Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), is fond of making spurious and controversial statements. Recently, he used MURIC’s name to reiterate his support for former Governor of Lagos State Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential ambition. According to him, Tinubu’s candidature is a fulfillment of the long-term aspiration to have a Yoruba Muslim as president of Nigeria. He also warned that Muslims wouldn’t vote for any party that presented a Yoruba Christian presidential candidate.
Akintola premised his stand on the alleged “prolonged religious persecution being faced by Muslims in the South-West.” According to him, past and present occupants of Aso Rock from the South-West were Christians. He cited Chiefs Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan (the late interim Head of State from August 1993 to November 1993) as well as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as examples. He urged Muslims all over the country to support their Yoruba brethren to ensure that Tinubu emerges the candidate of his party at the primaries and, ultimately, the President of Nigeria in 2023. Akintola, a professor of Islamic eschatology, is convinced that a Christian President from the South-West will “turn the headache of Yoruba Muslims into migraine.”
How ridiculous can one be! Our dear professor is invariably saying that, if he has a choice between a corrupt Muslim and a transparent Christian, he will choose the former so far as Islam is concerned. If he has a choice between competence and incompetence, he will not mind choosing incompetence as long as a person from his preferred religion is at the helm.
To him, the allegations against Tinubu are immaterial. Today, the former Lagos governor is seen as a bullion-van politician. In the run-up to the 2019 presidential election, two bullion vans were sighted in his compound in Ikoyi, Lagos. This was apparently to aid in distributing cash for votes for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Besides, as has been noted by many commentators, Tinubu has a lot of personal baggage to contend with. There are question marks hanging over his age, sources of wealth, health, name, parents, schools attended and certificates obtained.
In any case, Akintola’s current endorsement of Tinubu is typical of his numerous infantile gibberish, which belittle him as a professor. In April 2020, he reportedly asked the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) if there was an agenda to reduce the population of Muslims in Kano State. Then, Kano had recorded many deaths resulting from COVID-19. But our professor thought it was a deliberate attempt to reduce the Muslim population in that North-West state. He was also reported to have said in January 2020 that the name of the South-West regional security outfit, Amotekun, was anti-Islam and should be changed. Amotekun is a Yoruba word for Leopard. But as far as Akintola was concerned, the outfit was more of a Christian initiative because the name was chosen from a Bible verse (Jeremiah 5:6) which says, “A leopard shall guard over their city.”
Among many others, Akintola had reportedly asserted that Muslims were in bondage in Nigeria because Christians enjoyed more holidays than Muslims; that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was being used by certain forces to retard the educational progress of Muslims; and that Nigerians attacked Fulani herdsmen because they were Muslims.
Akintola’s views on religion are completely at variance with the disposition of the majority of the Yoruba who are mostly tolerant of other people’s religion. In some typical Yoruba families, you can find Christians cohabiting with Muslims. The father may be a Muslim while the mother is a Christian. Their children go to either mosque or church for their worship.
This is the tradition the likes of Akintola are striving hard to destroy. Like MURIC, the Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), sometime last year, sinned when it said it was the turn of Christians to produce Nigeria’s President in 2023. According to the group, the emergence of a Christian as President in 2023 would be a true expression of equity and justice for Nigeria. This same Akintola replied YOWICAN then saying it was the turn of a Muslim to occupy the seat of power in Abuja going by what he called mathematical exactitude from the time Nigeria began civil rule in 1999. If adherents of other religions begin their own agitation, I wonder where that will lead us as a nation.
This is why Nigeria has failed to solve the leadership problem that has bedevilled it since Independence. The qualities we consider for leadership are queer, mundane and out of tune with modern realities. Those who eventually emerge as our leaders are not prepared in any way for the job entrusted in their hands. Obasanjo was brought out of prison by some powers that be and made to rule us for eight years. It was to compensate the South-West, which was restless over the annulment of June 12, 1993, presidential election presumably won by Chief Moshood Abiola. Obasanjo handed over to his ailing close ally, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who eventually died in office. Goodluck Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s deputy. He too was not prepared. He took over at the demise of his boss, messed up like others and handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari who has shown clearly that he was not prepared like others before him.
Nigerians must be vigilant this time. We are in a critical period and must vote for a President who has certain qualities to lead us in 2023 and beyond. Such a President must possess clear and unambiguous qualifications. University degree is not a must but it will be preferable. The person must show evidence that he has the capacity to manage human and material resources.
