Tuesday, December 24, 2013
25th December, 2013
FREE KANO SPEAKER & LEGISLATORS NOW
The speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Hon Gambo Sallau, clerk of the House and nine other legislators were yesterday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They were alleged to have fraudulently approved a supplementary budget of N28 billion.
We are surprised at the newfound agility of EFCC who just a few days ago complained that it had less than N2 million in its account and therefore could not pursue its legitimate functions. Could it mean that the presidency had been deliberately stinting EFCC of funds in order to bring it to its knees and consequently compel it to do its beck and call? It just doesn’t add up. Where and how did EFCC suddenly find its lost appetite for pursuing allegedly corrupt legislators?
Or are we witnessing a conspiracy theory postulating a presidential pound of flesh? The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds it very curious that All Progressive Congress (APC) states are beginning to bear the brunt of EFCC’s sharp teeth. Lagos Assembly is already licking its wounds as EFCC operatives keep hounding its speaker and some of its members. Is it now the turn of Kano?
The witch cried yesterday and the child died today. The case is just too glaring. The fact that the five governors who defected to the APC chose Kano as the venue for the announcement of their defection makes EFCC’s descent on Kano more intriguing. Is Kano being punished for its audacity? If this is so, the noose must be tightening around the neck of the governor of Kano.
It had better not be. Politics of vindictiveness is capable of killing Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Napoleon Bonaparte was visionary when he said the only lesson men learn from history is that they learn nothing from history.
Why have our leaders failed to learn from the causes of military intervention in the politics of Nigeria? Why was the South-West called the Wild Wild West in the early 60s? What was the casus belli of ‘operation wet e’? Where are the tyrants of yesterday? Where is Hitler of Germany? Where is Mussolini of Italy? Where is Idi Amin Dada of Uganda?
The rulers of Nigeria today must decide whether they want their names printed in letters of gold or dumped in the dustbin of history. Divisional Police Officers now storm the venue where whole state governors are holding meetings simply because they belong to the opposition. It is infra dignitatem.
Policemen block governors from using roads and seal up opposition secretariats. Police chiefs withdraw security details of state chief executives and the opposition is not free to associate or hold meetings. Aircrafts used by opposition members are not allowed to use the Nigerian airspace.
This government’s cup of sins is not only full, it is already spilling over. Civil society must rise now before it is too late. Both the church and the mosque must speak out against totalitarian dictatorship because their followers will all be affected by the consequences of bad governance if they fail to speak out now.
MURIC therefore urges religious leaders to abandon the traditional triangular orientation which takes the faithful from the mosque to work and back to the house. We must watch politicians and caution them when necessary because their actions or inactions, successes and failures, competence and ineptitude, tyranny or kind disposition is bound to affect all and sundry.
Bad governance is responsible for the darkness in Nigeria today: that is why there is no electricity. Executive ineptitude is to blame for the degradation in the education sector. That was why strike paralysed the universities for six months. Neither the church nor the mosque enjoys electricity today.
Both Christian and Muslim parents as well as their sons and daughters suffered tremendously from the strike that just ended. Religious leaders are therefore vital stakeholders. We must not remain silent in the face of oppression because what goes round comes around.
We also call on well-meaning Nigerians and elder statesmen not to sit on the fence. We charge the international community to start warning the Nigerian government concerning the threat to the rule of law, restrictions to freedom of movement and abuse of executive power.
Finally, MURIC calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Kano legislators. EFCC must also drop its charges against Lagos legislators or table water-tight evidence against them if there is any in a court of law.
We are constrained to express palpable fear over the conduct of 2015 general elections. A government which stifles the opposition and witch-hunts defectors cannot be trusted to conduct a free and fair election.
The law establishing EFCC must also be amended to give the body full autonomy and freedom from intervention or influence from the presidency.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, December 23, 2013
24th December, 2013
CHRISTIANS & MUSLIMS MUST UNITE FOR PEACE & PROGRESS
Christians of many denominations all over the globe will tomorrow mark the birth of Jesus (Peace be upon him). To this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th December, 2013 as holidays.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) seize the opportunity of this august occasion to remind Nigerians of the high pedestal on which Jesus is placed in Islam. The Glorious Qur’an describes Jesus as a “righteous prophet (Qur’an 6:85) and he is “held in honour in this world and the hereafter and of those nearest to Allah” (3:45).
MURIC reaffirms its resolve to respect the rights of people of other faiths to observe their festivals and the attendant holidays without let or hinderance. We call for peaceful coexistence and dissociate ourselves from any group which carries out or encourages attacks on Christians and their places of worship as this stands in contradistinction from the true teachings of Islam.
We assert clearly and unambiguously that contrary to the distorted doctrine of violent groups, Al-Jannah does not lie at the feet of killers of Christians and bombers of churches but rather it is, first and foremost, attained with the incomprehensible grace of Almighty Allah and bestowed upon righteous Muslims who extend charity, love and tolerance to their neighbours.
