The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has admonished the Nigerian electorate to ‘vote for a new Nigeria’ as the nation goes to the polls on Saturday 16th February, 2019 and Saturday, 2nd March, 2019.
MURIC, an Islamic human rights organization declared in its voters’ enlightenment statement issued on Thursday, 14th February, 2019 that Nigerian voters must sustain the tempo of the change mantra and rapid growth which has manifested in various facets of life in the country. The statement was signed by the organisation’s founder and director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
Expatiating further, MURIC said, “Nigerians were treated with derision outside the country until recently. Transparency International (TI) ranked Nigeria First Most Corrupt Country in 2001, Second Most Corrupt in 2003 and Third Most Corrupt in 2004 while a former prime minister of Britain described Nigerians as ‘fantastically corrupt’ about three years ago.
“Nigeria remains poor despite our humongous human and material resources due to corruption. All these are due to the fact that only 1% of the population (the notorious but powerful tiny cabal) have arrogated 85% of the total wealth to themselves while the overwhelming 99% struggle over the remaining 15% of the resources of the land. As a result of this socio-economic imbalance, Nigeria is rated today as the 26th poorest and 20th hungriest country in the world. The average Nigerian still lives on less than $1 per day. Our per capita income is still under $300.
“Our oil export revenue between 2010 and 2014 speaks eloquently of our culture of waste. The average price per barrel was $110. But we frittered every kobo away. We enjoyed stable oil production at 2.4 million barrels per day during this period. At the lowest we sold at $93.61 per barrel. Thus we were able to realise $224 million per day and $81b per year (N12.8 trillion at the old rate). The most spectacular year was 2011 when Nigeria earned $99 billion!
“Yet there is virtually nothing to show for all that money. Successive regimes from 1999 to 2015 struggled to out-Herod Herod. It was an outrageous contest to out-do the biblical prodigal son (Luke 15:11 – 19) and an equally ludicrous quest to ensure that Nigeria matched up to the description of the Qur’anic city of ingrates (qaryatan aaminatan mutmainatan fakafarat bi an‘umillahi Glorious Qur’an 16:112).
“As a result of their superfluously voracious greed, our roads became death traps. Public hospitals were worse than public mortuaries. The walls of school buildings fell while the roofs leaked. Earlier on, Nigeria’s public assets like the Nigerian Airways and the Nigerian Railway Corporation received the death sentence courtesy of rapaciously greedy political shenanigans and their avariciously gluttonous and pathologically corrupt capitalist business class.
“Surprisingly, the present administration which earned $95 billion only from oil in its three and a half years was able to perform better. Note that the Jonathan administration had realized $99 billion in 2011 alone. These are the facts that we owe Nigerian citizens as a human rights body. These are facts that can guide them rightly as they go to the polls.
“It is the sacred duty of civil society to educate the electorate with fact-laden analysis. It is the inalienable Allah-given fundamental right of MURIC to lay the facts bare without fear or favour. Besides, it is the duty of every patriotic Nigerian to search for and rely on real facts. These are verifiable facts and figures. Nigerians should not allow political demagogues to hoodwink them. We note with deep concern that those who brought the country to its knees in their 16-year rule of ruination are the most vocal because they have mastered the art of controlling the paraphanalia of false propaganda.
“Most state governments were owing salaries until the present regime came. In spite of the low income from oil at an average of $45 per barrel and the loss of 1.2 million barrels per day due to disruption by the Niger Delta Avengers, this administration was able to bail out debtor states. Retirees in the railway and airways who had been abandoned for over 15 years were paid. The monthly allowance of youth corpers was increased. The railways roared back to life in Kaduna, Abuja, Abeokuta, Ajaokuta and Itakpe-Warri axis. Lagos-Ibadan distress-way wore its old bright smile as a real express-way. Second Niger Bridge broke more than a decade old jinx.
“Nigeria overcame recession within one year. Power generation rose from under 300 megawatts to 7,000. Even Forbes could not ignore the monumental and speedy growth as it listed Nigeria as numero uno among ten other African countries which it described as biggest economies in Africa for the year 2018.
“External reserves now stand at $47 billion from a paltry $28 billion inherited from the past regime in 2015. But the icing on the cake is the fact that unlike past administrations, this regime refused to dip its hands in the external reserve to finance the 2019 general elections. Boko Haram insurgents who occupied 17 local governments in Borno State are now on the run. They now come poaching from Chad and Niger in hit and run guerilla tactics.
“What does this kind of administration deserve? How can we show our gratitude to a leader who gave us so much and took nothing in return? In a country where many public officers hide hundreds of millions of naira, and foreign currencies in multiple local and foreign accounts; in a country where 55 houses are traced to a single public official; what does a leader who has just one 3-bedroom bungalow in his home town and another house in Kaduna, a leader who has no foreign account, no private jet, etc deserve?
“We in MURIC ask Nigerians: Are you going to be like the ten lepers whom Jesus healed but only one of them came back to show gratitude (Luke 17:11 – 32)? The Glorious Qur’an says Allah will increase His blessings for us if we manifest gratitude (Qur’an 14:7). The hadith says those who fail to appreciate their fellowmen (who they see clearly and whose dividends of democracy they enjoy) will never thank the Supreme Creator (whom they do not see). How best can we express gratitude?
“We affirm that the best way that Nigerians can show their gratitude to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is by voting for him on Saturday 16th February. Contrary to the erroneous impression that groups should remain neutral, MURIC upholds the philosophy of standing up for the truth and rejecting falsehood and fence-sitting. We do not have to please politicians. The only entity we owe allegiance is Nigeria. We have a duty to hit the nail on the head in order to save our country from going back down the drain one more time after making so much progress.
“We have seen the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ on the Nigerian political landscape. The ‘good’ are on the side of integrity, transparency, probity and accountability. They are the friends of the masses and the true patriots who are developing the country’s infrastructure and touching the lives of the poor masses in various ways. The ‘bad’ are on the side of selfishness, waste, greed and corruption. They nearly ruined Nigeria. They are agents and sympathisers of the 1% over-pampered tiny cabal. The ‘ugly’ are in-between. They are the onlookers who idolize their oppressors out of ignorance. But in this battle between the good and the ugly, every onlooker is either a traitor (of his country Nigeria) or an accomplice (aiding and abetting the destruction of his country).
“As we draw the curtain, we remind Nigerians that they should not expect their own country to be fixed in three and a half years when it took Mahathir Muhammad 22 years (1981-2003) to fix Malaysia. Lee Kuan Yew spent 30 years of eight consecutive terms in office (1959-1990) to redeem Singapore. Jerry Rawlings spent 26 years (1981-2002) before he could reform Ghana and Meles Zenawi worked assiduously on Ethiopia for 12 good years (1995-2012). Nigerians must therefore vote for the sustenance of the new Nigeria whose emergence began in 2015. We must not allow the mistake of 1985 to repeat itself. We ask patriotic Nigerians to vote for integrity, infrastructure and steady growth.