Monday, August 31, 2015
1st September, 2015
NIGERIANS MUST CHANGE ETHNIC MINDSET
The most recent appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari have been greeted with a tornado of criticisms from several quarters. The Federal Government named Engr. Babachir David Lawal Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, Kure Martins Abeshi, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service Sentor Ita S. J. Enang and Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu as Special Advisers on National Assembly Matters, Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
The crux of the rejecting voices is the complaint by ethnic groups like Afenifere and Ndigbo that they have been marginalized in the appointments made so far.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) considers the outcry unnecessary. It is a product of negative perceptions and a manifestation of ethnic jingoism. The criticisms cannot be justified by any objective parameter. Worse still, opposition to those appointments cement our fear that Nigeria cannot be called a country any more than a log of woods can be referred to as a ship.
Nigeria is not yet a nation-state. Instead of thinking of the country, most Nigerians think first of their states of origin or even the narrow confines of their clans.
We are baffled that a people who voted for change are not patient enough to allow that change to take place. Ministers, heads and members of parastatals and boards are yet to be announced but we are already passing judgement. Appointments under past regimes were made via political godfathers and on the basis of tribal distribution.
But what did we get from that anachronistic and clannish system? Public office holders looted ad infinitum and attempts at checking them were frustrated by their powerful godfathers and ethnic groups who turned the thieves into heroes.
Have Nigerians forgotten so soon? A South-South governor defrauded his state blind, managed to escape justice in Nigeria but Nemesis caught up with him in England. He jumped bail over there, disguised as a woman and arrived Nigeria only to be welcomed by a mammoth crowd in his home state. A top politician in the South-West who was jailed for corruption was met at the prison gates by his ‘aso-ebi’-clad kinsmen who jubilated as if the man had just won an election.
It appears that the goal of each ethnic group is to get political appointment for the smartest rogue in its midst. Nay, we seem to be expecting our sons and daughters to bring loot from Abuja. How can we celebrate kleptomaniacs so shamelessly?
Instead of behaving like brainwashed ethnic zealots, MURIC advocates objective assessment of appointments. What Nigeria needs to change and move forward are men and women of integrity. We need people with robust pedigrees, men and women of impeccable character, only such people can turn this country around.
We all know that Buhari alone cannot take Nigeria to El-Dorado if he is surrounded by thieves and criminals. He needs like-minds to succeed. So what is the uproar about? It was in this country that a graduate of Yoruba language was employed as an engineer in a water corporation. No wonder Nigerians have no access to portable water. How can we continue to put square pegs in round holes and expect good results?
We warn Nigerians not to confuse Mr. President. The East is crying marginalization because an Igbo man is not on the list. Afenifere is mimicking the East even without having the mandate of all sections in Yorubaland. The North is complaining that Buhari picked Christians from the North. Yet it is not as if some have not been represented, their grudge is they want more, like Oliver Twist.
In particular, many appear to be suffering from a chronic anti-North phobia. Nigerians need to be more broadminded. We do not have to live a life that is permanently based on suspicion of one another. Yet come to think of it, it was the North that gave Buhari the decisive millions which turned the table. What becomes of the goose that lays the golden eggs?
Had Buhari’s appointments tilted towards Muslims the noise of Islamisation would have been deafening. Where are those who tried to use religion to divide us? Where are those who claimed that Buhari’s party was an Islamic party and that the man himself was a Muslim fanatic? Nigeria parades too many confusionists, numerous alarmists and uncountable advocates diaboli.
MURIC appeals to Nigerians to change their mindset. Let us focus on credibility instead of ethnicity. Let our target be excellence and not mediocrity. The National Orientation Agency has a lot to do in this direction. Nigerians urgently need a reengineering session. Let us encourage our leaders to pick the right persons for the right job.
In conclusion, we advise the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to enforce its policy of party supremacy in the issue of appointments in order to avoid sacrificing excellence on the altar of mediocrity. This was what brought the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) down. Cluelessness should not be hereditary across political parties.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Saturday, August 29, 2015
29th August, 2015
REJECTION OF SALARIES, ALLOWANCES:
MURIC COMMENDS ATIKU’S DAUGHTER
The daughter of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Fatima Atiku, who was appointed Commissioner for Health in Adamawa State yesterday offered to serve gratis, without salaries or allowances.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes Dr. Fatima Atiku’s decision with immense pleasure. It is coming at a time when Nigeria needs honest and patriotic citizens to salvage the economic mess left behind by political scavengers and economic parasites who masqueraded as transformers.
By making this huge sacrifice, Dr. Fatima has opened a new and encouraging vista for the young generation of Nigerians. It is also a good example of loyalty in followership as President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor El-Rufai and some others had earlier accepted cuts in their salaries.
Like father, like daughter, Dr. Fatima’s altruism is a natural fallout of the workings of the Adamic chromosome as her father, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, during the 2015 presidential campaigns, had offered to serve without collecting emoluments if elected president.
Unlike the pack of wolves who milked Nigeria dry in the past six years, good leadership is already yielding encouraging results. It has produced the likes of El-Rufai and Fatima. We have no doubt that many others will follow pretty soon. Nigeria will rise again.
MURIC salutes the patriotic Commissioner for Health in Adamawa State. We charge Nigerian youths to learn from her example. One great lesson inherent in her selfless sacrifice is that Nigerians can now see that not all politicians are thieves and rogues. There is, therefore, light at the end of the tunnel. Nigerian youths who had lost all hope for this country should therefore brace up.
Those who had shunned politics for fear of being tarnished should have a change of heart while those who went on self-exile should return home to join us in the task of rebuilding the nation.
