Nigeria’s Muslim human rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has reacted to a recent statement issued by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in which it called for a Christian president for Nigeria by 2023. MURIC said while it is not opposed to the idea of a Christian president for Nigeria, CAN must wait for its turn.
MURIC spoke via its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 2nd August, 2023. The full statement reads:
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) last week demanded a Christian president come 2023 (https://thenationonlineng.net/2023-can-pushes-for-christian-president/). But we believe that it is not yet the turn of a Christian to be the president of Nigeria if we want to go by mathematical exactitude from the time Nigeria began civil rule in 1999.
“Chief Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian, spent eight (8) years as president (1999 – 2007). Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan also spent five (5) years (5th May, 2010 – 29th May, 2015). That brings the total spent by Christian presidents in Aso Rock to thirteen (13) years.
“Meanwhile Alhaji Musa Yaradua, a Muslim, spent three (3) years as president and the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, will be completing his eighth year in office by the good Grace of Allah on 29th May, 2023. By simple arithmetic, this will bring the total spent by the two Muslim presidents to eleven (11) years.
“MURIC is being generous, otherwise it would have towed the line of those who argue that Jonathan spent six (6) years and that will bring the total number of years spent by Christians to fourteen (14). In the same vein, we would have supported those who said Yaradua spent just two (2) years and that would have reduced the number of years spent by Muslims in power to ten (10) years.
“Muslims will be shortchanged by two or four years if a Christian becomes president in 2023. The ideal thing is to allow another Muslim to spend only one term from 2023 to 2027. There will be no doubt about who takes the reins of power from 2007 because a Christian must be installed as president at that time. All controversies would have been removed but there is controversy now.
“For the avoidance of doubts, we reiterate our readiness to accept a Christian as president but it must be at the right time. It will be unfair to install a Christian president in 2023 when Muslims still have a shortfall of two or four years. It is the group that has a two-year or four-year shortfall that should be given the chance for a make-up, not the group that has a two-year advantage.
“We advise CAN to wait for its own time and to stop heating up the polity with untimely demands. CAN should also take a retrospective look at its attitude towards the incumbent since 2015 when a Christian president left the stage. Nigerians are already comparing CAN’s weekly visits to Aso Rock in the days of Jonathan, a Christian president, to turn on the tap of gold and its extremely hostile stance to the incumbent, a Muslim president, since 2015. We really sympathise with CAN but facts are sacred. Figures and dates are sacrosanct.”