MURIC charges Christian leaders to join hands with the leadership of Nigerian Muslims in the struggle to expel all vestiges of aggression from the land, whether it is greedy politicians who corruptly arrogate to themselves all the milk and honey in the land or mindless criminals who make life unsafe for the citizens. We have no doubt that religious leaders can use the powerful tools of faith to save Nigerians from insecurity, ignorance, hunger and disease.
Instead of engaging in unwarranted acrimony and sensational finger-pointing, the leadership of the body of Christ in Nigeria and the Muslim Ummah can explore the deep abyss of divinity to unite Nigerians for peace and progress.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, December 16, 2013
16th December, 2013
OBASANJO’S MISSIVE: ASO ROCK IS PROCRASTINATING
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote an 18 page-letter to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan a few days ago raising grave concern over some very serious national issues.
Most prominent among the issues raised in Obasanjo’s monumental missive are the allegation that the president is destroying the party; that he is currently training 1,000 snipers to deal with opposition figures; that the president is not sincere about the war on corruption and that the president has maintained a conspiratorial silence each time his clansmen threatened the rest of Nigeria.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) observes that Obasanjo took it upon himself to write the letter as a major stakeholder in the ruling party (the People’s Democratic Party, PDP) having ruled the country under the umbrella of the same PDP for two terms and having served as the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) for several years. The fact that the historical letter came soon after the defection of five state governors from the PDP is quite didactic and shows the major raison d’être for Obasanjo’s letter.
MURIC notes that the letter was dated 2nd December, 2013 and we are worried that President Jonathan is yet to react to the main allegations two weeks after it was written. Instead, the president has taken shelter in the bosom of boot-lickers and court-jesters. Is President Jonathan waiting for angels to bring him answers from heaven?
The issues raised are too fundamental to be brushed aside. They have to do with the core principles of democracy: probity, accountability, justice, fairplay and equal rights. They have to do with the welfare of the Nigerian people and how to bring food to the common man’s table. We are talking of the security of lives and properties and the president of this country who has been accused of training professional assassins keeps mute. How can there be security when the president himself becomes a threat? The chief security officer becomes the major threat to security of lives. It is unheard of. The president must break the ice. Nigerians are running out of patience to hear the president’s defence.
It is on record that when the neocon-dominated Grand Old Party (GOP) accused US President Barrack Obama of pursuing a foreign policy of appeasement, Obama fired back within 24 hours whether the killing of Osama bin Laden and about 22 other key figures of Al-Qaedah fits into that allegation, the GOP promptly put its tail between its legs like a frightened dog and ran off the stage.
MURIC is asking Mr. President why it must take him a whole projected second term (2015 – 2019) to answer the Tsunami-igniting allegations leveled against him by a former head of state who should know.
We reject NNPC’s lame explanation that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not know the procedure for tracking Nigeria’s oil money. That line of reasoning is myopic, infantile and therefore unacceptable. It is designed to mislead gullible Nigerians. CBN is on track on this issue of missing $49.8b. CBN is not meddling into oil exploitation or its drilling. CBN is talking about facts and figures of oil income and that is CBN’s constituency. For Allah’s sake somebody somewhere is milking Nigeria dry in preparation for 2015!
Or what is Jonathan’s take on Oduahgate? Why is the president silent on this N255m scandal? If the president considers Stella Oduah as a sacred cow, then he has desecrated his sacred office. This woman has been indicted by the committees which investigated her. Is there no limit to executive protection of thieves and rogues in this country? What message is Mr. President trying to pass to civil servants, artisans, teachers and students and other young Nigerians? Is Nigeria’s image irredeemable? Should honest Nigerians say goodbye to transparency out of frustration? Mr. President’s body language seems to be saying a capital YES to each of these questions.
A female minister was removed by the president of Ghana a few weeks ago. The minister had not actually stolen money. She merely expressed the wish to amass wealth. Why is Nigeria’s case different? Why is Stella Oduah a tin god in Aso Rock?
A president who declares the candidate who scores 16 votes as the winner and treats the candidate who scores 19 as a criminal; a president who enters into a pledge to serve only one term only to turn around to deny the existence of such an agreement; a president under whom members of the opposition are denied right to use the Nigerian airspace; a president who orders or condones the marking of opposition secretariat and their private properties for destruction; a president who looks the other way as police torment a whole state governor; a president under whose watchful eyes a serving minister threatens to make life unbearable for a state governor is not fit to be the bastion of our fledgling democracy.
Nigerians are itching to get answers for these and other issues raised by former President Obasanjo. The National Assembly should stand firm on this issue. The nation’s lawmakers must remember the words of Malcolm X, “Power never takes a back step, only in the face of greater power”, the corroborative compliment of Noah Webster who said, “Power is always right, weakness always wrong. Power is always insolent and despotic” and Thomas Jefferson’s nail in the coffin of tyrants, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." NASS must compel President Jonathan to explain the rationale behind his actions. NASS is the last hope of the people.
Aso Rock is procrastinating and procrastination is the thief of time. Further delay is not acceptable to Nigerians. Jonathan must speak up now.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)