraba State was characterized by loopholes, particularly overvoting. We also have every reason to believe that the candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) won the election with a wide margin but he was robbed of victory because powerful Christian elements in the state, including the incumbent governor acting in concert with a money bag and retired general did not want a Muslim to rule the state.
“The body language of Governor Darius Isyaku was clearly allergic to the emergence of a Muslim as governor of Taraba State. There is more than enough evidence to prove that he had strangulated the Muslim community in the state throughout his eight year rule.
“Exempli gratia, all the twelve permanent secretaries appointed by him in November 2021 were Christians. To achieve his jaundiced and illegal all-Christian administration agenda, the governor ensured that all the Muslims on levels 17 and 16 who should have been made permanent secretaries were by-passed while Christians under them who are on level 14 were picked.
“Darius cannot rationalize how the head of service, the secretary to the state government and the chief of staff are all Christians today in a state where the population is predominantly Muslim and the governor is already a Christian.
“In the same vein, Taraba State governor ensured that all the principal officers of Taraba State University are Christians. In like manner, the most senior person who qualified for the post of auditor general of the state was bypassed because he is a Muslim while a Christian who had little or no experience was picked.
“The issue is not their faith. What MURIC is interrogating is the criteria the governor used. The appointments lacked merit. Darius has sacrificed the latter on the altar of mediocrity.
“Darius Isyaku’s tyrannical, segregational and unjust style of governance led the Taraba Muslim Council to rise against him by holding press conferences and issuing press statements in which they accused their state governor of marginalization (https://www.nigerianewspapersonline.net/news/taraba-muslim-council-decries-marginalisation-by-governor-ishaku/).
“The above shows how far Governor Darius Isyaku has gone to out-Herod Herod. He also needed to bend the rules during the last election in order to sustain the tyranny and perpetuate Christian minority grip on an overwhelming Muslim majority which is not less than 69%.
“These discriminatory practices may have nothing to do with the election, but they can help to substantiate our allegation that the governor and some powerful elements within the state will do anything to retain power within Christendom in the state.
“Those who have followed the trend in Taraba political architecture will remember the game that played out when a former governor of Taraba, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, died in office. The controversy over the legality and eligibility of Deputy Governor Garba Umar stepping into his shoes is still didactic (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/143695-uncertainty-mounts-in-taraba-as-suntai-deputy-lay-claim-to-governorship-seat.html?tztc=1)
“A Christian governor in the state has also been quoted as allegedly saying, ‘I will not hand over to a Muslim.’ This has become a dogma in the Christian political circle in Taraba State. We contend that this Christian entitlement proclivity played a significant role in the tripartite conspiracy between Governor Darius Isyaku, ex-Governor Jolly Tavoro Nyame and a former Christian army general and oil blocks entrepreneur with too much money to throw around for the purpose of thwarting the wish of the electorate.
“The performance of Muslims in senate and house of representatives elections speak eloquently about Taraba being a state that boasts of majority Muslim population. Muslim candidates have consistently won two out of the three senate seats and four out of the six seats for the house of representatives in the state. This happened in 2015, 2019 and was replicated in 2023.
“MURIC calls on the Taraba election tribunal to critically look at the issue of overvoting which is the crux of the petition of the NNPP candidate. The margin between his opponent’s 257,926 votes against his own 202,277 may prove curiously interesting when considered against the backdrop of his claim of an overvoting to the amount of 102,000 votes.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)