Igbo Muslims: We are always disqualified from contesting elections

South Eastern Muslims Organisation of Nigeria (SEMON), a socio-cultural Igbo group, has called on Igbo Muslims to participate in a national event by joining political parties and contesting any positions of choice.

In a statement signed by Muhammad Ajah and Abdurrahman Urama, its national chairman and national secretary, the group alleged that a lot of Igbo Muslims are interested in contesting political positions but hold back for lack of funds and fear of wasting their “scarce resources” only to be disqualified during the screening process on religious grounds.

It commended the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for always looking out for it members in the north.

The group said in a statement: “We are happy that more of our brethren are venturing into politics. For 2019, some of us in different Southeast states showed interest or bought forms to contest elections. But our consternation is that we are always disqualified on religious base.

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“And no group from the Muslim organizations in Nigeria care to talk on this. But the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has continued to make genuine cases for their brethren in the north.

Recently, CAN in Niger State called on the governorship candidates of all political parties in the state to ensure they pick a Muslim/Christian team for the 2019 governorship election in the interest of fairness and respect between the two major religions in the country.

“In states like Adamawa, Kaduna and few others in the north, no Muslim governorship aspirant can easily win election without having a Christian as his running mate. Is it a taboo for a Christian governorship aspirant in the Southeast and South-south to pick a Muslim running mate for election?”

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The group noted that even though the Igbo Muslims are “intentionally” neglected by their representatives after every general election, they should not be discouraged from exercising their franchise in the forthcoming polls.

It also urged Muslim association to advocate for the inclusion of Muslims in the political development of Nigeria.

“While we commend CAN for this follow up of political activities of their members in their northern minority areas, we think it is naturally reasonable for the apex umbrella bodies of the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria such as the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Jama’atu Nasril-Islam (JNI) to put up strong advocacy for the inclusion of Igbo Muslims in the political development of Nigeria and their states,” it said.

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“The Muslim political class should not be complacent with their placements and forget the political alienation of their brethren in the Southeast. This is a wakeup call on the Muslims as the 2019 political dispensation gear up.”

– THE CABLE

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