*writes Gov Makinde
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Muslim Community of Oyo State on Tuesday raised alarm over an alleged plan to replace names of late two High Court judge nominees who are Muslims with Christian nominees.
Oyo State Muslim Community raised the alarm in a letter signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni dated May 3, addressed to Governor Seyi a copy of which was obtained by the New Nigerian.
The Muslim Community in the letter entitled ” ANOTHER OPEN LETTER TO H.E. SEYI MAKINDE, ON THE CONTINUING OPPRESSION OF MUSLIMS IN ALL SECTORS OF OYO STATE – THIS TIME, ON THE JUDICIARY AND URGENT REQUEST FOR REDRESS OF THE LOPSIDEDNESS IN THE APPOINTMENT OF NEW JUDGES”,alleged lopsidedness in the appointment of Judges into the High Court of Oyo state by the Gov Makinde administration.
In the letter, the Muslim Community tasked Governor Makinde to maintain justice and fair play between the Christians and Muslims in the appointment of Judges in the state contrary to the alleged ploy at replacing names of two late High Court judges nominees with some Christians
“Your Excellency, we do not want to believe that there is a deliberate ploy to relegate Muslims in the State to second fiddle as you directed the Attorney General to cause the Chief Judge of the state to withdraw the list containing three Muslims. To start with, let it be noted that, we resorted to the avenue of writing open letters to Your Excellency, after efforts at meeting with you through letters seeking audience failed, at three different times,” it said.
The Muslim Community added, ” It is on record that Your Excellency won the gubernatorial election in 2019 with votes of Muslims and Christians. It is equally not in doubt that your Excellency swore to be fair to all citizens of Oyo State, irrespective of their religion or tribe. It is on this ground that the Muslim Community hereby draws Your Excellency’s attention to the letter written by the Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice of the State, on Your Excellency’s authority, in respect of the ongoing appointment of judges to the High Court of Justice of Oyo State.”,
The letter claimed that the Oyo state Attorney General In the said letter dated July 20, 2020, which was addressed to the Hon. Chief Judge of Oyo State, who doubles as Chairman, Oyo State Judicial Service Commission stated, directed the withdrawal of names of Two nominees that are Muslims, saying, ” Your Excellency Sir, kindly recall that the list which you directed your Attorney General to withdraw consisted of three Muslims, namely : 1. Late Fatimat Badrudeen; 2. Late Prince Adetunji Wasiu Gbadegesin; and 3. Mr. Abdul-Razzaq Bolaji Adebayo Agoro
” It is on record that the first two were Muslims during their lifetime while the 3rd person is equally a Muslim. However, it is necessary to point out that the first two rose through the ladder to become the Registrar and Permanent Secretary respectively. Notwithstanding this fact, Your Excellency directed the Attorney General to cause the list to be withdrawn on the principal ground that the three of them were Muslims. It is on record that in line with Your Excellency’s directive, the first list was withdrawn and it was re-deliberated upon by the Judicial Service Commission. It was in this process that the Muslim Community and the State in general lost Mrs. Fatimat Badrudeen.
” In line with your directive, the Judicial Service Commission of Oyo State met and eventually caused two Muslims and two Christians as preferred candidates to be recommended to the National Judicial Council, for onward recommendation to Your Excellency. Although, the Muslim Community was not comfortable with Your Excellency’s directive that the three Muslims should not be appointed even when judges who are Christians are in the majority, but in the interest of peace in our state, we chose not to react.”
The letter reads further, “It is on record that while the Muslim Community is in concurrence with the idea of recommending two Muslims and two Christians, the Muslim Community and Oyo State in general, again lost Prince Adetunji Wasiu Gbadegesin to the cold hands of death”, adding, ” we have it on good authority that the Judicial Service Commission of Oyo State has substituted a Christian candidate for the said Late Prince Adetunji Wasiu Gbadegesin.”
” Kindly recall, Your Excellency, that the same Judicial Service Commission substituted a Christian candidate for the Late Fatimat Badrudeen. May Almighty Allah have mercy on the departed souls of both of them, Aamin. We call on your Excellency to kindly cause Late Prince Adetunji Wasiu Gbadegesin to be replaced with a Muslim. Fair is just fair. He who must come to equity, let him come with clean hands.
” Your Excellency, what we crave is just equity in all spheres. We do not ask to be unduly favoured above adherents of the other religion. Your Excellency, we do not want to believe that there is a deliberate ploy to relegate Muslims in the State to second fiddle as you directed the Attorney General to cause the Chief Judge of the state to withdraw the list containing three Muslims. We think it is only fair that since Muslims have lost two candidates, who could have become judges, in mysterious circumstances, if not for your Excellency’s opposition to the recommendation of the three Muslims to the National Judicial Council, it is only fair that Late Prince Gbadegesin be replaced with another qualified Muslim.