A group of stakeholders in Lagos politics have risen in defence of Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu who has in recent days been accused of marginalizing the Muslim community in his appointments.
With the topic: “ARE MUSLIMS SHORTCHANGED IN SANWO-OLU’S CABINET LIST?,” 21 stakeholders, who described themselves as “Concerned Lagosians,” issued a strongly worded statement at the weekend saying there were “attempts by some groups of individuals, Muslim clerics and organizations to discredit the list of Cabinet nominees of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Reacting to protest march on the Lagos State Assembly over what some Muslim clerics described as Sanwo-Olu’s lopsided appointment in favour of Christians against the interest of Muslims in Lagos State, the 21 Concerned Lagosians described the Governor as a detribalised Lagosian “whose religion is humanity.”
Alleging that the clerics have resorted to “various rough tactics to malign the image of the Governor by dangerously using the media with indiscretion to paint him in the colour of what Mr Governor is not,” the group advised against deliberate attempts to accentuate religious and ethnic divide in Lagos politics.
Who Are The Concerned Lagosians?
The 21 Lagosians who signed the statement claimed to represent different group and organisational interests within Lagos State.
- Razaq Olokoba (Campaign for Dignity in Governance)
- Ramat Mohammed Abdul Rahman (Women in Islam Network)
- Nelson Ekujumi (Centre for Social and Economic Rights)
- Ajayi Popoola (Centre for Socio Economic Rights)
- Linus Okoroji (Humanity Services Project)
- Raji Rasheed Oyewunmi (Yoruba Citizen Action for Change)
- Gbenga Soloki (Campaign Against Impunity and Domestic Violence)
- Alex Omotehinse (Centre for human Rights and Socio-Econimic Rights)
- Awakulu Galadima (Women Integrity Forum)
- Ramat Abdukrazak (Women Grassroots Network)
- Ramat IYANDA (Centre for promotion of Work ethics and Values)
- Oliseh Charles (Labour Veterans)
- Princess Abidemu Dosunmu (Salamotu Dosunmu Skill Acquisition for Women and Underprivileged)
- Funso M. AbdulGafar (Islamic Unity Network)
- Akin A. Jimoh (NATIONAL Engagements and Interactive Network)
- Alesta Wilcox (Professionals in Politics)
- Peter Oparah (Patriotism Awareness Forum)
- Gbenga Omage (Lagos Progressive Youths)
- Wosilat Alarape (Justice for Women and Youth Initiative)
- Mukaila Jimoh (Centre for Conflict and Peaceful Process)
- Shola Omololu (Centre for Leadership and Democratic Ethics)
What The 21 Concerned Lagosians Are Saying – Full Text
“We, concerned Lagosians, have watched in the past few days with keen interest the unfortunate attempts by some groups of individuals, Muslim clerics and organizations to discredit the list of Cabinet nominees of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
The aforementioned interests have criticized the proposed cabinet composition, alleging marginalization of Muslims. The clerics have resorted to various rough tactics to malign the image of the Governor by dangerously using the media with indiscretion to paint him in the colour of what Mr Governor is not.
It is of note that in the true spirit of a true leader and a genuine “omoluabi”, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has displayed remarkable calmness and confidence in the face of all this provocation, knowing well that the peace, progress and prosperity of Lagos are his primary focus.
We view all the actions so far, including a protest march on the House of Assembly, as uncharacteristic of the progressive people of Lagos, whose major preoccupation is peaceful cohabitation, growth and development.
For the records, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a completely detribalised individual and a man with an open heart whose religion is humanity. He has run Lagos for over four years now without any form of discrimination whatsoever.
Specifically, the claim by these groups of persons and interests about the number of Muslims in the proposed cabinet is not correct. It has no backing in facts; nor in logic. It is all sentiments and emotions that are unworthy of all we stand for as Lagosians. We will never be proud of such potentially destructive and divisive tendencies.
The claim, obviously out of ignorance, in many media reports is that there are only 8 Muslims among the 39 nominees. This is FALSE. There are 16 Muslims on that list, which is out there for anyone to check.
For the records, of the 7 Special Advisers (non-Cabinet) recently appointed, four are Muslims and 3 are Christians.
The newly composed Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board has seven members; six of them are Muslims and one a Christian. There are three Distinguished Senators from Lagos State, all of whom are Muslims. Of our House of Representatives members, the majority are Muslims, same with the House of Assembly and the Local Government Chairmen.
The truth is that to achieve the excellence that Lagos is famous for, the government, in our view, looks out for competence. The task of running a mega city like Lagos State deserves more from the driver’s seat than religion and other divisive and destructive tendencies.
If such retrogressive seeds are sown and allowed to grow and blossom in our dear state, we will lose our vision and leadership in the comity of states.
Imagine traditional worshippers with all their special groups, such as Ifa, Ogun and Obatala adherents, also protesting that they are excluded!
We would like to appeal to all Lagosians, especially some sections of the Muslim community, who are pushing the discrimination narrative, to allow the State to continue to enjoy the peaceful coexistence of all religious groups and not sow any seed of discord among residents who only crave for service, not minding the religious affiliation of whoever renders such service.
To those who feel genuinely aggrieved (without checking the facts), we implore them to show deep understanding; that is what these times require.
We are making history everyday. Those who want to plunge our peaceful and cosmopolitan state into a religious crisis should retrace their steps. It is uncivilized and dangerous. Lagos and Lagosians will not join such an empty campaign.”
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