The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has added to the cacophony of voices on the recent reconciliation between ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
According to MURIC in its press release of early Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, there is nothing out of place in what took place during the Abeokuta armistice.
“People should stop blaming Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah. They have every right to attend any occasion so long as they did not gatecrash. They are not from Sierra Leone. They are bona fide Nigerian citizens and to that extent they cannot be described as meddlers.
“Even those who blame them for showing interest in Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) missed the point. They should actually be commended for being bold enough to come out openly to be part of the event”.
Akintola, who recently bagged the Islamic title, Asadul-‘Aarifiin, i.e. Lion of Islamic Scholars (Kinniun Adinni), argued that the Abeokuta declaration has further buttressed the popular belief that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, only common interest.
“We in MURIC do not subscribe to the idea that people should jettison politics because of religion. People who avoid politics because they are devoted Christians or Muslims end up being ruled by the disciples of Shaytan (Satan) who lack the fear of Allah. For social harmony, progress and good governance, religion and politics should go hand in hand. Tyranny, misrule and dictatorship of the left are bound to reign supreme where politics is left to men who do not fear Allah.
“Both Christians and Muslims should participate in politics to avoid being ruled by people who are inferior to them, people who are heartless, people who despise religion. Socrates was therefore right when he said, ‘The wise who refuse to rule should prepare to suffer the rule of idiots’
“We therefore urge Nigerians to stop the blame game. Both Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah have merely exercised their Allah-given fundamental right of expression and freedom of association. It is a challenge to the rest of us. Although both drammatis personae have denied any political motive, the issue here is not whether the move was political or apolitical. The body language, particularly if we read it from the pre-Abeokuta detente is as clear as daylight.
“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once remarked that the refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. He added further that the tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.
“This is not the time to sit on the fence. It is Nigeria’s moment of decision. We must therefore gird our loins not only in preparation for the coming general election but for the emergence of a new Nigeria. While we are aware that politicians will only prepare for the approaching 2019 general elections, we beseech statesmen and patriotic Nigerians to prepare for the evolution of a new nation where corruption, vote-buying, politics of stomach infrastructure, acrobatic religiousity and ethnic jingoism will give way to a civilized political culture, transparency, accountability and massive infrastructural buildup all over the country.
“MURIC has long taken a position and nothing has happened to change that stance. We stand with integrity. Project Nigeria is our priority. We believe in a strong, united Nigeria. We believe in a Nigeria where merit is the parameter, not religion, not ethnicity. The achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in spite of the political landmines and gargantuan challenges inspire us and we believe that it is in the best interest of Nigeria that we allow him to continue beyond 2019”.