Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Muslim ministers from five south-west states.
In a statement by Ishaq Akintola, its director, the group said Muslims have been marginalised when it comes to ministerial appointment, especially in the south-west.
The group argued that “despite the fact that Muslims are in the majority in the region, they have always been “shortchanged politically.”
MURIC said while the region got two Muslim ministers in Buhari’s first term, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan reluctantly appointed two after a protest by religious leaders.
It, therefore, demanded that Buhari takes a proactive step by appointing “Muslim ministers in all the states where the governors are Christians (Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti)”.
“We received the worst treatment under former President Goodluck Jonathan. He appointed six ministers from the sub-region but, to our dismay, all of them were Christians. We complained about this gross injustice but he ignored us for three good years (2011 to 2014),” the statement read.
“A delegation of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) led by the Sultan of Sokoto met him in Aso Rock and presented this lopsidedness among other grudges. This was on Wednesday 26th March, 2014. To our surprise, Jonathan retorted by asking us why the northern states have not been sponsoring Christians in the North on pilgrimage.
“That was the kind of leader Jonathan was. We complained to him about the marginalization of a Muslim majority in the South West and he challenged us with the issue of Christian minorities in the North. That was how he exposed himself as a president whose interest lay in waging a crusade against Muslims. He reluctantly appointed two Muslims some months later. Wailers accusing President Buhari of lopsided appointments may take this as food for thought.
“MURIC is neither being selfish nor sentimental. Natural justice demands equitable representation if we are all part of the Nigerian project. By the time newly elected governors are sworn in on May 29, 2019, the South West will be having five Christian governors and only one Muslim governor. This leaves Muslims at a disadvantage in a sub-region where they are the majority.
“Unfortunately the situation was not redressed by the current administration. Of the six ministers appointed by Buhari, only two (Babatunde Raji Fashola and Adebayo Shittu) are Muslims. The remaining four are Christians. The only difference is that Buhari was not pressurized by the Muslims before he gave them two ministers. Neither were all his ministers from the area Christians like Jonathan did. Buhari gave the Muslims two slots and gave Christians four. Jonathan gave the Christians six and left the Muslims to whistle for their dinner.
“We are therefore demanding Muslim ministers in all the states where the governors are Christians (Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti). This request should be considered against the backdrop of the gross marginalisation which Yoruba Muslims have faced in the past.
“As we take a break, we appeal to the presidency to consider the need to urgently address the injustice done to Muslims in the South West where they are the majority. They have always been politically marginalized despite having qualified personnel. Unfortunately Buhari’s regime has also inadvertently shortchanged them. In the name of justice, fairness and equity, therefore, we demand Muslim ministers in the five South West states where the governors will be Christians come May 29, 2019.”
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