▪︎ Only 2 of 20-man selection committee members are Muslims
▪︎ Muslims to miss out in State’s 18,000 slot
The Convener, Coalition for Good Governance, Mr Sirajudeen Abdulazeez Folayemi has accused the Ondo State government of shortchanging the Muslims in the state in his appointment of a 20-man selection committee for the FG Special Public Works Programme in the state.
The Federal Government had announced its intention to recruit 1,000 workers in each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country for roads rehabilitation, construction, sanitation, among others.
Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s minister of state for labour said the programme would run for 3 months, between October and December, 2020, noting that it was a way of cushioning the effect of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among the citizenry.
But in his press release forwarded to Muslim News on Wednesday, Mr Sirajudeen said only two Muslims constitute the 20-man selection committee, adding that their presence could not make any significant impact as they are clearly in the minority.
The Akure, Ondo-born Muslim activist attributed the unfortunate development to the age-long marginalisation of Muslims in the cabinet of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
Speaking with Muslim News, the former National President of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) said, “It is disheartening to hear that only two Muslims – the Ondo State Chairman of NSCIA and an Oba are members of the 20-man committee.
Coincidentally, he noted that “The two were from the initial committee template set by the Federal Government which has seven members while the remaining 13 members picked by the Governor are all Christians. This is the main issue in question and that is the way the governor has been shortchanging the Muslims in his appointments since he assumed office as the 7th Ondo state governor in 2017,” he added.
According to him, “A lot of politicking came in the selection of the 20-man Selection Committee to supervise the appointment of 1000 roadside workers per Local Government by the federal government. “Though some of us were involved, but we don’t have a say because we don’t have those that can front for us in the government because in Ondo State all the Principal Officers in Aketi’s government are Christians”.
He said, “The initial committee template made by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity is a Seven-Member Committee comprising of three Kings/Obas from the three senatorial districts, Representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), National Youth Council of Nigeria & the Director of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in the states who will serve as Secretary to the Committee. The list was compiled and sent to the Presidency as at Tuesday 23rd June 2020.
His words, “The State Governors for political reasons showed great interest in the scheme and they mounted pressure on the Presidency and the committee was eventually enlarged to twenty with the Governors unilaterally hand picking 13 other members!
“The first seven members were the statutory members based on the original template from the Federal Government, the others were handpicked by the Governor and in the case of Ondo State, Akeredolu picked 13 members and most unfortunately none is a Muslim!”
He accused the governor of being anti-Muslim, saying it is the reason why more than 97% of his appointments in the last 7 years have been tilted to one faith, relegating the Muslim faithful to the background.
Amir Sirajudeen berated the leadership of the Ondo State Muslims of criminal silence in the face of what he called ‘wickedness’ of the governor, thereby calling on well meaning individuals and organisations to rise and challenge the discrimination.
“It is high time an independent group rose to challenge this hegemony! Since the leadership of the Muslims in Ondo state for reasons best known to them have chosen to be remain silent”.