Shi’ites Move to Crush Buhari, Mobilise for Massive Protest Votes

Supporters of the 66 years old Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), better known as the Shi’ites, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, are currently mobilising to vote out President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for still holding their leader in captivity.

The Shi’ites claimed that though they were not in alliance with any political party, they were going to massively vote in this coming Saturday’s presidential election to oust President Buhari for allegedly meting out inhuman abuses and brutal massacre to them.

El-Zakzaky is however, a native of Zaria, Kaduna State. He was inspired by the 1979 Iranian Revolution that he travelled to Iran to become a Shia cleric and import the second largest branch of Islam into Nigeria, racking up an impressive amount of followers in the 1990s in a country that is dominated by Sunni Muslims.

This spiritual leader of the IMN is believed to be committed to the goal of applying a more rigorous application of the Islamic legal and administrative systems to Nigeria  and ultimately turn it fully into an Islamic state.

It seems his political ideal has remained turning Nigeria into an Islamic Republic based on the Iranian model. This could explained why he was one of the main opposition against the application of Sharia Law in certain states in the North, as he believes its total application is impossible if the system of government is not fully Islamic, devoid of any other religion.

El-Zakzaky never attended a formal primary school with his early education taking place at the Provincial Arabic School, Zaria (1969-1970), the School for Arabic Studies, Kano (1971-1976) before he obtained a first class degree in Economics at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria (1976-1979), a degree that was denied him due to his Islamic activities.

With his seeming unpopular agenda for the Nigerian state, El-Zakzaky has always been an adversary of the government, both military and democratic. He has spent around 12 to 13 years in total behind bars due to his uncompromising agenda with the most common offence being sedition or inciting disaffection.

He was jailed two different times by the military dictatorship of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, for famously declaring, there is no government except that of Islam. El-Zakzaky’s advocacy for an Islamic Republic has invited personal tragedy into his life, most of it wrought by the Nigerian Army.

S.I Ahmad in a statement declared that supporters of Sheikh Zakzaky Political Forum, a movement, believes that free and fair election makes a fundamental contribution to any government that is considered to be democratic.

El- Zakzaky and his wife, are being accused by the Kaduna State Government under APC of leading an alleged outlawed organisation, illegal possession of firearms. The couple have remained in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since December 2015 following a clash between the IMN and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Prior to the 2015 Zaria massacre, according to the movement, ‘’only few supporters of Sheikh Zakzaky used to vote because it was clear to any discerning Nigerian that elections in Nigeria were hitherto characterised by massive rigging in favour of the incumbent.

‘’The voting season has come again. It is imminent now that supporters of Sheikh Zakzaky are going to massively vote in order to oust the incumbent that meted out to us the most inhuman abuses and brutal massacre ever in the history of Nigeria. Those that think they can clamp on our rights as Nigerians will clearly see if we have political relevance in our country or not. The teeming number of Sheikh Zakzaky’s followers is obvious.

‘’No Government created Shia agents have up to 500 sincere followers but the followers of his eminence, Shaikh Zakzaky(H) are no fewer than twenty million. Throughout Nigeria and in Kaduna State, we are going to firmly support those that care about us and the society as a whole . Clearly, perpetrators of Zaria Massacre will understand the implication of killing innocent Nigerians.

‘’Our leader His Eminence Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky had touched a great number of lives of the Muslim and Christian intellectuals in Nigeria, across ethnic and tribal divides. He played the fatherly role of protecting our Christian brothers and sisters during the post-election violence in 2011, perpetrated by the Supporters of the then opposition flag bearer, General Muhammadu Buhari.

‘’The postponement of last Saturday’s Election is a clear sign of the ill-intention of the Buhari Administration and no amount of treachery and planned rigging would bring back this spineless and confused government. This election postponement has affected many Nigerians negatively, as so many of them travelled far distances in order to exercise their civic right, and many businesses had closed down in anticipation of the election thereby, losing a lot of resources to this ill-intended postponement.

‘’We urge all Nigerians to be peaceful, shun violence and come out to discharge their constitutional right. This should be an opportunity for Nigerians to gather additional momentum, to emulate the spirit of hope, tolerance and devotion. For three years, brothers and sisters of the Islamic movement have been protesting peacefully without giving up. Dear Nigerians don’t give up, stand for your rights.’’

Meanwhile, following the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D., he was succeeded by Abu Bakr, the prophet’s close companion and father-in-law. He ruled for a very short time before Umartook over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Uthman was the next leader, followed byAli ibn Abi Talib,.

It was during his rule that there was a dispute over the successor. This was championed by the Muslim governor of Syria, Muʿāwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān who was also a critic of the prophet. He argued that people should have been allowed to vote for their next leader after the prophet’s death instead of a small group imposing a successor on the followers. Hence, his problem with Ali who became ruler simply because he was related to the prophet by blood.

The antagonism between Alī and Muʿāwiyah eventually led to a major conflict called the Battle of Ṣiffīn. Following the war, Muʿāwiyah’s camp broke again and became known as theKhārijites. Alī was later murdered by a Khārijite in 661 after ruling for five years.

Upon Ali’s death, Muʿāwiyah became the generally acknowledged leader. During his reign, Ali’s son Ḥasan tried to contest for leadership but it was unsuccessful. Following his failed attempt, his brother was invited to meet the Muslims of Al-Kūfah in Iraq, Alī’s former headquarters, in order to bid for leadership. He was killed near the town of Karbalāʾ (the Battle of Karbalāʾ), which is now a pilgrimage destination in central Iraq for Shīʿites.

The unjust killings of Ali and his son, al-Ḥusayn, gave him more recognition among Muslims and later led to the emergence of supporters of Ali and his blood descendants, who believe that Ali (who is the only successor related to the prophet by blood) should have been the first Muslim leader after the prophet.

This group became known as the Shiite sect. The name comes from the word ‘Shiism’ which originates from Shiat Ali, which translates as ‘Ali’s supporters’ or ‘Ali’s partisans’. Reportedly, Shiites now make for roughly one-tenth of the Muslim population worldwide. They can be found in Iran, Iraq,  Saudi Arabia, Syria, South Asia, and even .


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