By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode yesterday claimed that the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar said Atiku would win if he went to court. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president of Nigeria, is the presidential candidate of the main opposition party in the just concluded 2019 general elections.
Nonetheless, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has debunked Fani-Kayode’s claim. MURIC, an Islamic human rights organization, described Fani-Kayode’s claim as false, baseless and malicious. MURIC’s reaction was contained in a press release signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019.
Explaining further, MURIC said, “It is unimaginable. Fani-Kayode probably woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Where and when did His Eminence the Sultan utter such words? Under what circumstances did he say Atiku would win if he went to court? Those words exist in the figment of Fani-Kayode’s imagination.
“What the Sultan said was quoted by several media outfits and none of them mentioned what Fani-Kayode ascribed to him. Addressing President Muhammadu Buhari in the presence of other traditional rulers, the Sultan said, ‘Your election as president for the second tenure should be seen as what God has destined which no man could have changed. This result is the will of Almighty God and therefore we call on all to give you maximum support for the achievement of peace, development and progress of our dear nation’. He then urged Atiku and those who lost to accept the will of God and support President Muhammadu Buhari to move the nation forward.
“Even on the platform of the Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI), the Sultan repeated the same message of peace. He said inter alia, ‘We call on all the political contenders in Nigeria to, in the name of Allah take it easy and sheath their swords as in every contest there will always be a winner and a loser.
“So where did Fani-Kayode find the words ‘If you go to court you will win but there will be war’? What kind of editorial abracadabra inserted those words in His Eminence’s statement? It is diabolical and highly disrespectful. It is an attempt to cast aspersion on our leader. It is not only defamatory but slanderous.
“Fani-Kayode’s article was full of the most odious and insidious anti-North cum anti-Muslim vituperations and we are wondering if he knows the true identity of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He spat venom against Northerners and Muslims as if Atiku hails from a different background.
“In the same vein, Fani-Kayode goaded Atiku and his supporters to go to war as if another country has been created for them to sojourn after setting Nigeria on fire. He spoke of his ‘brothers and sisters in the Lord’ being slaughtered in cold blood. For crying out loud, where do you group Atiku in all these? In which camp will Atiku be if you start your bloody war?
“There is no gainsaying that Fani-Kayode is a bundle of contradictions. You want to wage a crusade against Muslims but you are asking a Muslim to be your conquering knight. You want to destroy the North but you have chosen a core Northerner as the generalissimo. Is Fani-Kayode confused? Is hemanifesting symptoms of Orubebemantis? Is he going paranoid? Whether the answers to these questions is yes or no, we have no scintilla of doubt that Fani-Kayode’s gymnastic war-mongering will fail woefully and Nigeria will survive.
“Fani-Kayode seeks to whip up cheap sentiment over killings as if only his ‘brothers and sisters in the Lord’ are the only victims. Who are those being killed in Borno, Zamfara and Katsina? Is it not the Muslims? Whose mosques are being bombed?
“MURIC affirms for the umpteenth time that Nigerian Muslims do not want war. We want to coexist peacefully with our Christian neighbours. The Sultan is an established man of peace. That is what he has been working for since he ascended the throne. That is why he is known as the people’s Sultan. We are not surprised that calumny is what Fani-kayode has to offer such a great leader. People can only give what they have anyway.
“Again for the sake of microscopic clarity, we assert that Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar as the head of all Nigerian Muslims is a non-partisan personality. He has no interest in any political party or leader. He is a father-figure and all are his children. All political leaders visit him and he owes it a duty to listen to all of them. He remains neutral at the end of the day.
“As we draw the curtain, we invite Fani-Kayode and his cohorts to desist from brandishing banners of lies, to embrace the philosophy of peaceful coexistence, to love his neighbor like himself and to join hands with the Sultan and other well-meaning Nigerians to lift Nigeria to a higher pedestal. We advise Nigerian politicians to keep away from drugs so that their minds can remain focused while their actions remain consistently rational.