15th February, 2023




A faith-based civil liberties organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has reminded Northern Muslims of their promise to support a Southern Muslim in the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.


A statement signed by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 15th February, 2023 urged Islamic scholars based in the North to remind Northern political leaders of their pledge to support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.


The full statement reads :


“Nigerians will go to the polls on Saturday, 25th February 2023 to elect a new president and state governors two weeks later (Saturday, 11th March, 2023).



“Seven Southern Christians have been presidents and vice presidents whereas no Muslim from the South has smelled the aroma of Aso Rock since independence. The seven Christians include Brigadier Babafemi Olatunde Ogundipe,  Vice Admiral Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey, Mathew Olusegun Obasanjo, Earnest Shonekan, General Donaldson Oladipo Diya, Goodluck Jonathan and Pastor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo.



“This development weakened the majority Yoruba Muslims and emboldened the Christian minority in Yorubaland to subject the Muslim population to political marginalization, economic deprivation, social marginalisation, stigmatization, dehumanization and outright infringement on Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims.



“Yoruba Muslims had to seek justice in the courts and several cases are still in the courts. The sufferings of Muslims in the region led our organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), to demand, as early as 2021, for the emergence of a Muslim of Yoruba extraction as a presidential candidate.  



“Working in concert with a prominent Islamic organization based in the North and a newly established group of Yoruba Islamic scholars with the support of some Northern leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.



“Tinubu’s victory at the primaries was the product of intensive lobby and insistence on power shift to the South by twelve Northern governors whom MURIC later tagged ‘The Noble Dozen’. The heroic role played by Governors El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Ganduje of Kano and Zulum of Borno cannot be over-emphasised in this regard.



“The ‘Noble Dozen’ were able to prove to Nigerians beyond any iota of doubt that the spirit of the great Sadauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first prime minister, is still very much alive.



“It is now ten days to D-day. While we do not want to give credence to rumours, we find it necessary to reiterate our commitment to the deals reached in the days before and after the primaries. We still call attention to agreements reached with our Muslim brothers in the daytime as well as pledges made in the dead of the night on this subject matter. Our sleepless nights, the long hours of brainstorming together, the long trips and security risks taken together must not be in vain.



Our brothers know very well that agreements reached by Muslims are sacrosanct. They know that it is a sin to break a pledge. Come rain come shine, genuine Muslims must not renege on their promises. Almighty Allah commands Muslims to fulfill pledges (Glorious Qur’an 5:1 aofuu bil ‘uquud). He says those who renege on their promises will be questioned over it on the Day of Judgement (Qur’an 17:34 inna al-‘ahada kaana mas’uulan)



“We also learnt from the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that hypocrites can be identified through three signs. Firstly, they tell lies when they speak. Secondly, they fail to keep their promises. Thirdly, they betray you when you put your trust in them.



“But the act of solidarity manifested by the twelve Northern governors before the primaries has assured us that Northern Muslims do not have any trait of treachery or hypocrisy in them. For this we give kudos to the El-Rufai camp. Even El-Rufai’s latest utterances have further reinforced the commitment of the North to our agreements.



“We remind President Muhammadu Buhari that the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim president was the crux of the discussion during his one-on-one with the Executive Director of MURIC in Aso Rock in 2022.



“To Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso we have this to say: ‘The emergence of a Yoruba Muslim as president of Nigeria is sine qua non to the liberation of millions of Yoruba Muslims who are languishing in the ‘sugarcane plantations’ of the agents of neo-imperialism which they call schools in the South West. You both stand on the threshold of history today to decide whether you must put your ambition first or freedom for fellow Muslims in Yorubaland. You have the right to choose but note that we do not forget those who stand by us in time of need.’



“As we drop the anchor, we remind our Northern brothers and sisters that only a formidable Muslim Ummah in Nigeria can confront the challenges posed by neocolonialism. All eyes are on the North today as Southern Muslims struggle for emancipation. They must not be mortgaged for a pot of porridge. The noble ideals of a united and indivisible Nigeria for which Sardauna and Balewa died must be kept alive”.


#YorubaMuslimForPresident  #NorthFulfilYourPledge  #KeepTheSardaunaBalewaSpiritAlive



Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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