By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to ensure fairness in the composition of his cabinet. Dr. Fayemi, who became governor after the July 14 2018 gubernatorial election, is yet to announce a cabinet.
The request was made by the human rights organization in a statement released on Tuesday, 5th March, 2019. The statement was signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“We have full confidence in Dr. Fayemi” MURIC said. “Though he is a Christian, he was fair to Muslims during his first term in office as governor of the state between 2010 and 2014. He appointed Muslims into his cabinet and also approved use of hijab for female Muslim students in the state’s public schools. We expect him to continue the good work.
“But his successor, Ayodele Fayose, was a big disappointment, a square peg in a square hole. He was a bigoted Christian and a Muslim-haterprimus inter pareil. He ran an all-Christian administration. All 14 commissioners, all 14 permanent secretaries, all board chairmen (except the Muslim pilgrims board) were Christians. The secretary to the state government and even Fayose’s chief of staff were both Christians. He refused to make any amendments despite repeated complaints by the Muslims.
“Under Fayose’s watch, Muslims were brutally attacked inside mosques by sponsored masquerades. Under Fayose’s watch, mosques were pulled down in the state while Arabic schools were shut. Fayose’s four years were years of executive brigandage. He will go down in history as the worst governor Ekiti State ever had.
“Muslims in Ekiti State cannot just leave everything to chance after such a nightmarish four-year term under Fayose. Their Allah-given fundamental rights have been trampled upon for too long. They were denied the right to hold political posts, the right to participate in governance, the right to gainful employment and, by inference, the right to have access to economic means of survival.
“MURIC has a duty to speak up for such people. The Glorious Qur’an says, ‘Why should you not rise in the cause of Allah to defend men, women and children who are oppressed due to their weakness? The weak ones cry out, “Our Lord! rescue us from this city (Ekiti State?) whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect us, and send to us a helper!’” (Qur’an 4:75-76).
Ekiti Muslims have been oppressed, downpressed and repressed. They cried out at the time and MURIC echoed their cry in compliance with the above verse. We are now asking the incumbent to rise to the task. Having suffered under ‘Fir‘awn’ (Pharaoh) for four consecutive years, Ekiti Muslims need a ‘protector’ (Waliyy) and a ‘helper’ (Nasir) at this hour.
“We therefore look forward to Governor Fayemi to rise to the occasion. We have always maintained that the religion of our president or governor in Nigeria does not matter so long as there is good governance. Merit should be the yardstick. We will always support a good Christian or a good Muslim who is credible, transparent, diligent, who respects the rule of law and who is fair to all. Sentimentality is a luxury in which MURIC does not indulge.
“At present, both Governor Kayode Fayemi and his deputy are Christians. But we are very hopeful because the door is still open for several other appointments. We expect, in all fairness, that a Muslim will emerge as either chief of staff or secretary to the state government. This is apart from other cabinet and board appointments that should be fairly and proportionately shared between Christians and Muslims in the state. Once again, we reaffirm our reliance on Dr. Fayemi’s cool-headedness, his friendly mien and his gentlemanly disposition.
“As we draw the curtain, we reaffirm our full confidence in Governor Kayode Fayemi. This statement serves as a subtle reminder to the governor to give fair share to Muslims in his state as a right and as a form of redress for the misrule and tyranny suffered by them under Ayodele Fayose. In return, we charge Muslims in the state to cooperate fully with the incumbent.