There have been altercations between the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as results of the 2019 elections are being declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Although more than half of the results are yet to be announced, the PDP has already rejected the results so far declared. This is likely to create a tense atmosphere in the political arena.
However, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed for calm. In a press statement issued on Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, the human rights group called on all stakeholders to observe parliamentary decorum and exercise restraint during and after the declaration of results. The statement was signed by Professor Ishaq Akintola, Director of the organization.
“A winner must emerge in any contested election. Some will win and some will lose. It has been so from the beginning of time. But true democrats, men of courage and nobility are known by their liberal disposition. It is only political fanatics who stand on the extreme edge and refuse to bend. In any case, INEC’s declaration of a winner is not the end of hope. Relief can still be sought in the courts of law up to the highest level. This is what we should do in order to prove that our democracy has not been stagnant afterall.
“MURIC invites winners to manifest humility and magnanimity in victory. For the sake of our dear country, Nigeria, we charge whoever loses in this election to display uncommon equanimity and unparalleled sportsmanship. This is necessary in order to inject a large dose of patriotism in young Nigerians. They are the politicians of the future. We must not leave a legacy of bitterness, intolerance and desperation in politics. The whole world is watching you.
“Islamic political thought identifies Almighty Allah alone as the sole giver of power. He gives whom He wishes and He takes power from whom He so desires (Qur’an 3:26). It is interesting that the two main contenders in this 2019 general elections are Muslims and they know the implications of this popular verse. Here is a chance to demonstrate the depth of our leaders’ faith. Is it vertically strong or horizontally inclined?
“We must consider the safety of lives and properties. Is our victory worth the blood of hundreds of innocent Nigerians? Is it worth the pandemonium that is bound to follow a crisis? Should Nigeria go the way of Rwanda or Liberia because we want to lead? We must ruminate over the humanitarian crisis which is likely to follow a violent eruption.
“We call on all stakeholders to eschew hate speech, incitement and all forms of provocation. We call on the youth to distance themselves from all acts of thuggery and hooliganism. The children of politicians are in London, Paris and New York. Why must we be used to kill and maim ourselves over simple political differences? Another four years will be here by 2023.
Finally, we appeal to all men of goodwill particularly opinion leaders, traditional rulers, etc, to rise to the occasion. We request for special prayers for peace and tranquility in churches and mosques throughout the federation. In particular, we urge church clerics to pray for Nigeria on Sunday 3rd March, 2019. We request Imams and their congregation to observe sujud ash-shukr between Maghrib and Ishai prayers from Tuesday 26th February to Thursday 28th February 2019 and to pray for political stability during those three days.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)