MURIC: Aregbesola’s Victory, Pregnant With Lessons (Full Text Of Press Release)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, winner of the Osun 2014 gubernatorial election held on Saturday, 9th August, 2014, having scored 394,684 votes. He defeated his main opponent, Senator Iyiola Omisore of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 292, 747 votes. With this official outcome, Aregbesola has won a second term in office as governor of the State of Osun. Ceteris paribus, Aregbesola will rule the state for the next four years (2014 – 2018).
 
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulates Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for this resounding victory. He has exhibited high level of faith in the Supreme Creator and, like Daud (David, peace be upon him) in front of Jalut (Goliath), he manifested unusual bravery in the face of state-sponsored political terrorism. We salute INEC for its meticulousness, impartiality and high level professionalism. We also felicitate with the good people of Osun who stood resolutely by the side of truth even in the face of invasion a la Mussolini.
 
Ogbeni’s victory is pregnant with lessons. There are lessons here for Nigerian politicians, for the Nigerian citizens, for the press, for the practitioners of social media, for the adherents of Christianity and Islam, for the security agents and for the victims of fascism.  
 
The outcome of this election has shown Nigerian politicians that one good term deserves another. Ogbeni’s 20,000 jobs within his first 100 days, free lunch and free uniforms for school children, N10,000 monthly for senior citizens in the state, his new school buildings, his macadam roads, his O’Yes programmes, etc were too much to be ignored.
 
These achievements opened the eyes of the Osun electorate. It raised their political awareness. They could separate the wheat from the chaff, the down-to-earth politician from the hypocrites and parasites, the grassroot politicians from the political shenanigans and the men-of-the-people from the capitalist comprador bourgeoisie.
 
For the citizens of Osun, Ogbeni’s victory has vindicated their resolve. They have learnt that it is better to be dead men and women in the graveyard than living like puppets and slaves. Whereas the flooding of the state was designed to cow them, they refused to be intimidated. If the Gestapo’s tactics of coercion had succeeded, thousands of Ogbeni’s supporters would have preferred to stay indoors on election day for fear of being assaulted, arrested or killed while the supporters of Ogbeni’s main opponent would have flooded the polling booths to clinch undeserved victory.
 
MURIC therefore gives kudos to the people of Osun, not only did they troop out in large numbers to cast their votes for their beloved candidate, they waited after voting to protect their votes and they refused to leave until after the votes had been counted. They are the true heroes and heroines of Nigeria’s democracy.
 
In spite of the hostile attitude of some enemies of democracy towards journalists as exemplified by the brutalization of two journalists of Television Continental (TVC), members of the press continued to do their duties until truth prevailed. The lesson for social media practitioners can be seen in their role as the invisible bulwark against election rigging. Election results tweeted and posted on Facebook dwarfed Jalut (Goliath) and rendered any attempt to alter figures ridiculous and infantile. The role of social media in Osun 2014, facilitated by developments in information technology, tends to prove that the days of election rigging are over in Nigeria.
 
In the same vein, the victims of totalitarian dictatorship must accept their ordeal as the price they had to pay for democracy, for free speech and for the liberty of the Nigerian person. They must see Aregbesola’s victory as the triumph of powerless conscience over conscienceless power.
 
For the apostles of primordial religious sentiment who always advocate for the retention of political office for either a Christian or Muslim candidate, Ogbeni’s victory is a monumental lesson. Abdul Rauf Aregbesola has never hidden his identity as a committed Muslim but he has accorded due recognition to Christianity and traditional religion. As a Muslim leader, he has shown Nigerians that it is not the leader’s religion that matters, it is the values which he pursues in office. Therefore Nigerians must no longer allow themselves to be misled by those who canvass for candidates or those who campaign against them on the basis of religion. MURIC advises Nigerians to either cast their votes for patriotic, altruistic and Christ-like Christians or knowledgeable and practicing Muslims.  
 
Finally, MURIC rejects President Jonathan’s excuse for flooding the State of Osun with security agents simply because of the need to maintain law and order. We assert that this excuse is an afterthought. We cannot accept the Commander-in-Chief’s explanation because he has failed to explain why some of the soldiers wore masks. From all indications, Osun 2014 was designed to be a fait accompli.
 
Neither has the president commented on the massive arrest of members of the opposition on the eve of election, particularly the spokesman of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed. That is a crime against democracy. It is an assault on the liberty-loving people of Osun. It is an attempted civilian coup. The president is offering the excuse now because the coup apparently failed woefully. It should never be repeated again.
 
Another reason for rejecting President Jonathan’s explanation is that, except to the mischievous, the undiscerning and the blind, Mr. President comes across as reactionary and undemocratic in disposition. Two out of many examples will suffice for now: his recognition of Governor Jonah Jang who scored 16 votes against 19 scored by Governor Rotimi Amechi in the Governors’ Forum election about one year ago. Secondly, whereas Muslim leaders met President Jonathan to complain about the lopsidedness in the composition of the National Conference whose membership tilted strongly towards Christians and he promised to review the situation, Mr. President has failed to keep the promise of review to this day.
 
We assert that true democrats respect numerical superiority. Neither do they change the simple principles of mathematics. Leaders who walk their talk earn respect, others demand it. Nigerians must therefore replicate the Osun model as we approach 2015. What we need is not religion. It is a God-fearing man from any religion. What we need is good governance.
 
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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