An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, of selling the state to Christians. The organisation alleged that appointments made by the governor into the state’s commissions and boards on Thursday, 23rd July, 2020 were heavily tilted towards Christians.
MURIC denounced the appointments in a statement circulated to media houses on Friday, 7th August, 2020 by the Director of the human rights association, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads, “The recent appointments into commissions and boards in Ogun State leave a sour taste in the mouth. The state governor, Dapo Abiodun, simply took Muslims living under him to the cleaners. An analysis of the appointments confirms our worst fears about most Christian rulers in the South West. They are there to persecute Muslims, give total political and economic power to Christians and impoverish the Muslims.
“How else can we describe Dapo Abiodun’s appointments of Thursday 23rd July, 2020? How can Dapo Abiodun explain an all-Christian membership of the state’s Civil Service Commission, Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and the Agro Services Corporation? The governor has simply renamed those commissions Christian Services Commission although he is yet to officially announce it.
“He gave Muslims 40% of the membership of the state’s Housing Corporation, 33.3% in the Health Management Board and 40% in the Bulk Purchasing Board. It is only in the Local Government Commission that Muslims have 60%. In all, Muslims have eleven (11) out of a total of forty-three (43) appointments.
“Further analysis and deeper screening reveals the governor’s real agenda of selling the state to Christians. He plans to use the 100% Christian membership of the Civil Service Commission to ensure that all future employments into the civil service are for Christian applicants only.
“Also, no single Muslim was appointed into the Teaching Service (TESCOM) for two main reasons. Firstly, in order to employ Christians only as teachers into Ogun State public schools. Secondly, to perpetuate the age-long persecution of Muslim students and bring them under undue influence of Christian teachers cum evangelists. This will facilitate the ‘forceful’ conversion of Muslim students to Christianity. It is equally noteworthy that both Special Advisers to the Governor on Primary/Secondary Education and Tertiary Education are Christians.
“Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has been grossly unfair to Muslims under him. He is not a just ruler. Good governance is not in his vocabulary. He has robbed Muslims of the state of the dividends of democracy. This is in a state where Muslims are the majority.
“This is the mentality of the average Yoruba Christian in power yet we claim there is religious tolerance in Yorubaland. From Ekiti to Ondo, Oyo and now Ogun, their mentality is the same. The average Yoruba Christian ruler has only one dogma, namely, ‘Edge out the Muslims! They don’t exist!’ Only Lagos has given recognition to Muslims under the current Christian governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu.
“Oduduwa Republic will be hell on earth for Yoruba Muslims if it ever materializes. Even without the phantom Oduduwa Republic, Muslims are being tossed around, persecuted, oppressed and marginalized. They scatter us like wild oats. Afenifere sees nothing wrong with the denial of Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims in Oduduwaland.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is enjoying every bit of it though it shouts to high heaven about persecution of Christians at the national level. We wonder what happened to the principle of he who comes to equity coming with clean hands. Ideologues of ‘No religious intolerance in Yorubaland’ look the other way. Who will stand up for Yoruba Muslims?
“MURIC reminds Governor Abiodun of the provisions of Section 14(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that ‘The composition of the Government of the Federation, a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation’.
“Now, can the governor honestly and sincerely tell the whole world that he has recognized the ‘diversity of the people’ (Christians and Muslims) within his area of authority? Can he tell the good people of Ogun State that he has promoted a sense of belonging particularly among the Muslims?
“Lopsided appointments such as this throw up the debate on religious politics. Already, the Muslims of Ogun State are expressing regret for voting for a non-Muslim candidate. Why are Yoruba Muslims being treated like this? Must the Muslims exhibit their numerical strength during elections by giving a block vote to a Muslim candidate before their majority status is given due recognition? Are we getting to that level?
“The marginalization of Muslims by Christian rulers in the region may inadvertently be goading Muslims to do their worst. The two main political parties have also been unfair to Muslims. The difference between them is like the difference between six and haf dozen as far as their treatment of Muslims in Yorubaland is concerned. The governor of Oyo State and his Ogun counterpart are from different political parties yet both of them marginalize Muslims. This is not surprising because what they have Christianity in common.
“For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC stands for peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. We believe in leadership by eligibility. Let the most qualified, tested and trusted person lead regardless of his faith. But the leader must give equal opportunity to all sides without fear or favour. A Muslim governor must not marginaliae his Christian subjects and so vice versa. This is our stand. Truth, equal rights and justice are our mandate. We affirm that justice is the soul of peace. No one who denies one shall enjoy the other. It is natural law.
“We therefore call on Governor Dapo Abiodun to do a rethink. He must search his conscience and see if he has been fair to Ogun State Muslims. There is still time to retrace his steps. He must be governor of both Christians and Muslims, not governor of Christian interest and affairs only.”