Our next President must be healthy and alive to his responsibilities. We can’t afford to continue wasting our scarce resources on medical tourism for a sick President. In fact, those who are from 70 years and above should not aspire to lead this country in 2023. President Buhari, early this year, lamented that old age was telling on him. We don’t need such lamentations again.
Our next President must have unblemished records. If he is associated with corruption of any type, we must reject him. A corrupt person will not only milk us dry, he will also cause serious insurrection, which a mismanaged economy will induce.
Whoever is nepotistic and narrow-minded needs not aspire to lead the 21st century Nigeria. Our next President, therefore, must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. He should be the President of Nigeria and not the President of the Fulani or Igbo or Yoruba. Religion should also be out of it.
Above all, the next Nigerian President must be knowledgeable, visionary and pragmatic. He must galvanize all sections of Nigeria into achieving a common goal – an egalitarian society where peace, unity, prosperity and security of life and property are guaranteed.
Re: Buhari’s prayers over Nigeria’s security challenges
Faith without good works is dead. Buhari’s talks are at variance with the wishes of the people. True federalism tolerates public opinions but the President shows utter disregard for the views of the people. He rejected state police and refused to sign the electoral bill, etc. So, the country is running a one-man show, which is not solving, but exacerbating, the problems in the land.
– Dr. Oyibo Eze, +234 805 201 3811
Dear Casy, you can tell a blind man about the absence of oil in the soup but you can’t tell him about the absence of salt in the same soup. The success or otherwise of FG’s battle against insecurity can be seen even by a blind man. FG’s claim of success is more of propaganda, which aims at self-aggrandizement, image laundering and deceit of the gullible public. This is so because every day people are mowed down or kidnapped in droves, especially in the North-West flank of the country. Suggestion: War is not won on television, radio or on the pages of newspapers. FG should re-strategise, do less of talking and more of action for optimal results.
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, prayers to God are good because one recognizes the miraculous power of the supremacy of the Almighty God in every situation. However, the person who offers the prayers must have faith in the supremacy of the Supreme Being. And to have faith means that the person must observe all the commandments of the Supreme Being. Unfortunately, a leader who decides to offer 95% of what belongs to a nation to his own people, allows his people to terrorize other people and yet not punished by the law can’t be expecting a positive response from such prayers. Buhari should expect God to answer his prayers when he creates functional jobs, restructures Nigeria, builds industries, allows State Police, eschews religious and ethnic bias.
-Pharm. Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922
DearCasmir, the war against insecurity should not be channelled only against the shooting and bombing experienced. Social insecurity should also be fought through financial economy. We also address social protection for the girl child and woman by ending rape, wife beating, persuaded and ‘arrangee’ marriage and grant free education to all women from cradle to first degree.
– Cletus Frenchman, Enugu. +2349095385215
Casmir on the 27th of Oct. 1999, Zamfara and 11 other states in the north pressed the self-destruct button when they introduced Sharia due to their intolerant attitude to a newly elected Christian-led government in the person of Obasanjo. I told a friend back then that by this act the north had murdered sleep of which later events have vindicated me. This University of Sharia now has faculty of Boko Haram with strong departments of bandits and herdsmen. PMB’s manifest righteousness is questionable. Until they recognise the secularity of the Nigerian nation, state police will not solve their challenges.
-Mike, Mushin Lagos, +2348161114572
DearCasy, Buhari’s prayers over Nigeria’s security challenges is akin to a man who set his father’s house on fire to hurt his brothers and sisters and rushed to fire fighters to help him put off the inferno. Buhari assumed office and handed the country over to his Fulani kinsmen both here and other parts of Africa to take over our ancestral lands that resulted in the present security quagmire. Almighty doesn’t answer Buhari type of prayers. He has to repent before his prayer request. He is the architect of our current misfortune.
-Eze Chima C. Lagos, +2347036225495
It’s biblical that faith without one’s belief and work is dead. The solution to Nigeria’s recurring security challenges must not be left to the vagaries of fate. On state police, there may be some salient points against it, namely its possible misapplication or use by state governors against their political opponents and pursuit of other personal agenda. But the merits of a state police that is founded on a solid legislation that prevents its abuse far outweigh its demerits. State police remains an integral aspect of a true federal setting, and indeed a veritable tool that can be used to stem the tide of insecurity at the state and grassroots levels.
-Edet Essien Esq. Cal South, 08037952470
Prayer without hard work is waste of time because God answers prayers if there is something on the table.
– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535