18th October, 2018
ET TU FAYEMI: ALL-CHRISTIAN CABINET?
The newly inaugurated governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, made his first appointments yesterday. In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the Governor named Mr Abiodun Oyebanji as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Biodun Omoleye as Chief of Staff (COS) and Mr Yinka Oyebode as Chief Press Secretary (CPS).
In its first public comments on the change of leadership in the state early on Thursday, October 18, 2018, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomed Dr. Fayemi to the prestigious position of the first citizen in Ekiti State. The group also congratulated him on his well deserved electoral victory and prayed that his tenure would bring peace and progress to the good people of the state.
However, MURIC criticized the first appointments made by the governor. In the statement signed by the director and founder of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the group wondered why no single Muslim was among the first three appointments since both the governor and his deputy are Christians.
“It is a dangerous signal considering what Muslims in the state went through under the dictator and totalitarian ruler, Ayodele Fayose who is currently rehearsing his incarceration songs in EFCC cell in Abuja. In flagrant demonstration of gymnastic religiousity and excessive hate action, Fayose demolished our mosques. He forbade the learning of Arabic language in the state. He encouraged matchet-brandishing masquerades and thugs to attack Muslim worshippers inside their mosques. The blood of Muslims flowed freely on the streets of Ekiti. Fayose’s ordeal has just started. We remember that we promised to visit him in Kirikiri. We hope to keep that promise very soon.
“Under Fayose’s administrative misadventure, the deputy governor, speaker, deputy speaker, SSG, COS, all the judges in the state, all the fourteen (14) commissioners, all the special advisers except one, all the twenty six (26) permanent secretaries, all the 14 permanent secretaries, all the board chairmen, all the chairmen and members of boards of Ekiti State University, the colleges of education and health technology as well as all the sixteen (16) local government caretaker chairmen except one were Christians. Muslims in the state who constitute no less than 35% of the total population were totally eclipsed. It had better not happen again under Fayemi.
“Yesterday’s appointments hit us pretty hard. Three straight appointments at a go and none went to a Muslim. Incidentally all three appointments are very crucial. They are personnel who must essentially stay close to the governor every hour of the day. We are becoming disillusioned.
“Et tu Fayemi! How can the Muslims start getting the same treatment they received under Fayose when they gave you massive support during the election? We know you as a moderate and tolerant Christian. Have you changed? What went wrong? We hope our fears will be addressed in the next few days and weeks as your government takes proper shape. It is only fair that Muslims are given proper representation in the appointment of commissioners, board chairmen, etc.
“It is on record that Muslims received good attention during Fayemi’s first tenure as governor of the state and we expect nothing less. Fayemi was the first governor in the whole South West to allow female Muslim students in public schools to use hijab even without any protests or legal action. That action alone gave us the impression that Fayemi is one of the few Christians in Nigeria who is ready and willing to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
“In our closing remarks, MURIC calls on the new governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to continue to promote religious tolerance. We urge him to close ranks with Muslims in the state and to show the world that he is not a religious bigot like his immediate predecessor. We remind the ruling party in Ekiti state that Muslims deserve a fair share in the political appointments to be announced in the next few weeks”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)