Plateau Muslims renew agitation for deputy governorship slot

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Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State

By Shittu Tanko

Following recent political development in Kaduna State, where Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i, was said to have picked a Muslim running mate in the forthcoming 2019 General Election, Muslims in Plateau State, have renewed their agitation for a Muslim deputy governorship slot in the State.

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that some Muslims in the state have been expressing their desire and the need to revert to the “status quo” of having a deputy governor as Muslim to represent the about “40 per cent Muslims,” that made up the population of the state.

According to a Jos-based private legal practitioner, Human Rights activist and community leader, Lawal Ishaq, prior to 1999, civilian governors have had their deputies as Muslims, stressing further that, “but on the advent of democracy in 1999 political elites in the state deliberately decided to set an agenda of exclusion against the Muslims.”

“Our population as Muslims in the state is projected at about 40 percent or more. The statistics can easily be traced. When one critically look into the issue, one will discover that in Wase, Kanam and Jos North Local Government Areas, we are high in numbers,” he said.

Mr Lawal further opined that in Mangu, Quan’pan, Shendam, Bassa, Barkin Ladi and Jos South Local Government Areas of the State, the Muslims also have significant percentages.

“The fact that in 2007 a Governorship candidate in person of Victor Lar, who contested on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, picked a Muslim, Retired Justice Ya’u Dakwak, was also a pointer that our population is of political and administrative importance to the good governance of the state,” he stressed.

The legal practitioner said if states like Gombe, Adamawa and Kaduna are having their governors and deputies being Muslims and Christians, why not also give the Muslims in Plateau State the political rights to actively participate in their governance, by having a Muslim as deputy Governor.

He further lamented that presently in Plateau state, Muslims are not deemed fit to be the Secretary to state government or Chief of Staff.

Mr Lawal added that; “the cries by some Christians that they will be marginalised by the Kaduna State Governor, is exactly what the Plateau State Muslims are suffering from.”

Similarly, many others have told DAILY NIGERIAN, that “if the political development in Kaduna State, is an issue to Christians in the State, then such issue should be applicable in Plateau State.”

The state’s coordinator of Muslim rights in politics for justice and equity, Auwal Usman, was of the view that, “we are working in ensuring that the status qou is reverted.

“We want to see the Muslims votes represented not only in the capacity of few commissioners and aids, but to that of deputy governorship slot in the State.”