The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, declared his intention to contest for the post of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday, 10th January, 2022. Subsequently, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has confirmed Tinubu as a candidate that fits into its long-term aspiration for a Yoruba Muslim president. The group described Tinubu’s declaration as a welcome development.
This was disclosed to journalists today by the director and founder of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
MURIC said :
“It is no longer news that the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has declared his intention to contest for the post of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This happened on Monday, 10th January, 2022.
“It will be recalled that our organisation has repeatedly demanded the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim candidate for the post of president of this country because of the prolonged religious persecution being faced by Muslims in the South West. We have been consistent in this demand. This is verifiable in at least four different press statements issued by us in the past.
“Tinubu’s declaration for the highest post in the land is therefore a welcome development. Also in pursuit of this campaign, MURIC has spent the last four days from Monday 10th January, 2022 (when Tinubu made his declaration) to Thursday, 13th January consulting its state branches in the Yoruba states : Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. The outcome of our investigation reveals a resounding support for Tinubu’s declaration.
“All our state branches confirmed that Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has been close enough to Yoruba Muslims. The Lagos chapter of MURIC also vouched that although Tinubu is not the type that will marginalise Nigerian Christians, at the same time, he will not estrange Yoruba Muslims or ignore their complaints when he becomes president of Nigeria.
“This is the time Yoruba Muslims need the support of their Muslim brethren all over the country to ensure that Tinubu emerges as the candidate of his party at the primaries. They should also vote for him massively during the presidential elections to ensure that he emerges as the president of Nigeria to be sworn in on 29th May, 2023.
“This is the only fair thing that can happen to Yoruba Muslims. Interestingly enough, nobody can claim that the advent of Tinubu as the president of Nigeria is unfair to Yoruba Christians because at least three Yoruba Christians have been both presidents and vice presidents of Nigeria.
“Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo was military head of state and president (1976 – 1979, 1999 – 2007). Earnest Shonekan was interim head of state (August 1993 – November 1993). Right now, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor of the Redeemed Church, has been vice president of Nigeria for the past seven years (from 2015 to date).
“But no single Yoruba Muslim has had the opportunity to taste power in the centre. It is therefore the turn of a Yoruba Muslim and the cap fits Ahmed Tinubu, a Muslim born into a strong Muslim family. Yoruba Muslims are proud of Tinubu as a politician of timber, caliber and caterpillar. He has the mandate of Yoruba Muslims.
“We sound out a caveat emptor to all political parties in the country. Any party that picks a Yoruba Christian as its presidential candidate is on its own. Yoruba Muslims and, indeed, Muslims North and South, will not vote for such a candidate.
“We do not wish to be misunderstood. We will therefore reiterate our position on Christian candidates in the coming presidential election. MURIC has no objection to Christian candidates emerging from any other geo-political zone. It means we are not saying that a Christian cannot be president of Nigeria. We are simply saying that such a Christian should not be a Yoruba man or woman.
“Yoruba Muslims have been marginalized for so long. Politically, Christians have monopolised ministerial positions, state commissionership, boards and agencies. Economically, civil service jobs are selectively offered. The education sector has been the Archiles heel of Yoruba Muslims and a concentration camp where Muslim children are forced to adopt Christian culture. A Christian president from the South West will therefore turn the headache of Yoruba Muslims into migraine.
“MURIC will not be partisan. We will give all political parties a level playing ground. Therefore, we will also support any other political party that picks a Muslim candidate from the South West. No political party should claim that it cannot find qualified Muslim politicians when the likes of Babatunde Fashola, Dr. Muiz Banire, Dr. Abdul Lateef Abdul Hakeem, Senator Fatai Buhari, Rauf Aregbesola, etc, are making waves on the Nigerian political architecture.
“Our target is the liberation of Yoruba Muslims from the shackles of political marginalisation, socio-economic repression and educational enslavement. While MURIC will never exhibit enmity, derision or contempt towards Christians and people of other faiths, it has zero tolerance for Muslim haters. Aluta continua : no retreat, no surrender until victoria acerta.”