The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of being motivated by his hatred for Muslims in his latest political interventions. MURIC’s allegation came through a press statement released on Saturday, 7th January, 2023, by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads in full :
“We note with interest the overzealousness exhibited by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Nigerian political scene which pointed towards renewed anti-Muslim campaign as he bays and ululates all over the place, particularly in churches, in his usual loquacious manner.
“As an Islamic human rights organization, we cannot stand akimbo while Obasanjo continues to vent the most odious, insidious and odoriferous religious halitosis on the Nigerian political atmosphere. We strongly resent this propensity. It stands in contradistinction with the true principles of democracy.
“Mathew Obasanjo is reawakening his old passion for marginalizing Muslims and robbing them of their Allah-given and fundamental human rights to be an integral part of the democratic process.
“We recall that it was Obasanjo’s policy of exclusivism that ensured that no single Muslim was given a ministerial appointment in any of the seventeen states of the South during his regime. Worse still, he engaged in a tortuous policy of isolated selection by favouring Christians from Muslim majority areas in his appointments.
“This resulted in the emergence of Christians as ministers and heads of parastatals in Kwara, Kogi, Kaduna and several other states in the North. The records are there for verification. If he denies this, let him produce his ministerial lists of 1999 and 2003. The current obnoxious practice of picking mainly Christians as recruits into the army and police even from core Muslim areas began in Obasanjo’s time.
“Nonetheless, we appeal to Muslims all over the country to ignore Obasanjo’s provocations and his anti-Muslim prejudice. Obasanjo has become a political featherweight and expired politician whose endorsement is as meaningless as that of a street boy hawking pure water. Therefore, he cannot effectively rubbish Muslim presidential candidates of timber, caliber and caterpillar.
“There is nothing for Nigerian Muslims to worry about a former president who scored 18 votes while his opponent scored 87 votes in his own ward (Ward 11, unit 22, Olusomi compound, Abeokuta North Local Government) in the 2019 presidential election. A man without any electoral value should not give us sleepless nights.
“Neither should a man who refused to treat Christians and Muslims equally but gave all the milk and honey in the land to people of his own faith alone teach us any lesson in justice and equity. What Nigeria needs is a leader who has evidence of treating both Christians and Muslims equally both within his own family and beyond. Only such a man can ensure equal treatment of every Nigerian.
“The alleged anti-Muslim statements credited to Obasanjo in which he was quoted as speaking in a church against the emergence of a Muslim president are quite unbecoming of a former president. A former president should be a statesman in every sense of the word.
“General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) is preaching unity. General Abdul Salaam Abubakar (rtd) is preaching peace. But Obasanjo is dividing Nigerians along religious lines. He has no moral authority to blame past leaders when he is not a past follower. It smirks of political charlatanism.
“Finally, Obasanjo should learn to respect leaders who did not desecrate the presidency by arrogating our common patrimony to themselves in the name of presidential libraries and hill-top palatial mansions. Obasanjo should stop preaching hatred of Muslims inside churches. There is every reason to believe that his latest intervention in the political arena is motivated by hatred for Muslims.
“We do not hate our Christian neighbours. We love to see them around. They are an integral part of our unity in diversity. Political shenanigans and religious demagogues will fail in their attempt to weaponise religion for their selfish agenda. If we cast our votes for a just and equitable Muslim in 2023, nothing stops us from voting for a Christian of like mind at any other time.”