As the 2019 general elections approach, Muslims of Igbo extraction have been urged to fully participate in the national event by joining political parties and contesting any positions of choice.

They have also been warned against politicians who have never taken care of their welfare at the federal levels, as well as in their respective states and wards.

A socio-cultural Igbo group, South Eastern Muslims Organization of Nigeria (SEMON) handed on the warning on Tuesday in a statement signed by its National Chairman and National secretary, Muhammad O. Ajah and Abdurrahman Nwabueze Urama, respectively.

They said the executives of the group met in Abuja to review the political development in Nigeria ahead of 2019, noting that although the Igbo Muslims are intentionally neglected by their representatives, including the governors and national assembly members after every general elections, but that should not discourage the Muslims from exercising their franchise in the forthcoming elections.

Ajah and Urama charged the Igbo Muslims to get involved in all the election processes by being card-carrying members of political parties, permanent voters’ card owners and their mandate protectors by not selling out for inducement.
They commended the efforts of all the Igbo Muslims who purchased forms to contest positions of interest but were screened out.

According to the group, a lot of Igbo Muslims are interested in contesting political positions in their respective states but two things are always their problems: the lack of funds to purchase forms and carryout all the electioneering processes and the perpetual fear of wasting their scarce resources only to be disqualified during the screening process on religious grounds.

They recalled with utmost dismay that after elections, the only compensation given to the Igbo Muslims is the state Muslim pilgrims’ welfare boards where other resident Muslims in their states join in the fight for the only position.

“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. 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?

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.”

“The Muslim political class should not be complacent with their placements and forget the political alienation of their brethren in the Southeast. Most of them visit their counterparts in the Southeast or they meet in Abuja.

While the Christians are much more conscious of developing the political status of their people in the north, Muslims are either silent or even participate in the political iniquity mated against Igbo Muslims. This is a wakeup call on the Muslims as the 2019 political dispensation gear up.”

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