A civil society organisation, Coalition for Good Governance has called the attention of the leadership of the APC and PDP in Ondo state to the unfortunate marginalisation of Muslims, urging them to correct it by picking a Muslim as the deputy of its governorship candidates in the October election.
The group added that this is important in order to sustain the continuous peaceful coexistence and religious harmony in the State.
In a statement on Monday titled “We Are Politically Bereaved” by Sirajudeen Abdulazeez, the group also expressed shock over the death of the former Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Wahab Adegbenro.
According to Abdulazeez, the death of Adegbenro has further created a vacuum in the political space occupied by Muslims in the state.
The group however called on Akeredolu to immortalize the late health commissioner.
Read the statement below:
WE ARE POLITICALLY BEREAVED
The Coalition for Good Governance has expressed shock over the death of Dr. Wahab Adegbenro who was until his death the commissioner for health in Ondo State and the Chairman State Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19.
To us in the Coalition one of the best Muslims in the administration of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN has gone! One of those whose appointment stands for Equity, Justice and Balanced Governance is gone! The Muslims in the cabinet of Aketi has further been depleted by the death of this gentle man!
It would be recalled that at the wake of this administration, Governor Akeredolu appointed 4 Muslims as commissioners into his cabinet. But at the dawn of the 2019 general election, two out of these Muslims were sacked for no known reason and were never replaced! Consequently we were left practically with only two Muslims among the commissioners and by extension the state executive council!
With the death of Wahab Adegbenro, Muslim community that constitute about 40% of the population of Ondo State are now left practically with only one representative in the cabinet of Arakunrin Akeredolu and the State Executive Council!
The death of Wahab Adegbenro has further put the Muslims of Ondo State at a disadvantaged corner! Our involvement in the administration and governance of Ondo State have further been choked up! We have further been strangulated by the death of this Medical Hero as such, we are bereaved Politically.
Muslims have been marginalised politically since the creation of Ondo State. Muslim have never been opportune democratically to rule the state and under the present administration all the Principal Government officials are Christians! Even when minority groups are given opportunity to govern this state, Muslims are ostracised from the ruling class. We have never being nominated as an Ambassador or a Minister from the state to the Federal Government, all the tertiary institutions in the state have never been managed by a Muslim. The state have never produced a Muslim Senator! More than 99% of Federal Boards and parastatals members as well as chief executives are all people of other faith. Even in the administration of the Civil Service, Muslims are no where to be found! We can go on and on but to say the least the situation of the Muslims in the state is Politically Precarious!
We say, we are politically bereaved with the death of this Medical General who has paid the Ultimate Price by putting his life on the line to save the state from the ravaging COVID-19! The coalition is calling on Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN to as a matter of urgency balance up this deficit on the side of the Muslims. He should come up with a deliberate policy aimed at empowering the Muslims Politically! Akeredolu should increase the number of Muslims in his cabinet and put up measures so that his appointments would reflect the 40% Muslim indices.
As he warms up for his second term in office, the Coalition is strongly advising him personally to choose a Muslim as his Running Mate! In the same vein the Coalition is also calling on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other major Political Parties contesting for the governorship seat in the state to as a matter of fairness and justice consider a competent Muslim as their Deputy Governorship Candidate ahead of the October 10, 2020 election in Ondo state.
If Christian/Muslim or Muslim/Christian ticket has been entrenched in Nigeria’s polity, especially in most states of the southwest ie Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and including states like Kogi and Edo states to mention but few, the coalition wonders why Muslims in Ondo state are still being unjustly and unfairly treated every four years of election. We thought Dr Olusegun Mimiko’s administration had corrected the anomalies for his 8yrs in office but unfortunately it is yet to be accepted as a culture of our political engagement and participation.
We therefore strongly call on Governor Akeredolu as well as the National Leadership of the APC and the PDP to note this unfortunate marginalisation and correct it for a continuous peaceful coexistence and religious harmony in the Sunshine State.
The Coalition is calling on Ondo State Government to immortalise this great hero by admitting him into the Ondo State Hall of Fame. A befitting edifice within the State should be named after him and his children granted full scholarship up to University education. These will be a token when compared to the Ultimate Price he had paid for the state.
Lastly, the Coalition commiserate with the Government and good people of Ondo State and the Muslim Ummah in General. May Allah grant him eternal rest and give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Amir Sirajudeen Abdulazeez Folayemi
COALITION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE
Saturday 11th July, 2020