The Arewa Professional Group (APG), comprising various professionals from all walks of life as well as elder statesmen and women of substance of Northern extraction have called on the leadership of the House of Representatives, the Senate of the Federal Republic and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to put an end to the ethnic profiling, gender abuse and religious bias that have been used against own Ambassador and an Arewa woman leader, Dr Muheeba Dankaka of the Federal Character Commission(FCC).
For the record, the group said this is a female professional has remained a bastion of Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto); a role model for women and girl-child in the North and who has consistently prided herself in the discharge of her duties effectively, right from assuming the mantle of leadership.
In a press release signed by the National Coordinator of Arewa Professional Group (APC), Dr Umar Bala Abdulkadir and Secretary, Comrade Nazanmi Dakingari, the group said Nigerians and indeed, the management of the FCC will agree that before the presidential elections of 2023, even the lowest cadre of staff of the FCC, the leadership of the National Assembly and the various committees were adequately aware of the avid stand, body language and sincere campaigns embarked upon by Dr Muheeba Dankaka, who did not hide her genuine efforts. She showed her dexterity as a great mobilizer and avid supporter of the President, Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s candidacy which, according to our investigation did not go down well with a select few from the Labour Party (LP) principally dominated by individuals from the Southeast geopolitical zone.
The group noted, “It will also be recalled that these elements embarked on a campaign of calumny and war of attrition against our very own, by going to the market square to dance naked and went as far as using all sorts of blackmail tactics, media bully and ambush tactics aimed at unseating her from her official seat.
“Authoritatively, they have consistently called her several unprintable names; have as well tried inducing her so that she could chicken out and indulge in unethical practices at the commission, but she stood her ground, maintain that it was no longer business as usual.
“They also made her to swear with the Holy Quran of her innocence in all the alleged and trumped-up charges by these disgruntled Southeast members of the Federal House of Representatives who were and are still hell bent on casting aspersions, and engage in smear campaign against her office and personality, just to ridicule and infuse her to public ridicule. All these calculated attempts were also aimed at her because, according to their myopic and parochial view, she is a woman without godfather, who is also a practicing Muslim that could not easily and willingly respond to their antecedents.
The group cautioned the Honourable members and their collaborators not to “misconstrue our golden silence for cowardice or granted as the so-called maltreatment given to Dr Muheeda was intended as maligning and dishumanising her, just because she is female from Northern Nigeria, as well as a Muslim,” for that matter.
They also cautioned that Nigerians are aware of a lot of government parastatals and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have blatantly refused the instructions and invitations of the House of Representatives (HOR) but until date, nothing has been heard of such organizations or MDAs.
The Arewa group therefore wants to know when it has became a crime for a person to stand and mobilize for whom she believes in “and that her only crime remains her doggedness, not to appease the gods and indulge in sharp and unethical practices, to favour the committee members who have resorted to blackmail her with all sorts names calling like job racketeering, gross mismanagement and other similar accolades, all in a bid to substantially blackmail her to do their bidding and even use her own staff against her, to show their desperation and sheer wickedness.”
Accordingly, the statement said, the innuendoes from the Labour Party (LP) and emanating from those from the Southeast extraction, are spearheaded by a female member who has audaciously pointed fingers at Dr Muheeda, that “I will deal with you and prove to you that Nigeria belongs exclusively to us” on repeated occasions, even in the public domain. All these were done because she vehemently refused to compromise her stance and not open the treasury and other unwarranted benefits-in-kind attached to her office to those disgruntled members.
These members therefore have resorted to using a Commissioner in the Commission who hails from Delta State, to malign, do media trial and cast aspersions on the Commission for mesh of porridge.
It will also be recalled that the few times the Chairperson of FCC was invited, she diligently honour the invitations and on other occasions, she was ill and had to send in a senior management staff to represent her who officially tendered a certified copy of a doctor’s report, but because of the nefarious and clandestine plot of the members, they went ahead to cast her in bad light in the public domain.
These actions ostensibly brought her untold pains, trauma and psychological torture and aspersions from close family and friends, associates, professional colleagues, as well as women groups, across the country, which also threw her in the bad books of unsuspecting public not knowing the real issues at stake.
“But if truth must be told and upheld, Dr Muheeda Dankaka remains a stabilizing factor and a transformer of the first order, right from her assumption of office and mantle of leadership and she has gone, against all odds, to reposition, change the narrative like never before in the annals of the Commission. These were done, even as there were orchestrations by fifth columnists, traducers and avowed enemies of Nigeria’s progress and haters of the current President of the Federal Republic, whose only agenda are to line their pockets, cheat, blackmail the Commission into submission, so as to uncontrollably reap where they did not sow”Arewa group said.
The Arewa Professional Group (APG) also called on “enticed members”, to henceforth “desist from heating the polity unnecessarily” and also “stop their clandestine plots against Dr Dankaka,” whose only crime remains, that she does not open the treasury of the Commission and pecks of office to them” and “they should as well stop forthwith their orchestrated campaign of calumny, but forcing her under duress to swear on the Holy Islamic Book, the Quran.
”If this kind and unsolicited advice is not adequately complied with, “we will be forced to take decisive steps, by calling on all our Arewa Honourable Members of the House of Representatives and Distinguished Senators, as the lovers of truth, to protect their own and fight for the collective good of the region, echoing “Enough is Enough! We would not accept the unethical narrative against our very own from the region and also maintain the rhetoric: ‘Who is a woman for that matter?’”
The Group equally maintains that they have the absolute trust and confidence in Dr Dankaka, in her ability to diligently deliver the duties of her office and would be ready to mobilize all Arewa stakeholders and the generality of the people, including women and youth groups to wake up from their slumber and fight for their common aspirations of our region.
This is done with the strong belief that “We all know the retrogressive plan of the Southeast Honourbale Members who vehemently wish to reduce the number of women from our region in the Federal appointments and to also coarse and hoodwink the young and youthful ladies from the region, aspiring to be like Dr Dankaka. Therefore, we have resolved to resist this hidden agenda with all our beliefs. The Federal Character Commission should be allowed to be run in a professional manner. Let Dr Dankaka have her peace, so as to continue to offer her quote to the progressive development of the nation. At the risk of repeating ourselves, since when has it become a crime to professional serve one’s fatherland?”