As Nigerians prepare to vote in the general elections on 16th February, 2019 and 2nd March, 2019, an Islamic human rights organization has appealed to Nigerians to go out and vote massively on election days.
In a statement issued on Monday 11th February, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) appealed to Nigerians not to adopt a lukewarm attitude towards the forthcoming general elections. The statement was signed by the founder and director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
MURIC added, "We must not be lackadaisical about this election because it is a watershed in the history of our nation. For the first time in a very long period, Nigerians have the opportunity to choose between sentiment and objectivity and between reality and sheer mirage.
"We have a lifetime opportunity to choose between motion without movement and progressive motion. This is the time to decide whether to return to the regime of rapaciously voracious kleptomaniacs who gave us darkness and bad roads, those who killed our old railway, national air carrier, Dunlop, Michellin, etc, or to march forward with those who have improved our electricity, repaired our roads, built new Macadam roads, brought back the good old days of rail transport system, paid retirees and did much more.
"MURIC will not hide the truth from Nigerians because we are very much concerned. We cannot keep quiet because we are significant stakeholders. The next few days will determine whether the Nigerian masses who are under severe economic oppression and acute poverty will be set free. These are men and women who are at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid in this country today. There is an urgent need to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor and only a regime which is committed to the development of critical infrastructure can do that.
"We must vote our conscience. What we are advocating is massive turnout at the polling booths. Nigerians of all persuasions: Christians, Muslims, traditionalists must go to the polls. Nigerians of all tribes must do the same. Poverty knows no religion. Disease knows no creed. Hunger knows no tribe. Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Itsekiri, etc, Muslims, Christians and traditionalists have all been trapped for hours on the bad roads for the past sixteen (16) years. All of us have been enjoying it now that they are being repaired regardless of where we belong. The new trains will not turn back anyone because he is a Muslim or a Christian.
"The sacrifice which we must make on those voting days are not for us per se, it is for our children, our grand children and our great grand-children. Let us stand there in the sun or in the rain as the case may be on that day knowing fully well that it is the day of sowing so that we can reap in future. The smooth roads, the tube, the underground rails, the trollies, the trams, the fantastic engineering network of overhead bridges which advanced countries enjoy today did not just get there by wishful thinking. The citizens worked consciously for it and made sacrifices. They also made sure that they did not elect thieves. They picked people of integrity. It is now our turn.
"Unless we do the needful, our children are going to ask us what we did when we saw things were deteriorating in this country. Why did you allow Nigeria to become this rotten? Why did you surrender our country to political shenanigans? Why can't we enjoy electricity like other countries?
"We heard that you restarted the railways and they worked in 2019, where are they now? We heard that the second Niger Bridge was more than half completed in 2019, who stopped it? We heard that an ultramodern cancer machine was installed in the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in 2019, what happened to that machine? Why are Nigerians still travelling outside the country to cure cancer? Why is cancer still killing Nigerians? Why is our generation wasted away?
"MURIC reminds Nigerians that 2019 election is not about religion or ethnicity. We must vote for those who will make our country great by improving infrastructure, raising the standard of living, paying workers regularly, plugging leaking holes and promoting transparency, probity and accountability.
"We urge young Nigerians to eschew violence in all its ramifications before, during and after the elections. Those who hire thugs will continue to live after the election whereas many of those who allow themselves to be used may die in the process. Our youths must therefore avoid violent acts like ballot-snatching and the kidnapping of opposition candidates.
"As a parting shot, MURIC appeals to Nigerian voters: don't sell your vote. It is your power. It is your right to choose the direction you want your country to go. It is your conscience and your conscience is your essence. The man dies in him who puts his conscience on sale. We appeal to candidates of various categories in the 2019 general elections to be valiant in contest, humble in victory and magnanimous in defeat. It must be Nigeria first.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)