President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recent appointments in the South West have been criticised by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an organisation that advocates for Islamic human rights. The group portrayed the appointments as being on a ticket with a Muslim and a Christian.
This information was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the organization’s executive director.
He said: “We are constrained, once again, to ventilate the fears being expressed by Nigerian Muslims regarding recent appointments of people from the South West made by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Muslim observers and analysts have agreed that the appointments tilt heavily towards Yoruba Christians.
“Among the key federal appointments cornered by Yoruba Christians are the CEO, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), CEO, Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), DG, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services, the Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Unconfirmed sources claim that the Chief of Army Staff is also a Christian even though he still bears a Muslim name. 7 out of 10 ministers from the South West are Christians. The Chairman, Tax Reform Committee and the Special Adviser, Economic Affairs are both Yoruba Christians. Many of the Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Assistants from the South West are also Christians.
“This trajectory raises more questions than answers. For instance, how did Muslim-Muslim ticket metamorphose into Christian-Christian appointments? How did Muslim-Muslim ticket end up as Muslim-Muslim marginalization? How come the same Christian groups who vehemently opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket and who did not vote for it are now the same groups eulogizing the Muslim-Muslim ticket while those who are not praising it among them are maintaining a conspiratorial silence?
“We reiterate our position on ‘competence’ as the parameter for picking appointees as clearly stated in our press statement of 18th September, 2023 in which we said, ‘MURIC rejects this trending narrative that makes competence the raison d’etre for concentrating appointments in any particular tribe, religion or group. Government’s tentacles should be spread nationwide in the search for competence. Neither should the need for skills be used as a cover for the marginalisation of some sections of Nigeria.
“We assert clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that competence is not the monopoly of any tribe, faith or group. Talented Nigerians are to be found everywhere if sincere searches are conducted.
“Besides, government should take the lion share of the blame if competent hands cannot be found in any section, creed or group for certain assignments. It means the government has not, ab initio, allowed educational and training facilities to be fairly and evenly distributed, or that government has failed to consciously integrate all segments of the Nigerian society. All sectors must therefore have equal opportunities to participate in governance.’
“MURIC has never said Christians should not be given appointments, what we oppose is constant domination of governance by Christians and marginalisation of Muslims even when Muslims are eminently qualified. We are for sharing, not monopoly. We are for inclusivity, not exclusivity.
“Who says Muslims have no qualified candidates? For example, Yoruba Muslims had their eyes on a tested and trusted retired police commissioner who has a nationwide reputation for transparency as the next chairman of the EFCC but Tinubu in his own wisdom picked a pastor of the same Redeemed Church which spread toxic propaganda against the Muslim-Muslim ticket and threatened hell and brimstone during the electioneering campaigns.
“Yoruba Muslims were politically marginalized under every Christian president that has ruled this country. This informed MURIC’s early outcry as far back as 2021 for the need for a Yoruba Muslim to emerge as president in 2023. It is paradoxical that despite the actualisation of that aspiration with the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president, the fate of Yoruba Muslims is now worse. They have been ‘shocked and awed’.
“MURIC demands assurances of a change from the current trajectory. President Tinubu owes Yoruba Muslims an explanation for their continued political isolation, particularly under his watch.”