ISLAMIC pressure group Muslim Rights Concerned (Muric) has warned the newly elected governors in the southwest geo-political zone against what it termed the Christianising of their cabinets.
On May 29, the new governors of Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states were sworn-in and they are currently in the process of putting together their cabinets. Southwest Nigeria’s population is split between Muslims and Christians and Muric has asked Governors Babajide Sanwoolu, Seyi Makinde and Dapo Abiodun to ensure that this is reflected in the commissioners they appoint.
Muric director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, advised the new governors to allow their cabinets to reflect the spirit of participatory democracy by ensuring that all stakeholders were not only consulted but fully involved. By sheer coincidence, all the three governors happen to be Christians but faith never plays a part in the politics of southwest Nigeria.
Professor Akintola said: “As southwest governors resume office after their inauguration on May 29, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern has called for the formation of balanced cabinets by the new governors of Oyo, Lagos and Ogun states. Your new governments must be inclusive and must carry all sectors and groups along as that is the secret of good governance.
“As you pick political figures, you must involve technocrats and business gurus and we are watching the exercise with keen interest. Muslims in the southwest are aware that all the new governors are Christians so they should not make the same mistakes made by Ayodele Fayose and his successor, Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State.
“Fayose ensured that Muslims were politically strangulated during his tenure as the secretary to the state government, the chief of staff , all 14 commissioners, all permanent secretaries and all board chairmen except one were Christians. In spite of our exhortations, Fayemi gave Muslims only one commissioner out of 14 but this kind of attitude cannot promote peaceful coexistence. Neither does it represent good governance.”
He praised Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for already appointing a Muslim as the chairman of the Muslim Pilgrims Board in Professor SHA Malik. Adding that they are waiting to see who is appointed as the secretary to the state government and the governor’s chief of staff, Professor Akintola said the number of seats allocated to Muslims and Christians in the cabinet and board appointments will determine Governor Makinde’s political sagacity.
“Any governor who claims that he could not find competent Muslims to appoint is deceiving Nigerians. The truth is that political appointments have become indices for the general welfare of various groups and the failure to pay attention to the Muslim population in terms of appointments therefore tantamount to a deliberate attempt to impoverish Muslims.
“To conclude this advocacy, we welcome the three new governors in the southwest and urge them to give every sector its fair share in governance. We counsel against the Christianisation of governance in any form and rather, the new governors should give their subjects balanced cabinets,” Professor Akintola added.