Nigerian political parties have started the race towards 2015 general elections. Some of the parties have actually held the first leg of their primaries. However, none of them has held gubernatorial or presidential primaries even though several candidates who are interested in becoming state governors and presidents have been struggling to emerge as the flagbearers of their parties.
It is therefore germane at this point in time to caution all political parties against the emergence of Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim tickets. Apart from the past hue and cry from well-meaning stakeholders as well as blackmailers over this possibility, the current political atmosphere is not conducive for such a situation.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) therefore invites prospective Muslim flagbearers particularly at the presidential level to choose candidates from other faiths as running mates. This advice also goes for all states where other faiths have substantial showing in the population.
Nigerian Muslims have no interest in dominating anyone so long as they are left alone to practice their religion as enshrined in the constitution. We are equally willing to coexist with our Christian and traditionalist neighbours. Neither can we stand in the way of Christians willing to lead the country.
The faith of this country’s president does not matter. What matters is his ability to dispense justice and equity in his handling of issues. What matters is his capacity for giving equal opportunity to people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. What matters is his readiness to shun favouritism, discrimination and primordial sentiment in the discharge of his duties.
Above all, we are more interested in the ability of the person at the helm of affairs in this country to put bread on our table, secure lives and properties, respect Allah-given fundamental human rights, generate policies capable of attracting foreign investors and to provide necessary infrastructure, qualitative education and a sound public health policy. In short, what matters is good governance.
We remind Muslim candidates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) exhorted Muslims to assist both the oppressed Muslims as well as the oppressor who happens to be a Muslim (Unsur akhaaka zaaliman ao mazluuman). Asked how one could help a Muslim oppressor, he replied, “Ta’khudhuhu faoqa yadayhi”, meaning, “Hold him by the wrist”, i. e. don’t allow him to oppress people.
MURIC therefore warns Muslims among the emerging candidates at all levels of the contest to ensure that they have what it takes to establish good governance before committing themselves to the adventure. We warn those who regard governance as an opportunity to perfect their kleptomania propensity to bury their ambition now because we will be among the first to blow the whistle on them.
In conclusion, we call on Islamic organizations nationwide as well as individual Muslims to educate Muslim candidates on good governance in Islam. According to the Prophet (SAW), a Muslim ruler who fails to establish good governance will not even smell the sweet aroma of Al-Jannah, talk less entering it. The Qur’an affirms that leaders will be made to account for their tenure in office (Qur’an 7:6) and promises double punishment for bad rulers in Al-Qiyaamah (the Hereafter; Qur’an 33:68).
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).