By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, appointed advisers and chairmen of boards on Monday, 11th March, 2019.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has however described the list as falling below expectation. The Islamic human rights organization made its feeling known in a press statement distributed on Tuesday 12thMarch, 2019, signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“We are disappointed that the governor still marginalised us this way. It is inexplicable. The list contained ten names. Two of the names look like Muslim names. Perhaps they think we will not crosscheck but we did. We always do. We have a branch in Ekiti and our officials there have their ears to the ground. You could get away with that kind of thing 15 years ago but not in these days of infotech. The world has become a tiny village.
“The only Muslim name on the list of ten is that of Alhaji Afolabi Ogunlayi. A second name which looked like that of a Muslim is that of Mr. Tajudeen Wale Ajayi but only Alhaji Ogunlayi is a bona fide Muslim. Tajudeen converted to Christianity a long time ago. His wife and all his children follow him to church. He has not been using that Muslim name for years but the state government decided to use it on the list just to blindfold Muslims in the state.
“Contrary to what the governor will want Muslims to believe, therefore, only one of the new appointees is a Muslim. This is grossly inadequate in view of what Muslims in the state went through in the hands of the former governor, Ayodele Fayose. This is still a raw deal. We deserve better.
“This is in spite of a forward-looking press statement issued by MURIC last week dated 5th March 2019 under the caption ‘Balance Your Cabinet: MURIC Tells Fayemi’. The statement laid emphasis on the need for the state governor to redress wrongs done to Muslims by ensuring that they get adequate share of political appointments. This list is definitely not balanced. If anything, it is crudely lopsided.
“We hope those who rush to blame Muslims whenever the latter express displeasure are listening. We also hope the party leaders in the state are paying attention. We remind these leaders that in politics there is always a pay day in favour of oppressed minorities and marginalized groups. No wise politician will underestimate any group. Revenge is sweet when its dish is cold.
“It is not too late though. Governor Fayemi can still make amends as he is yet to announce his list of commissioners. But he should remember that he needs to consider making his cabinet inclusive. Already, the Deputy Governor, Chief of Staff (CS) and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) are all Christians. An all-Christian list of commissioners like that of Fayose or one in which only four out of 14 are Muslims will be deemed unfriendly, outrageous and provocative.
“We also wish to subtly remind Dr. Kayode Fayemi that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Section 14(4) stipulates that “The composition of the Government of the Federation, a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation”
“We are not unaware that party loyalists deserve appointments but definitely not at the detriment of other components of the society. Fayemi must not be governor over APC elements alone or over Christians in the state only. He must be father of all. Muslims must be given their due share.
“Perhaps it is pertinent here to mention the implications of fair sharing of political offices among the different components of the society. Economically, wealth will be evenly distributed once appointments are proportionately shared. Socially, no single group will be kept in the dark as to the activities of government. Politically, an isolated group is excluded from day to day decisions of government. It is no longer participatory democracy once a group is excluded from the dividends of democracy. Any marginalized group is therefore impoverished and kept in the dark. Muslims of Ekiti State are saying never again.
“As our concluding remarks, we call upon the Ekiti State governor not to leave the path of justice and fairness for which he was known during his first tenure as governor. Muslims deserve adequate attention in the formation of the new executive of Ekiti State”.