Ahead of 2019 general election, an Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dhikrullah Sha’afi has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to strengthen voters’ education to minimise incidences of the wrong choice of candidates.
This is just as The Muslim Congress (TMC) unveil plans to establish a TMC Youth Development Centre in Lagos State to lay solid Islamic foundation for young Muslims across the country.
Sha’afi made the call the Annual State Lecture organised by the Lagos State chapter of The Muslims Congress, at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium.
According to the scholar, strong voters’ education is necessary to enable market women and other common people get acquainted with how to vote correctly for candidates of their choice.
“INEC should organise more voter education among the market women, aged persons and physically impaired people on how to cast votes and where to thumbprint.
“ INEC should try to make amend in areas where there are lapses in the various stages of the electoral process,’’ the Sha’afi, who is the Grand Mufti of the Conference of Muslim Organisations said.
He traced the political development in Nigeria to the colonial era when some young Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religious lining, came together to ask for independent Nigeria.
“They united to fight for the independence that we are all enjoying today.
“But when a problem arises from the struggle for political power among various groups, there arose crisis leading to the destruction of lives and property.
“But Allah has helped us to reach where we are today.
“As we know, democracy is what is being practised in Nigeria. On the issue of democracy, there are divergent of opinions by many scholars.
“ There are Islamic scholars who accepted the practice of democracy and there are those who condemn it and both have their respective pieces of evidence.
“We align with scholars who hold the opinions that Muslims can practice democracy. So, for us, there is no question of whether we should participate in politics or not. The Muslims can participate.
“Islamic scholars must let the people know their stand on the political issue.
“Secondly, Nigeria has a body for the conduct of election INEC,’’ Sha’afi said.
He commended the uprightness of some Muslims, who have been given the opportunity to head various public office trusts.
The scholar, specifically mentioned Prof. Attahiru Jega and Prof Ishaq Oloyede, for their exemplary performance as the head of INEC and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) respectively.
For a successful 2019 election, he urged INEC to ensure that persons of high integrity are put in charge of various stages of the electoral process.
“After that, the next are the contestants into various political offices.
“All contestant, irrespective of religious affiliation, must fear God by playing the politics according to the laid down rules.
“Don’t bend the rules, don’t encourage under-age voting. Especially, if you are Muslim, don’t circumvent the electoral laws because you want to win at all cost.
The Islamic scholar also cautioned the electorates to be very careful.
“Don’t engage in vote buying. Know that as you are casting your vote, you are making the covenant with God that the person you are voting will not betray the trust of the electoral mandate.
Speaking earlier, the National President of TMC, Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, said that as an organisation committed to the goal of nation-building, TMC was remained resolute in its quest to bring new lease of life to the common people through various life-changing programmes.
AbdurRaheem, who was represented by the Head of the organisation in Lagos State, Alhaji Mikail Animashaun, said the key focus of such programmes were on social welfare and spiritual development.
Such programmes range from the weekly “Ona-Ola” Islamic radio programme, prison project and other charity activities.
TMC Youth Development Centre
Earlier, one of the leading figures in the fold of TMC, Associate-Professor Tajudeen Yusuf, sensitised the gathering on the need rally round the Congress for the realisation of the proposed N241 million TMC Youth Development Centre (TMC YDC) to be located at Badary area of Lagos State.
Tajudeen said that the initiative to establish the centre stem from the vision of the Congress to cater for the development and nurturing children of members with the aim of raising them within the precinct Islamic environment.
He called for the generous donation towards the success of the life-changing project.
By Oluwashina Iyanda