As the search for running mates takes the centre stage on the Nigerian political arena, the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has advised the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, against picking the governor of Rivers State, Nyesome Wike, as his running mate.
In a statement on Monday, the MURIC director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, said Mr Wike is one of the bigoted Christian governors who had been blacklisted by Nigerian Muslims.
The statement reads: “It has come to our knowledge that Governor Nyesome Wike is among those being considered as possible running mates for the PDP flagbearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. We deem it necessary to advise against this. Wike is an open enemy of Islam, a Muslim-hater primus inter pareil and an unrepentant mosque destroyer.
“The extremist remarks of Wike are still on record. He declared Rivers State a Christian State contrary to the constitution. What guaranty can anybody give us that he will not say or do worse things if he becomes a vice president. No, Wike should not be allowed to hold any post at federal level.
“Wike hates the sight of mosques and he is prepared to use or misuse his office to destroy all mosques in Nigeria if allowed to occupy any space inside Aso Rock. Wike is intolerant, unpredictable and violence-inclined. Nigerian Muslims do not trust him. He will definitely be a bad market for Atiku. His electoral value at the national level is nil.
“We therefore advise Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to avoid Wike by all means. He should go for a moderate Christian, not a fanatic. This should be a lesson for other politicians, particularly governors who are fond of using their office to persecute Muslims and undermine the religion of Islam. Nigerian Muslims are watching and waiting for them.
“Nigerians have a lot to learn from the way many political aspirants from Southern Nigeria dressed up in turban and babanriga in an attempt to convince people in other parts of the country that they are prepared to tolerate Muslims. Unfortunately it was too late.
Tolerance should be demonstrated in our day to day actions and words. Tolerance should be displayed in times of tension, not when we want political offices, least of all during electioneering campaigns. We should appreciate the variety of our cultures as a blessing and realise that we will need other people at a point in time even if we do not need them now.
“In the Nigeria of today, the true statesman is the one who can find loyal friends in different parts of the country, in all ethnicities and in all creeds.”