By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
As South West governors resume office after their inauguration on 29th May, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called for the formation of balanced cabinets by the new governors of Oyo, Lagos and Ogun.
Making the call was the Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola. In a press statement circulated on Tuesday 11th June, 2019, the Islamic human rights organization advised the new governors to allow their cabinets to reflect the spirit of participatory democracy by ensuring that all stakeholders are not only consulted but fully involved.
“Your new governments must be inclusive. It must carry all sectors and groups along. That is the secret of good governance. As you pick political figures, you must involve technocrats and business gurus.
“We are watching the exercise with keen interest. Muslims in the South West are aware that all the new governors in Ogun, Oyo and Lagos are Christians. They should not make the same mistakes made by Ayodele Fayose and his successor, Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State.
“Fayose ensured that Muslims were politically strangulated during his tenure. The secretary to the state government (SSG), the chief of staff (COS), all fourteen commissioners, all permanent secretaries and all board chairmen except one were Christians. In spite of our exhortations, Fayemi gave Muslims only one commissioner out of fourteen. This kind of attitude cannot promote peaceful coexistence. Neither does it represent good governance.
“We have a special message for Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. He has already appointed a Muslim as the chairman of the Muslim Pilgrims Board. His choice is a very good one. Professor S. H. A. Malik is one of the most respected Islamic scholars in Nigeria. But Makinde should not assume that he has given Muslims any post. No, he has not.
“That position can only be filled by a Muslim. Makinde must therefore do his homework very well. Oyo State is not a place where any governor can dare the Muslim population. Bola Ige learnt this lesson too late. We are waiting to see where the posts of SSG and COS will go. The number of seats allocated to Muslims and Christians in the cabinet and board appointments will determine Makinde’s political sagacity.
“For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC is aware of the essence of merit in making appointments. Therefore, we are not suggesting the contrary. Any governor who claims that he could not find competent Muslims to appoint is deceiving Nigerians. The truth is that political appointments have become indices for the general welfare of various groups. Failure to pay attention to the Muslim population in terms of appointments therefore tantamounts to deliberate attempt to impoverish Muslims.
“To conclude this advocacy, we welcome the three new governors in the South West and urge them to give every sector its fair share in governance. We counsel against the christianisation of governance in any form. Rather, the new governors should give their subjects balanced cabinets”.