In particular, Nigerian women should follow the example of Fatima Atiku. More women should join politics. Gender balance cannot become a reality if our women remain in the kitchen. The time to enroll is now.
In conclusion, we remind Fatima Atiku of her father’s huge contributions to the present dispensation. By leading the historical walkout at the PDP convention in 2014, Atiku Abubakar almost single-handedly engineered the defection of the five PDP governors, an action largely responsible for the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2015 presidential elections. Fatima should therefore continue to tow her father’s path of honour, truth, courage and service to the fatherland.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wishes to inform all Muslim brothers and sisters, particularly all Muslim candidates who are preparing for the November/December 2015 GCE examination that informal negotiation has taken place between MURIC and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) through a Muslim leader who is close to WAEC officials.
We have been assured that the papers scheduled for 2 pm to 4 pm on Fridays will be delayed till 3 pm before starting.
MURIC accepts this assurance in good faith and considers the outcome of the mediation as an agreement between men and women of honour. We also believe that future examination timetables will avoid this controversy.
WAEC is a respected public institution whose integrity we do not wish to impugn. It has served all groups for decades and we all wish to see the institution growing from strength to strength. We appreciate the mature approach which resulted in the latest resolution of the timetable crisis and wish to continue the cordial relationship between WAEC and Nigerian Muslims now and in future.
Islam frowns upon belligerence, violence and acts of terror. In particular, the Qur’an says “… If they (the other party) inclines towards peace, you too must accept settlement (and stop all acts of hostility Qur’an 8:61) and trust in Allah…”
We therefore call upon all our members nationwide, our respected Muslim leaders and all Islamic organizations to accept this agreement, to calm down and to cooperate with WAEC officials as they carry out their legitimate duties.
Allah loves the righteous, those who control their anger and those who forgive others (Qur’an 3:134). Let us all be good ambassadors of Islam. Let us promote peace. Let us join hands with the Federal and State Governments in ensuring peace and harmony.
Thank you all for your solidarity. Allah bless you. Allah bless Nigeria.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
26th August, 2015
WAEC’S RESPONSE TO MURIC’S STATEMENT:
WAEC HAS JUST SHOT ITSELF IN THE FOOT
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has responded to a press statement issued today by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in which the latter criticized WAEC’s examination timetable billed to take off next week for fixing the examinations to coincide with Jum’ah period.
The crux of WAEC’s argument is that the examinations cover the whole of the West African region and that the times fixed for the Nigerian papers were not 1 pm to 3 pm but 2 pm to 4 pm.
MURIC is pleased with the way WAEC shot itself in the foot. The debate is over. Is there anyone in the whole of West Africa who does not know the time Muslims observe Jum’ah? Should a public institution which has operated in Nigeria for decades feign ignorance of the time Muslims go for Jum’ah service on Fridays?
For the avoidance of doubts, we make it abundantly clear that Jum’ah prayers start by 1 pm or 1.30 pm and ends around 2.30 pm.
WAEC claims that its papers start by 2 pm and not 1 pm. So what? What difference does it make? How on earth can a Muslim candidate arrive early enough at the examination center for a paper which will start by 2 pm even if the prayer ends by 2 pm? Has WAEC built mosques for Muslim candidates at the examination centers? We assert that WAEC is insensitive to the plight of its Muslim candidates by admitting that its papers start by 2 pm.
Let us call a spade a spade. By fixing examinations at 2 pm (as admitted by WAEC in its press statement of today), WAEC has subjected Muslim candidates to undue pressure and undeserved disadvantage capable of militating against optimum performance.
WAEC has just exposed itself as an institution which has never shown interest in the welfare of its Muslim candidates. We wonder how WAEC has been dealing officially with its Muslim employees all these years. Or are there no Muslims at the management level in WAEC to advise WAEC about the right time to fix examinations on Fridays? Is Islamophobia so deep and widespread in WAEC?
WAEC also argues that some subjects and timings are for candidates based in Ghana, are there no Muslims in Ghana? The wind has blown. We have seen the ruff of the hen. So this is how WAEC has been persecuting Muslim candidates in other West African countries.
MURIC reminds WAEC that Islam is a brotherhood without borders. Oppression of Muslims in one country is oppression of all Muslims of the world. Our dogma in MURIC is, “Oppress one, oppress all”. The Glorious Qur’an says, “Verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood and I am your Lord…” (Qur’an 23:52). We therefore reject WAEC’s attempt at divide et impera.
We hereby repeat our advise to WAEC. Review your November/December 2015 GCE examination timetable as you may deem fit. You have insulted our collective intelligence by insisting that MURIC misled the public. Starting a propaganda war with Muslims is not the wisest thing to do at this point in time. There is no way you can win.
This controversy reminds us of the anatomy of terrorism. It is a cause-effect affair because there is no smoke without fire. People who nurse grudges react in different ways but why provoke people in the first place? Provocation is mostly to blame for violent reactions. What Nigeria needs presently is a peaceful atmosphere. Give people justice and there will be enduring peace. Justice is the soul of peace.
WAEC is advised to desist from heating up the polity. Let my people go! Allow Muslim candidates to attend the Jum’ah services. We are not a violent group but there is no point provoking Nigerian Muslims. All we are saying is “Let the Muslims go”. WAEC will lose nothing by eating the humble pie.
We appeal to Nigerian authorities to wade into this matter before it is too late. We call on the education committees of the National Assembly to do the needful. The worst families are those who do not dialogue on issues. The Nigerian nation is a large family. “Come now, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)