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Sanwo-Olu’s successor must be Muslim in 2027- MURIC

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Ahead of the 2027 gubernatorial election in Lagos, Muslims in the state have demanded that political parties must pick their candidates among members of their faith, saying doing this indicates equity and fairness.

They said that any attempt by the political parties to impose a Christian governor on Lagos for a third time will be a violation of the rules of fairness, equity, inclusivity and participatory democracy.

The Muslims stressed that the former governor, Akinkunmi Ambode, and incumbent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after the expiration of his second term, would amount to Christian governors ruling the state for 12years with less appointments for Muslims.

They, meanwhile, cautioned the Christians to step aside during next election and allow a Muslim candidate emerge as governor for the state.

The Muslims disclosed that they have set machinery in motion, in order to ensure a believer in their faith emerges as governor in 2027.

They made the demands through a statement released on Tuesday by the Executive Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

According to the statement, “As Nigerian politicians settle down for governance around the country, plans are also being made for 2027. Already, new alliances are taking shape while profound pronouncements that serve the interest of different groups are being made.

“In order not to be caught unawares, Muslims of Lagos State are setting the machinery in motion to ensure that one of them, a fellow Muslim, emerges as governor in 2027.

“It is the only path to sanity in the Lagos political architecture. The incumbent, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is a Christian. He took over from Akinwunmi Ambode, a Christian, after the latter’s second term ambition was truncated.

“In a metropolitan and multi-religious state, it is only natural that Muslims will make this demand at this point in time. It should be noted that the Christians of Lagos made a similar demand in 2013 for a Christian to be governor. That was how Ambode became governor in 2015.

“Instead of spending only one term to complete the Christian occupation of Lagos government house, Sanwo-Olu went ahead for a second term thereby shortchanging the Muslims. The Christians would have spent a whole twelve years in government by 2027.

“Nobody should come around this time ventilating the gospel of competence, the pre-eminence of skill or the priority of talent. They are mere smokescreens designed to hoodwink the public. Competence abounds everywhere. Nigerians, and indeed Muslims, are highly skilled.

“No section of Nigeria suffers from any desertification of competence. Muslims are talented just as Christians are skilled. Competent people can be found in the North, West and East. It is those in power who should sniff around well enough to locate competent Nigerians. They should not concentrate on one religious group or sector.

*”It is an insult to the collective intelligence of Nigerian Muslims to give appointments to Christians only with the excuse that you have given those appointments to competent people. Let’s not repeat that again please. It is nauseating.*

“It depends on where you looked. It reflects the direction where you spread your tentacles. To conduct a fair, objective and balanced search, leaders must extend their dragnets to both Muslim and Christian individuals, professionals and communities. That is fairness. Searches must be conscious of the need for inclusiveness. So must the position of state governors.

“No group must be seen to be enjoying the monopoly of power. Christians have been governors for three solid terms (Ambode: 2015-2019; Sanwo-Olu: 2019-2027). It should therefore be the turn of the Muslims in 2027.

“Any attempt to impose a Christian governor on Lagos for a third time will break the rules of fairness, equity, inclusivity and participatory democracy. It will also be an encroachment on Allah-given fundamental rights of Lagos Muslims to participate in all aspects of governance and to exercise their civils rights to vote and be voted for.

“We have not said Ambode under-performed. No, he took Lagos to the next level in his own time. Sanwo-Olu has also been doing wonders since 2019. But that is not the point. True democracy does not hero-worship. Neither does it perpetuate or concentrate power in one hand.

“That is why elections are held every four years no matter how well the incumbent has performed and his or her second mandate must end after the second term even if he has performed magic.

“The Christians must therefore step aside for their Muslim counterparts in Lagos by 2027 even if Ambode and Sanwo-Olu have given helicopters to every single Lagosian, daily lunch tickets at Sheraton to every civil servant and free train and bus rides at all times on both the red and blue lines in the state of aquatic squalor.

*”Let’s stop underrating and in the process marginalising Muslims in the political arena. We can beat our chests that Professor Ishaq Oloyede is the best performing public officer in Nigeria today. Somebody found him and it would not have happened if he had not looked in the direction of the Muslims.*

“Professor Ibrahim Ali Isa Pantami would not have surfaced in the public sphere as a cyber security genius if we had held tightly to the dogma of ‘no talent among Muslims’. Professor Babagana Zulum is generally accepted as the best performing governor in Nigeria. He is a Muslim. There are many more hidden talents in the Muslim camp.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that any political party that picks Oloyede as its 2027 gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State is destined to win by a huge landslide. Ditto for Pantami for Gombe State. The interesting side is that both are Islamic scholars, not ordinary Muslims. Lagos Muslims have their own gems. Give them equal opportunity as Ambode and Sanwo-Olu were given.”

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