This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, October 8, 2018
PRESS RELEASE: CAUTION CAN OVER POLITICAL OVERTURES
8th October, 2018
CAN OVER POLITICAL OVERTURES
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has
reacted to moves by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to deploy 300
observers during the 2019 elections as well as certain subterranean manouvres
in the political arena.
According to the Islamic human rights organization
in a statement signed by its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on
Monday 8th October, 2018, CAN is over-reaching itself.
“CAN is overreaching itself. The monitoring
of elections in this country has never been based on religious affiliation. The
last time we checked, no country in the whole wide world has been doing that.
The avalanche of non-govermental organizations (NGOs) are more than enough as
neutral observers. We advise CAN to give unto Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar
“Come to think of it, how does CAN
expect to guarantee its neutrality as an observer? Who doesn’t know what the
reports of CAN’s observers will contain? It is very simple given the anti-Muslim
threats and post-Christian comments of pastors in the past two years. Christian
clergies have openly exhorted their followers not to vote for Muslims. So what they
will be reporting as observers is very easy to guess. CAN has shown beyond any
reasonable doubt that it has vested interest. We therefore advise the
Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) to ignore CAN’s request on the
issue of observers”.
MURIC also accused CAN of seeking to
impose Christian governors in all South Western states.
“Our neighbours do not believe in
sharing with others. They must take everything. To them the method does not
matter. Fair or foul means mean the same to them. Otherwise
how does one explain CAN’s demand that INEC should declare Ademola Adeleke as
the winner of Osun gubernatorial election when CAN is not unaware that Adeleke
scored F9 parallel in WAEC and the police has a case of examination malpractice
waiting for him?
What kind of governor will Adeleke be? What
example can he give the youths of the State of Osun? Will he have the moral
right to condemn students who engage in examination malpractice or cultism? Adeleke
will certainly desecrate the revered office of the governor. Or does CAN think
dancing alone is enough as qualification for the post of governor? CAN wants to
sacrifice excellence on the altar of mediocrity. Just because of religion? How
does a governor with such a low level of education appreciate the value of
education in the state? How will he relate with professors and doctorate degree
holders in his executive when no hospital has the cure for inferiority complex?
“We like to place it on record that CAN
is the one that often forces MURIC to engage it in polemics. We cannot keep
quiet when CAN adopts an aggressive political agenda which is detrimental to
the interest of Muslims. MURIC has a moral obligation to defend the interest of
Muslims. The atmosphere will be cleaner and safer if CAN will not seek to
arrogate all political offices to Christians or make ridiculous demands like
seeking to enthrone the least qualified citizen in a state as governor.
“Can CAN deny that its leaders met the Oyo
State governor about three weeks ago to demand that the next governor of the
state must be a Christian? Was that also not CAN’s battle cry for the heart of
Lagos in 2015? Today, Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti are ruled by Christian governors
while Ogun, Osun and Oyo have Muslims as governors. That means Christians have
three governors while Muslims also have three. But CAN is not satisfied. Its
own idea of neighbourliness is to seize the whole South West. Our people say
that the eagle that perches on a tree top does not know that those on the
ground are watching it.
“We know the rationale for CAN’s
interest and we understand. Patronage becomes specially juicy, pecuniary
benefits become more secretive and political appointments get more lopsided
when its cronies are made governors. But should religion be the main criterion
for choice of state governors?
“We advise CAN to do away with its domineering
complex. Religious leaders should allow the electorate to choose candidates
with the right leadership qualities like vision, high level intelligence,
accessibility, credibility, integrity, probity and accountability. Any
candidate who possesses these qualities should be the favourite of the
electorate. It does not matter whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. Only thus
can such candidates perform when they get into office. For the avoidance of
doubt, MURIC is prepared to accept and support any Christian candidate who
possesses the right qualities.
“Let us pick candidates on the basis of
what they are capable of doing and not on the basis of their religious
affiliation. We must look for candidates who will eliminate corruption, improve
infrastructure, provide job opportunities, care for retirees and senior
citizens, diversify the economy, pursue a rigorous public health scheme,
provide 24-hour power supply and turn the education sector into the pride of
scholars. CAN should therefore stop making demands for Christians to be picked
as gubernatorial candidates or presidents. It is parochial, myopic and
“CAN should also realize the Utopian nature of the ‘Christians
vote for Christians’ dogma. It is unrealistic in the Nigerian setting. For
example now, former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu
Buhari have emerged as candidates of the two major political parties and both
happen to be Muslims. How does that fit into the Christian agenda?
“MURIC appeals to CAN to think Nigeria and to work towards emancipating
the masses from the grip of the few wealthy, greedy and selfish citizens. How
do we explain a situation where only 1% of the population arrogate to
themselves 85% of the total wealth while the overwhelming 99% fight over just
15% of the resources? The hard fact is that Christians and Muslims are among
the 1% superfluously rich while the 99% hoi polloi are also Christians and
“This is the area that should concern religious leaders. We
should find solutions to poverty, illiteracy and disease. Christian and Muslim
leaders should put their heads under the same thinking cap to find solution to
corruption, insecurity and other problems plagueing the nation. We should think
less of the religion of the president or the governor because that is often
done for personal aggrandisement and other narrow ends.
“A political culture based on religious affiliation cannot
give us good roads, efficient electricity supply, qualitative education,
reliable public health system, etc. It can only give the religious leaders and
their families more private jets, more private universities and more contracts
while the followers continue to wallow in abject poverty. Directing our
followers to focus on religious affiliation alone is symptomatic of acute desertification
“We appeal to well-meaning Nigerians to caution CAN leadership
on its political misadventures. Nigerian Muslims and their leaders are not
known for making explosive or provocative statements. Neither are they known
for hobnobbing with people in the corridor of power. CAN has had a field day in
that respect for a very long time. It can no longer enjoy that monopoly. CAN
should know when the ovation is loudest. The world is now a tiny village and
nothing is hidden any longer.
“We confuse Nigerians when Christian leaders speak and Muslim
leaders react or vice versa. It
stokes the fire of religious crisis. It also confuses and embarrasses political
leaders. A more mature way is for us to follow the path of dialogue based on
mutual respect. We need to interface frequently at both high and grassroot
levels. Leaders from both divides should invite one another to their homes and
allow Nigerians to see how they relate cordially. This will boost peaceful
“In a nutshell, MURIC implores INEC to ignore CAN’s request on
the monitoring of 2019 elections. CAN should allow sleeping dogs to lie.
Religious leaders must help in changing this country’s political culture. Merit
should be the watchword, not mediocrity. We must not make demands for the
emergence of Christian or Muslim candidates. We must educate our followers to
appreciate transparency, credibility, integrity and good antecedence in
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)