As the 2019 general elections approach, Muslims of Igbo extraction have been urged to join political parties and contest positions of choice but warned against pitching tent with politicians who have not taken their welfare and wellbeing as a paramount issue at both federal and state levels.
A socio-cultural Igbo group, South Eastern Muslims Organization of Nigeria (SEMON) handed the warning to Muslims in the region in a statement signed by its national chairman and national secretary, Muhammad O. Ajah and Abdurrahman Nwabueze Urama, respectively.
The group which met in Abuja recently noted that the Igbo Muslims were intentionally neglected by their representatives, including the governors and national assembly members after every general elections, adding that Igbo Muslims should still exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections.
Ajah and Urama charged the Igbo Muslims to get involved in all the election processes by being card-carrying members of political parties, permanent voters’ card owners and their mandate protectors by not selling out for inducement.
The group commended the efforts of the Igbo Muslims who purchased forms to contest positions of interest but were screened out.
“We are happy that more of our brethren are venturing into politics. For 2019, some of us in different Southeast states showed interest or bought forms to contest elections. But our consternation is that we are always disqualified on religious base. And no group from the Muslim organizations in Nigeria cared to talk on this. But the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has continued to make genuine cases for their brethren in the north. Recently, CAN in Niger State called on the governorship candidates of all political parties in the state to ensure they pick a Muslim/Christian team for the 2019 governorship election in the interest of fairness and respect between the two major religions in the country.”
“In states like Adamawa, Kaduna and few others in the north, no Muslim governorship aspirant can easily win election without having a Christian as his running mate. Is it a taboo for a Christian governorship aspirant in the Southeast and South-south to pick a Muslim running mate for election? While we commend CAN for this follow up of political activities of their members in their northern minority areas
we think it is naturally reasonable for the apex umbrella bodies of the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria such as the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Jama’atu Nasril-Islam (JNI) to put up strong advocacy for the inclusion of Igbo Muslims in the political development of Nigeria and their states.”