Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, Judge of the Shariah Court of Appeal, Kwara State, Justice Abdurraheem Sayi and Chief Imam of Offa, Muyideen Husayn, among other Islamic clerics, on Wednesday justified the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
They maintained that the antecedents of the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, should be the focal points of discussion, given the peculiarity of the country.
The Clerics spoke at the 14th yearly Hijrah Lecture organised by the Lagos State House of Aseembly, tagged: “The role of Religious bodies in a democratic State,” held at the Assembly premises.
They added that the people should understand that Tinubu would be fair, just and visionary, adding, “who can look back and identify good people to form a team with, in order to achieve success is someone who should be of concern to the people in a democratic state to lead, not religion.”
Specifically, Husayu urged Nigerians to vote people into office based on competence and not sentiments, adding that the enthronement of democracy was is of religion sentiments.
He noted that to conquer the challenges facing the country, the issues surrounding religion must be expunged from political conversation, stressing that the unity of the country is sacrosanct.
Husayn accused the political elite of being selfish, adding that they have failed to deliver the people’s mandate.
Obasa said both proponents and skeptics of the view that religion is incompatible with democracy have legitimate reasons, adding that the problems the society faces today, including intolerant fundamentalist organisations, terrorism and racism, have religious roots.
He added that all over the world where democracy is being practised, it has been established that good governance is not really determined by their religions.
“In countries like India, Singapore, China and most of the democratic states in Asia and some other parts of the world where neither Islam nor Christianity is being practised, it is gratifying to note that good governance is seen all around them.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria is at a most precarious phase in its existence as a nation. These are indeed trying times for Nigeria and Nigerians.
My opinion is simple: We seem to have lost our ways because we seem to have lost the wisdom of governance and the wisdom of service as well as the wisdom that flows from the spirituality that undergirds both. In other words, we should focus more on how the failure of politics and faith has compromised the unraveling of the Nigerian project.
“Therefore, at this time when Nigeria stands at its most critical juncture in history regarding next year’s general elections, there is a crucial call for religious bodies to deploy their collective spiritual energies in not only undermining the negative forces of nepotism and dysfunctionality, but in positively enhancing the development of Nigeria. Whether the Political Party contesting is running on Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket and otherwise, our focus should be the good intentions of the contestants. Let us not allow any politician to bamboozle us with religion as a determining factor for who we will choose as our leaders.
He stated that as enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria, being a secular state, there is no provision for the elevation of a particular form of religion over another, let alone which one should be in charge of the government. Instead, what we have is freedom of religion.
“At the same time, we have even had some states of the country, where either a Muslim or Christian has been in charge without any meaningful performance or development. This invariably translates to the fact that religion does not determine the success of a given government. Rather, a competent, qualified, accomplished and knowledgeable individual, irrespective of the religious background, should be our focus.”
Obasa urged Muslims to follow the method of mutual consultation and reach a consensus.
“Democracy is another name for the rule of majority, and the same principle is accepted in Islam,” he said.