Muslim scholars in the South-West have insisted on the emergence of a Muslim of Yoruba extraction as the next president of Nigeria.
The Muslims under the aegis of Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria raised the objection during a press conference in Abuja.
This is coming after a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, emerged as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
However, Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser of Atiku Abubakar, described the issues raised by Yoruba Muslim scholars as unfortunate.
The acting President General of CYMSN, Sheikh Abdulrasheed Mayaleke, said that the Yoruba Muslims have over time been relegated to the background when it comes to top political positions.
He, however, warned of serious consequences should the political parties present any presidential or vice-presidential candidate short of a Yoruba Muslim.
Mayaleke said, “The Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria has noted with deep concern the unfolding scenarios with respect to the election of candidates by political parties ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
“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, injurious and will be resisted with all legal means available.
“It is no longer news that the opposition PDP, has chosen a Northerner as its presidential flag-bearer, even against the expectation that the candidate would come from the South based on the power rotation convention adopted.
“It is against this backdrop that we urge the ruling All Progressives Congress to choose a Southerner, and this time around, a Muslim, as its presidential candidate, more so that there is underlying agreement at the inception of the party’s formation in 2014 to that effect.”
Mayaleke threatened that if the APC makes the mistake of denying them opportunity of having a Muslim President through vicious power game plan, they would not take it.
He said, “It should be recalled that Christian-Christian ticket ruled the South West in the First Republic with Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier while Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola was his Vice despite Muslims being the majority. Also, when Gen. Yakubu Gowon became the Head of State, he chose Chief Awolowo as a 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 favor Christians in the South West. This is the fate that befell late Chief M.K.O Abiola to favour Chief Ernest Shonekan and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to favour Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in 2015.”
The Assistant Secretary-General of the CYMSN, Prof. Abideen Olaiya, said that the APC currently have former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; former House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Sabur Dimeji Bankole and former Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun as aspirants that party can choose among the trio as its presidential candidate.
Olaiya said, “What we are saying is that we are already meeting with the leadership of the APC to consider a Muslim from the South West as the next president of Nigeria. The trio of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole are all eminently qualified for the topmost job in Nigeria.
“And if you look at it too, the South West is being controlled by the APC in five states out of the six in the region, South-South has one APC state which is Cross River and South East two, Imo and Ebonyi states. By virtue of states in each region, South West has an edge and should be considered.”
When contacted, Mazi Paul Ibe, the Media Adviser of Atiku Abubakar, faulted the Yoruba Muslim scholars as unfortunate.
He said, “This is unfortunate that a religious group will veer off tandem into the political arena. However, the future that His Excellency Atiku Abubakar envisages for Nigeria is one country of one people with one future in which every tribe, tongue and faith will stand united. Above all, it is incumbent on religious and community leaders to preach peace rather than division.
“Suffice it to say that Atiku Abubakar’s fate in the 2023 presidential election will be determined by Nigerian voters who are well informed about the broken state of our political and socio-economic life.”
The Special Assistant (Media) to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Adebayo Oladeji said, “We don’t respond to story about associations we don’t know please.”