By AbdulMumin AbdulQadir
The Grand Mufti of the Conference of Islamic Organisations, CIO, Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafii has warned Nigerian Muslims against vote-buying and selling in the forthcoming general elections expected to begin with the presidential and national assembly polls on Saturday, February 25.
Sheikh Shafii gave this warning while speaking during the monthly Adhkaar/Special Prayer for the Nation organised by the Lagos Chapter of The Muslim Congress (TMC), on Sunday at Da’wah Center, Lagos.
The programme was aimed at seeking the Almighty’s intervention in making the country a peaceful abode for everyone. It aimed at ensuring a free and fair election attended by people of different ages, gender and strata from across Lagos and beyond.
Sheikh Shafi’i who spoke on the topic, “Right Choice: The Traits Scale of a Sound Electorate”, decried the act of vote-buying, saying it is the same as bribery and there is a curse on those who give and take bribe as well as those who facilitate it.
The respected Islamic scholar also bemoaned the pathetic situation of the country, which he said has made it necessary for all adult Muslim electorates to call for credible leaders in the next elections.
According to him, “As it concerns Nigeria, voting is mandatory for qualified Muslims because that is the constitutionally permissible method of choosing leaders for the country. We are not among those who forbid people from voting.
“The current situation in the country makes voting more mandatory for the ummah. Therefore, all adult Muslims with a PVC should turn out and vote. We expect only qualified people to participate in elections, and as it concerns us, participating in governmental affairs is an act of worship.
“Islamic scholars have a duty to guide the ummah. It is the duty of every electorate to become familiar with the voting rules as stipulated by INEC. We should vote with conscience and prioritize those who will best serve our societal interests.
The public should have reasonable knowledge of candidates, their history, their boldness, prior achievements in public life and past acts of justice in governance, not those with deadly hidden agendas.
“Scholarly verdicts on criteria for the most qualified candidate is about 34 but here in Nigeria due to the method of the enthronement of government, the person with more good qualities should be given the opportunity.
“The Prophet was reported to have said whosoever sees a more qualified person and fails to strive for his enthronement and goes ahead to select a less qualified person; such a person has betrayed the teachings of Islam. It is on this premise that Muslims should give priority to candidates rather than parties.
“Muslims who want to vote must be qualified. The person to be voted for must be qualified and competent. Electoral rules must be clearly known and candidates should be known to be God-fearing”.
One of the Spiritual leaders of TMC also stated that INEC outlines must be obeyed, electoral guidelines for the elections should be obeyed, and chaste Muslim women in Niqab (veil) also have the rights to vote and voting rules respect the hijab.
“Leadership is mandatory in society, particularly where Muslims exist. This is in line with the teachings of Allah and Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A.W).
The primary purpose of having a government is to ensure orderliness, peace and development. These are fundamental to the teachings of Islam”, he said, during the social prayer that was well attended by members and non-members.
We need prayers for looming catastrophe – Wali
The Wali, TMC Lagos, Alhaji Tajudeen Yusuf Olusesi, in an interview with Muslim News, disclosed that Nigeria has been prowled by series of fearful situations and uncertainties regarding the elections and other katzenjammer that prevail at the moment.
Olusesi, therefore, said there is a need for Nigerians, irrespective of their religious leanings to pray for the country to avoid looming catastrophes.
“We shouldn’t just fold our arms as a religious organisation, as such, we deemed it fit to pray for our nation,” he noted.
According to him, “The fact remains that there are so many speculations out there right now that some cabals are trying to topple the power and usurp the current administration. It becomes more pertinent with the general elections that are fast approaching. We want Allah to grant us a leader that will paddle the nation forward.
“TMC is a religious organisation that sets the pace for societal reforms and until the society is reformed, the organization will not relent in fulfilling its purpose.”
When asked how Nigerians found themselves in today’s realities, he noted that the leaders alone can not be blamed for everything and the citizenry also made significant contributions.
“Critically analysing the situation in which we find ourselves in the country, one would realize that we can not totally blame our leaders for the current situation, the citizens also made significant contributions. Take for instance the petroleum marketers today, who buy at a rate and sell to Nigerians at a much higher rate while creating artificial scarcity.”
He also cited the case of POS operators who became greed-infested with the recent scarcity of currency notes and urged the masses to be more sensitive to their own pains and aid the cause of governance.
He urged the electorates to vote for competent candidates who will give listening ears to the masses.
Prayers alone without work will not be accepted by God – Radif-ul-Wali
Imam Raji Salman, Radif-ul-Wali TMC Lagos, in his submission, said prayers alone without work or efforts are fruitless, calling on Nigerians to always work hard towards the attainment of their set goals and pray to God for grace and mercy.
“I strongly believe that prayers can solve the problems of this country. That’s why we staged the special prayers. This isn’t the first time. We have been doing it, both at the national, state and local government levels. We are people of prayers. However, it’s not just about prayers; pray and work. If you pray without working, Allah does not answer such prayers,” he added.
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