By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to retrace its steps towards impunity to prevent it from doing the tragic flaw of former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
MURIC handed down the words of caution in a statement signed by its President, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“Ominous signs of the disintegration of Nigeria’s major political parties have started emerging. At least one began manifesting at the national level three years ago. Another one began rearing its ugly head at state level, in Lagos State to be precise, a few months back.
“The failure of a once powerful political party to respect a pact on power shift and a single term led to its fall at the center in the 2015 general elections. But just as contended by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in his Phenomenology of Spirit that the only lesson men learn from history is that they learn nothing, Nigeria’s political parties appear to have closed their eyes and ears to the lessons of history,” it stated.
The group said that this explains the rumblings at state level in the APC over alleged imposition of candidates in the coming local government elections.
“If the attendant open protests in several cases are nothing to go by, the disenchantment of a national officer of the party with the undemocratic process cannot and should not be ignored by any serious political establishment.
“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards this development as a meteorological early warning signal and a barometer for gauging the political environment. The yellow light is up and Nigerian politicians must act now before it changes to red.
“We expect the emergence of a mature and clearly defined political culture after fifty seven years of post-independence political experience. But there is nothing close to that in the political arena. What we have on ground is alarming: bolekaja politics, feudalism and godfatherism. These have led some political leaders to claim absolute control over who becomes what and who gets what,” it pointed out.
MURIC noted that the result would be the emergence of feeding-bottle political office holders whose only vision is how to service the interest of their feudal lords and how to line the pockets of their political godfathers while neglecting the primary purpose of occupying political offices, namely, to serve the electorate.
“Although we are not politicians, MURIC is concerned today because this ugly phenomenon is causing discontent in political camps. Political uncertainty often affects the stock market. The country’s foreign exchange experiences somersault. Prices go up and the masses cry for their dinner. The bandwagon effect cannot be interrupted.
“We cannot ignore what is currently happening in Lagos State because every political development affects the lives of the citizens. It is either positive or negative but this one is more of the latter because it is capable of precipitating a political earthquake of monumental proportion. Allegations of imposition of candidates for coming local government elections are so loud that even the deaf have started complaining of noise-making.
“Of course we do not have to be politicians before addressing issues affecting our dear country. Afterall we are, first and foremost, bona fide citizens. Secondly, we took our cue for speaking up on issues affecting Nigerians from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who urged mankind to “use their hands to change evil, to speak against it if they could not use their hands and to pray against it if they are unable to speak …” But he concluded that mere praying against it is the weakest form of resistance to evil,” it emphasized.
MURIC appealed to Nigerians to wake up and show interest in what is happening around them, be it religious, social, political or economic.
“It is high time we changed from being triangular citizens whose lives revolve around working, eating and sleeping. The tragedy of the Nigerian nation today lies in the passivity of its citizenry. That is why a Senate filled with ‘awaiting trial’ lawmakers is still in session and a House of Representatives has the temerity to initiate outrageous and pro-corruption bills. Nigerians must realize that freedom is never given on a platter of gold.
“We do not have to be political scientists before we know that there is a symbiotic relationship between economic progress and political stability. This is why the top echelon of affected political parties must address the issues raised now. Internal democracy must be entrenched in our political parties to avoid them from being pocketed by a few money bags and political feudalists intent on establishing or expanding their self-serving political empires. It is always better to build strong institutions than to encourage the emergence of individuals who are too powerful.
“One would have thought that the judicial acrobatics and factional razzmatazz being experienced currently by a once powerful political party would teach the others a lesson but it seems common sense is not so common. The time has come, therefore, for all stakeholders to speak up. Afterall the impact of the misadventures of politicians will not be felt by the politicians alone. On the contrary, just like the grass suffers most when two elephants fight, it is the common man who bears the grunt.
“It was Steve Biko who said, “The future will have no pity for those men who, possess the exceptional privilege of being able to speak words of truth to their oppressors, have instead taken refuge in an attitude of passivity, of mute indifference, and sometimes, of cold complicity.”
“Finally, our appeal goes to leaders of political parties to toe the line of genuine internal democracy. Imposition of candidates robs society of the best materials. It sacrifices excellence on the altar of mediocrity. It is tyranny, feudalism and totalitarian dictatorship all rolled into one,” it emphasized.