An Islamic organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has absolved two religious leaders – Shaykh Ahmed Gumi and Reverend Mathew Kukah – of any blame over their involvement in the reconciliation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The reconciliation came some hours after the emergence of Atiku as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, giving the impression that the reconciliation was political.
The presence of the two religious leaders during the reconciliation has been considered to be wrong by some critics who accused them of being partisan.
But reacting to the development, MURIC, according to its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said there was nothing wrong in the actions of the religious leaders.
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He said Gumi and Kukah, like any other persons, had every right to attend any occasion so long as they did not gatecrash.
He said they even had the right to show interest in the presidential candidacy of Atiku as some had claimed.
He reasoned that being religious did not mean they should not participate in politics.
“We in MURIC do not subscribe to the idea that people should jettison politics because of religion. People who avoid politics because they are devout Christians or Muslims end up being ruled by the disciples of Shaytan (Satan) who lack the fear of Allah.
“For social harmony, progress and good governance, religion and politics should go hand in hand. Tyranny, misrule and dictatorship of the left are bound to reign supreme where politics is left to men who do not fear Allah,” he said.
While encouraging religious individuals to participate in politics, he said the two leaders should not be blamed for the actions
“We therefore urge Nigerians to stop the blame game. Both Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah have merely exercised their Allah-given fundamental right of expression and freedom of association. It is a challenge to the rest of us.
“Although both dramatis personae have denied any political motive, the issue here is not whether the move was political or apolitical. The body language, particularly if we read it from the pre-Abeokuta detente is as clear as daylight,” he added.