Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, joined the growing list of presidential aspirants yesterday, Monday, 11th April, 2022. However, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described Osinbajo’s declaration as unethical and purely evangelical.
MURIC made this assertion in a press statement signed by its founder and director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Tuesday, 12th April, 2022.
The statement reads :
“The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday declared his intention to run for the post of president in the coming 2023 general elections. This declaration, to our mind, will not pass any ethical screening. It is purely evangelical.
“As a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Osinbajo is simply carrying out his own part of the RCCG instruction dished out a few weeks ago on the creation of a political department in all parts of Nigeria. We see Osinbajo as the arrow head of the RCCGisation of the Nigerian polity. His declaration must therefore be seen as a demonstration of his own loyalty and obedience to the directive which came from the RCCG headquarters.
“But MURIC cannot keep quiet after Osinbajo’s declaration because it is not in consonance with our agenda for the South West. We have never hidden this agenda from public view as it was made public as far back as February 2021 when we declared our preference for a Yoruba Muslim president.
“We anchored our cassus belli for this preference on the persecution of Yoruba Muslims by their Christian neighbours and we rationalised that we need a Yoruba Muslim as president of Nigeria in order to liberate Yoruba Muslims from decades of marginalisation, impoverishment, oppression, persecution, tyranny and injustice. This is a struggle we cannot abandon at this crucial stage.
“Can Osinbajo tell us he is unaware of the persecution of Muslims in the South West all these years? Was he not the attorney general in Lagos State when Muslims in the state were forced to take the hijab case to court? Was he not the attorney general in the state when the lower court did its judicial somersault? Can he, in good conscience, wash his hands off that case?
“Is Osinbajo also unaware of several incidents of religious oppression against innocent Muslim students in public schools spread all over Yorubaland since he became vice president? Has he ever commented on these cases? By the way, what is the vice president’s view on the right of Muslim women and Muslim female students to use hijab now that he wants to be president in a country with a majority Muslim population? This is a special question for the vice president. Nigerian Muslims want to know.
“If he has always pretended not to know about the persecution and marginalisation of Muslims in Yorubaland, will his ascension to the highest office in the land not worsen these incidents of humiliation and intimidation of our mothers, our wives and our beloved daughters? Won’t our traducers grow a thousand times in impunity and cruelty knowing fully well that central power is in their hands now that a pastor is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
“Osinbajo’s declaration presupposes that Yoruba Christians are born to rule. It gives the provocative impression that Yoruba Muslims are ‘children of slaves’ (a la Ishmael and Isaac storyline) who should never taste power. As we have argued in earlier press statements, all the four Yorubas who have been in Aso Rock were Christians: Olusegun Obasanjo, Earnest Shonekan, Oladipo Diya and the incumbent vice president Yemi Osinbajo.
“If Osinbajo is basking in the born-to-rule syndrome of the RCCG, he should remember that a Muslim, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, brought him to limelight when he served under him as a commissioner in his cabinet. No matter how much they try to rewrite history, nobody can wish that fact away. The same Tinubu brought up your name ab initio in connection with his current position in Aso Rock.
“If the above is true (and it is), the fact that Tinubu declared on 22nd January, 2022 when he met President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock makes Osinbajo’s declaration look like a stab in the back. The vice president cannot claim to be unaware of what even a three months old baby knows already. Or is this how to repay goodness and mentorship? There is something immoral about Osinbajo’s declarationIt stands in contradistinction to a cardinal Yoruba concept, the ‘omoluabi’ concept. . It is absolutely ‘unomoluabi’.
“Even the RCCG angle now becomes more interesting. Osinbajo’s declaration comes across as pure evangelisation particularly in view of the declaration of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) directing all its parishes to open political offices in support of its members seeking political posts. The proselytization of the presidency by no other person than the vice president himself is an unprecedented and dangerous development. No high level candidate in a general election has ever done it in this country.
Osinbajo’s political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) should watch it. Nobody should underrate the perspicacity of Nigerian Muslims. We will reject any party that promotes Redeemisation by forcing an RCCG pastor on Muslim electorates. MURIC is not in alliance with any political party. It is already certain that APC will lose the votes of Yoruba Muslims if it fields an RCCG pastor. We need no rocket science to know that.
The Yoruba people and the political parties should also consider another interesting angle in this matter, namely, the preponderance of Ogun State indigenes among those Yorubas who have been in Aso Rock. All four are from one state (Ogun State). Three were from Abeokuta to be precise. Osinbajo is from Ikenne. Why must all Yoruba rulers of Nigeria come from Ogun State alone? What happened to spread? What happened to balancing? Where is inclusivity in the monopoly of leadership by one state?
MURIC is not worried by this but we think Osinbajo should mellow down and give someone from another state the chance to rule. Asiwaju Tinubu is definitely not from Ogun State. By being vice president for good eight years, Osinbajo has had a good taste of the pudding.
“We are resolved not to vote for the rallying point of our oppressors. More importantly, Northern Muslims will not vote for the candidate of the RCCG particularly after the RCCG made so much noise about creating a political department a few weeks ago. It was an audacious, contemptuous and repugnant confrontation. Osinbajo’s declaration is not only a concretisation of RCCG’s temerity, it is a ludicrous attempt to ‘RCCGise’ or ‘Redeemise’ the polity. We advise Osinbajo to ‘undeclare’