The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the Lagos Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for scheduling its meeting to be held inside a church in Ikeja, Lagos, instead of using a neutral venue.
MURIC’s condemnation was contained in a press statement issued on Wednesday, 7th December, 2022 by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“The Lagos headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow, Thursday, 8th December, 2022. Unfortunately the organisers have picked Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, as the venue of the meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje.
“This is very disappointing. How can an electoral body of INEC status pick a religious house of worship as venue for its meeting? Is the meeting for the Christian wing of INEC or what? Is INEC meeting members of the church? This is balderdash. It is unacceptable.
“The choice of a church as venue for a meeting of INEC is very insensitive particularly given the very volatile situation we are in Nigeria today. It is an open secret that Christian pastors are deeply involved in political campaigns. Many of them have turned 2023 election into a straight fight between them and the Muslims.
“INEC Lagos Headquarters has taken a false step. Holding an electoral body’s meeting inside a church is like holding it inside the secretariat of one of the political parties. It erodes confidence. It is totally wrong particularly in a situation whereby the church has publicly revealed that it is an interested party in the ongoing electioneering exercises.
“Why pick a church when there are hundreds of neutral places all over Lagos? Is INEC promoting the church’s vested interest in the 2023 election? Is some kind of connivance in the offing? INEC Lagos headquarters must prove to Lagosians that their votes will count. We call on Lagosians to watch the activities of INEC from now on because we are not convinced that it is going to be neutral. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
“We advise INEC Lagos headquarters to steer clear of churches for any of its activities except those meant for church members alone. The same goes for mosques and shrines. INEC has no business using places of worship for their activities. It is hoped that the national secretariat of INEC will caution its Lagos headquarters.”