Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has declared support for Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second term bid as Governor of Lagos State ahead of the March 11 governorship election, months after opposing the choice of a Christian governor by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Director of the Muslim rights advocacy group in Nigeria, Prof. Lakin Akintola had in April 2022 kicked against the endorsement of Mr. Sanwo-Olu’s re-election, saying it was against the principle of rotational governance.
Barely a year after the opposition, Prof. Akintola on Monday, issued a statement where he joined the Lagos Muslim Community and the Council of Ulama (Muslim Scholars) to endorse Mr. Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, a Muslim, for second term.
When asked by Muslim News in an interview on what informed the change of decision, Prof. Akintola gave four reasons and concluded that Sanwo-Olu has immense support and camaraderie towards Muslims in Lagos and beyond, and he should not be deserted in his time of need.
According to him: “MURIC kicked against the choice of Sanwo-Olu initially because his first term concluded the 8th year term of a Christian governor in Lagos, as Akinwunmi Ambode, his predecessor, could not vie for a second term due to some misunderstanding within the APC.
“Hence, it was supposed to be the turn of a Muslim governor, so, MURIC, spearheading the concerns of Muslims, decried another term by a Christian governor.
“First and foremost, having supported Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket without any hesitation, Sanwo-Olu has proven himself deserving of the support of Muslims and it will be unfair to desert him at a time like this.
“However, having won a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the recent presidential election, which generated a lot of controversies, it becomes pertinent to reciprocate the kind gesture of governors who supported the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Such should not be repaid with evil.
“Secondly, we’ve long been on a struggle for approval of hijab in Lagos State. After the supreme court judgment, the Sanwo-Olu-led administration gave an order through a circular and showed preparedness to promptly sanction offenders in that regard. His administration took the issue of hijab very seriously.
“Moreover, Muslims have been complaining over time that none of the six Tutor-Generals in Lagos State is a Muslim, but recently, Governor Sanwo-Olu appointed two Muslims as Tutor-Generals in the state.
“Lastly, Muslims in Lagos have engaged in liason with the Sanwo-Olu administration and have concluded that after the conclusion of his second term, he will be succeeded by a Muslim, as such, it will be unwise for Lagos Muslims not to support him. The agreement only stands if he emerges as winner of the March 11 elections.”
He added that the giant strides and indelible marks of Sanwo-Olu are evident of his capacity and political charisma. He concluded that MURIC will continue to employ dialogue in resolving conflicts and issues rather than resolve to cacophony, fight or violence.
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