A Nigerian Muslim group has kicked against voting a Yoruba Christian as president in the 2023 general elections.
The group claimed that voting a Yoruba Christian in the next presidential election would amount to sentencing Muslims in the South West region to “perpetual slavery.
Professor Ishaq Akintola, a self-proclaimed human rights activist and leader of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), made the claim in a statement on Monday.
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Akintola emphatically warned that any political party that fields a Yoruba Christian in 2023 would “lose woefully”.
He said while Muslims “form a majority of the mainstream population [in the South West], the Christians constitute the majority among the elite class” adding that, “That is why the civil service is fully in the hands of the Christians while the Muslims are an overwhelming majority among the artisans and traders in Yorubaland.”
Akintola’s words: “MURIC is not saying Christians cannot be president in 2023. We are only wary about such a Christian candidate being a Yoruba. The reason for our opposition to the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim president is two-fold.
“One, Yoruba Christians do not give their Muslim neighbours their Allah-given fundamental human rights. Examples abound in the way female Muslim children are persecuted in Yoruba schools, particularly over hijab and their refusal to allow their fellow Yoruba Muslims to apply civil Shariah which does not affect Christians in any way. We are reluctant to come under the presidency of people who do not respect our civil liberties,” he said.
“We are reluctant to come under the presidency of people who do not respect our civil liberties.
“Two, Yoruba Christians have been military head of state and president (Mathew Olusegun Obasanjo, 1976 – 1979, 1999 – 2007), interim head of state (Earnest Shonekan, August 1993 – November 1993) and vice president (Professor Yemi Osinbajo, 2015 to date) but no single Yoruba Muslim has had the opportunity to taste power in the centre.
“Therefore, it will be unfair to give the slot of the presidency to a Yoruba Christian again if the post is zoned to the region. Democracy is about inclusion and equal opportunity. Yoruba Muslims are saying enough of marginalisation and exclusivism.
“We, therefore, reiterate our position: on Yoruba Muslim president we stand unless the presidency is not zoned to the South West.
“To give the position to a Yoruba Christian is to sentence Muslims in Yorubaland to a life of perpetual slavery. Our Christian neighbours are yet to learn the art of living and letting live.
“Therefore, our message to the political parties is this: any party that gives the presidential slot to a Christian candidate in the South West will lose woefully.
“Yoruba Muslims have woken up from their deep slumber. Just as Abraham Lincoln warned, ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.’ A word is enough for the wise.”
Meanwhile, different groups have at different times cautioned the MURIC director against making unguarded statements to avoid creating religious crisis in the country.
The Integrity Leadership Organization had in 2019 warned Akintola against such remarks when he accused Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, of appointing more Christians than Muslims into various positions in his government.