The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has rejected the idea that people should jettison politics because of religion, saying that those who avoid politics because they are devoted Christians or Muslims end up being ruled by people who lack the fear of Allah.
According to the rights organisation, for social harmony, progress and good governance, religion and politics should go hand in hand as tyranny, misrule and dictatorship are bound to reign supreme where politics is left to men who do not fear Allah.
MURIC stated this while adding to the cacophony of voices on the recent reconciliation between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
In a statement signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the organisation said there was nothing out of place in what took place during the Abeokuta, Ogun State armistice.
It urged people to stop blaming Kaduna-based scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Reverend Matthew Kukah, saying they had every right to attend any occasion as bona fide Nigerian citizens.
“Even those who blame them for showing interest in Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) missed the point. They should actually be commended for being bold enough to come out openly to be part of the event.
“We in MURIC do not subscribe to the idea that people should jettison politics because of religion. People who avoid politics because they are devoted Christians or Muslims end up being ruled by the disciples of Shaytan (Satan) who lack the fear of Allah. For social harmony, progress and good governance, religion and politics should go hand in hand. Tyranny, misrule and dictatorship are bound to reign supreme where politics is left to men who do not fear Allah.
“Both Christians and Muslims should participate in politics to avoid being ruled by people who are inferior to them, people who are heartless, people who despise religion.
“We therefore urge Nigerians to stop the blame game. Both Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah have merely exercised their Allah-given fundamental right of expression and freedom of association. It is a challenge to the rest of us. Although both drammatis personae have denied any political motive, the issue here is not whether the move was political or apolitical. The body language, particularly if we read it from the pre-Abeokuta detente, is as clear as daylight,” the organisation said.
“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once remarked that the refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. He added that the tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.
“This is not the time to sit on the fence. It is Nigeria’s moment of decision. We must therefore gird our loins not only in preparation for the coming general election but for the emergence of a new Nigeria,” Muric said.
“While we are aware that politicians will only prepare for the approaching 2019 general elections, we beseech statesmen and patriotic Nigerians to prepare for the evolution of a new nation where corruption, vote-buying, politics of stomach infrastructure, acrobatic religiosity and ethnic jingoism will give way to a civilized political culture, transparency, accountability and massive infrastructural build-up all over the country.
“MURIC has long taken a position and nothing has happened to change that stance. We stand with integrity. Project Nigeria is our priority. We believe in a strong, united Nigeria. We believe in a Nigeria where merit is the parameter, not religion, not ethnicity. The achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari, in spite of the political landmines and gargantuan challenges, inspire us and we believe that it is in the best interest of Nigeria that we allow him to continue beyond 2019,” it added.
Group hails CBN for banning spraying at parties
MURIC also described the ban placed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on spraying banknotes at parties as long overdue.
The organisation, in a separate statement, appealed to law enforcement agencies to enforce the ban in the interest of the coming generation.
“We hail CBN for the ban on spraying at parties. It is a nauseating practice. Ours is a culture of waste. We are so materialistic today that we have forsaken our core values. We worship money even in the house of God. Spraying money at parties is flamboyance. Those who do it are cutting their noses to spite their faces. They are inducing greed and encouraging crime.
“What do you expect when people who have not taken any meal throughout the day watch you spraying money so recklessly as if you are throwing ordinary pieces of paper? You may attract armed robbers to yourself as you spray money at parties. Hoodlums may surround you or trail you when you leave. The CBN ban on spraying is therefore capable of reducing crime in society.
“Apart from that, we live in a country where the average person lives on less than $1 per day. Per capita income is less than $300. More than 80 per cent Nigerians live below poverty level. The average worker lives from hand to mouth while majority of Nigerian students manage to survive on one meal per day.
“The question MURIC is asking is this: how can any Nigerian, acting in good conscience, come out boldly to spray money in such circumstance? We have seen the faces of hungry youths hanging around party venues waiting for leftovers from the tables of party-goers. The pain in their eyes strikes our hearts with grief as we watch fellow Nigerians spraying money on the dance floor. It is heartless,” MURIC said
It also blamed parents for the descent of youths into what it referred to as the abyss of indiscipline.
“Parents prefer to turn their children into money-spinners. This has led many parents to use their children for money ritual. It has led many parents to force their daughters to marry rich men who do not care about their happiness. It has also led many parents to close their eyes to the criminal sources of their children’s wealth. Our society has drifted and we need iron hands to instil discipline in society.
“Even the Nigerian electorate has been misled. Stomach infrastructure is valued above long-term investment. The government of the State of Osun was recently punished by voters in the state for building good roads, bridges, modern school buildings, etc. Nobody complained that the state governor stole one kobo but they rebelled against him for investing their money in infrastructure.
“The verdict shows that Nigeria scored zero in voter education. It is also a strong pointer to the level of awareness of citizens’ rights in our society. People are not thinking of tomorrow. Neither are they appreciating leaders who plan for the future. We are in a hurry to eat up our tomorrow today. Consumerism leads us by our noses. It is a pity”.
But the organsiation disagreed with CBN on the punishment to be meted out to defaulters, saying the fine should be based on the amount sprayed and the currency involved.
“A man who sprays only ten N100 notes cannot be compared with another who sprays two hundred N1,000 notes. Neither can we compare someone who sprays foreign currency with one who sprays naira. What is N50,000 fine to someone who sprayed close to one million naira? The fine should be proportionate to the amount sprayed,” it argued.
But it commended the CBN for taking the bull by the horns and said that those who desecrate the naira deserve punishment.
“We charge CBN to walk its talk. Emphasis should be placed on imprisonment for spraying at parties. There should be no option of fine. Only thus can we save this society from materialism, consumerism and moral decadence,” MURIC added.
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