An Islamic human rights group has once again reaffirmed its support for the use of the presidential jet by Hanan Buhari, one of the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari. In a statement circulated on by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday, 16th January, 2020, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) cemented its position.
MURIC wonders why Nigerians fail to appreciate the fact that the father of a Northern girl-child has not been given out in early marriage contrary to the common practice in the region but has been encouraged to pursue Western education. The group therefore accused critics of insincerity and ethnic bias.
The statement reads:
“A Tsunami of criticisms trailed our statement of Monday, 13th January, 2019 in which we expressed solidarity with Hanan Buhari, one of the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari. Though mainly motivated by political prejudice, the criticism cut across religions. Our organisation was taken to the cleaners simply because we refused to wailers in bashing a honest man. But the point is that there is always two sides to a coin. Unfortunately wailers will not bother to look at the other side. Why must we all reason along one direction? We can take the bashing. We don’t mind so long as we are convinced that we are on the right path. Truth is constant.
“One particular aspect has jogged our mind again: the fact that Hanan Buhari is from a region which is considered to be conservative and educationally backward. This is a region where millions of male children roam the streets in almajiri fashion while parents keep the girl-child at home, marry them off at tender age and declare Western education as taboo.
“Those who are crying foul today are part of those shedding crocodile tears over the neglect of the girl-child. Well, something phenomenal happened in the Hanan Buhari narrative. A girl-child from this same conservative, education-shy region bagged a first class in a London university where education has genuine quality and first class actually means first class. Isn’t that alone worth celebrating? Isn’t that alone capable of inspiring other girls in the region?
“This was exactly what MURIC referred to when it said in its first statement that Hanan Buhari was an inspiration. We repeat it once again without any fear of contradiction that she is, indeed, an inspiration and a model. Nigerians from a section of the country have for long been lampooning Northerners for giving out their daughters in marriage at tender age. We now have a father who did not do that but took his time to allow his daughter to get the best education available. Lo and behold! Nigerians went for his jugular. Who did this to Nigeria? It is now clear that those making noise over early marriage and neglect of Western education in the North had never been sincere. They were more interested in deriding a whole region and reviling others in self-righteousness.
“Mischief led a section of the media to twist our statement by giving it a wrong caption in order to mislead the general public and also to cast aspersion on MURIC. The mischievous caption read, “MURIC Says Hanan Buhari is an Inspiration While Flying in Presidential Jet”. Of course that was far from our intention. We were called all sorts of unprintable names. That should not worry us anyway. Any organization or individual who wants to change society must be prepared to stomach criticism, both fair and unfair.
“We made it clear in our statement that the issue of the presidential jet was not major. We insisted that the lessons inherent in a president’s daughter studying photography and working so hard at her studies as to bag a first class degree was more important to us. We said it was capable of inspiring the youth, particularly girls in the region, to imbibe hard work. She was likely to create an indelible impression on the Northern girl-child. We said we were proud of Hanan. We still are till tomorrow. We stand by this statement. We have no apologies for that. No retreat, no surrender.
“Some even alleged that our statement was too pro-North and that our stand was capable of hurting the Yoruba agenda. We consider this as a gross misunderstanding of MURIC’s mission. The fact that our headquarters is in Lagos does not make us a Yoruba group. Far from that. We are a completely detribalised group. Our membership spreads to all tribes, including the South-East and the South-South. Our mission is to unite Nigeria. This is why we have consistently stood by the truth and the truth alone no matter whose ox is gored. We will not promote any sectional agenda.
“What manner of people are we in this country? We hail loafers and loath workers. We idolize thieves and demonise honest people. What crime has the president’s daughter committed? A young lady went for studies as the daughter of the Number One citizen in our land. She had all the reason in the world to indulge in self-glorification but she elected to work hard and she excelled. She came back with the highest laurel from a British university where you cannot buy grades with either your look or your cash. She came back home believing that she has neither disappointed her parents nor her compatriots. But we chose to pour invectives on her instead of encomiums. Who cursed Nigeria?
“Our message to Hanan is very simple: ignore the wailers. They are in the ‘bad belle’ camp. But they cannot undo what Allah has done. Continue to do your parents proud and stay focused. You are not alone. Millions of Nigerians North and South of the Niger are with you. Honest and hardworking Nigerians appreciate you. It is your moment of glory. Savour it. Glow and shine in its euphoria.
“We laid little emphasis on the presidential jet. People will continue to play politics with it and that is what has happened. What has Hanan’s father done wrong? Why wouldn’t the father be happy with a daughter who did him proud in a foreign land? We do not see why a biological daughter of the Nigerian president cannot, once in a while, have access to it for an important purpose like Hanan has done.
“The United States is a great democracy. Yet we have seen pictures of President Trump’s daughter, her husband and their little son as they boarded Air Force One for a trip. It is a pity that Nigeria’s democracy leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. We need to grow up. From the daughters of George Bush to those of Lincoln and Obama, White House kids had broken the rules. Ex-President Obama’s daughter, Malia, was filmed smoking pot. The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara were drunkards. They were also caught using fake identity cards in 2001. Patty Davis was notorious for sexual recklessness bothering on nymphomania. Luci Johnson almost burnt down the White House.
“Compared to the White House daughters, Hanan is a pleasure to behold and a treasure to possess. Unfortunately Nigerians will not appreciate what they have in the daughter, just as they do not cherish the father who sits on their wealth and has refused to steal one kobo. When will Nigerians know the difference between pure gold and ordinary sand?
“To cap the edifice, we wish to correct the wrong impression created that we said Hanan flying in the presidential jet was an inspiration. What we actually said was that Hanan’s educational feat was an inspiration to the Northern girl-child and that there was nothing wrong with her using the jet for that particular assignment which we, in good conscience, cannot consider as private. We reaffirm our pride in Hanan and we concretise our faith and vote of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari as an exemplary father and president of our great country, Nigeria.