By SALISU SANI-IDRIS
ABUJA- Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria have urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give its presidential ticket to a Southwest Muslim to enhance national cohesion.
Acting President of the scholars, Sheikh AbdulRasheed Mayaleke, made the call at a news conference in Abuja.
He alleged that Muslims in Yoruba land had long been relegated to the background over the years in terms of the presidency.
Mayaleke noted that the present situation where presidential candidates were chosen alternately from the North and Southern part of the country was premised on understanding of the stakeholders to salvage the country as a united nation.
” We are of the strong opinion that no individual personal interests should be allowed to disrupt this arrangement which is capable of heating up the polity.
” The assumption and attempt to permanently disenfranchise the southern Muslims the opportunity to aspire for highest position of President or Vice President of the country is undemocratic.
” It is against this backdrop that we urge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to choose a Southerner, and this time around, a Muslim, as its presidential candidate.
” Moreso that there is underlying agreement at the inception of the party’s formation in 2015,” he said.
He warned that if APC makes the mistake of denying the Yoruba Muslim the opportunity of having a Muslim president through vicious power game plan, “we will not take it.
” It should be recalled that Christian – Christian ticket ruled the South west in the first republic with Chief Obefemi Awolowo as Premier while Chief Samuel Akintola was his Vice despite Muslims being the majority.
” Also, when Gen. Yakubu Gowon became the Military Head of State, he chose Awolowo as De facto deputy.
” Why is it that each time a Muslim candidate is poised to emerge as president or vice that the polity is always unnecessarily heated up to favour Christians in the Southwest.
” This is the fate that befell Late Chief Mashood Abiola to favour Chief Ernest Shonekan and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and Asiwaju Tinubu to favour Prof. Osinbajo in 2015.”
He restated that anything short of Muslim candidate from South west for the position of president in 2023 shall be roundly rejected.
Also, Assistant Secretary-General of the scholars, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, said that out of six states in the South West, APC formed government in five states.
” Therefore, APC should give it presidential ticket to Southwest and to a Muslim in particular. We have three Muslims from the region who are contesting the APC Presidential ticket.
” They are Sen. Ahmed Tinubu, Sen. Abikunle Amosun and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Demeji Bankole.” (NAN)