“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.
The recently commissioned Adogba Central Mosque was supposed to erase and eviscerate all sorts of injustices meted out to Muslims in Governor Makinde’s first term. In fact, it was supposed to downplay and water down further attempts to label and describe the Governor as Islamophobic.
Attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Kano, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, and other eminent Muslim clerics and scholars, proponents of this assumption contended that the reconstruction of a mosque by a Christian Governor was enough to justify the Governor’s tolerance of Muslims in the state. Here goes the narrative: “He has personally built a mosque for you; so, you should rest your case and allow the Governor to concentrate on the business of governance”. See no more. Say no more.
Instead, the event has only evoked a sense of foreboding. In a way, it has only brought back memories of marginalization and deliberate efforts to deny people their rights because of their faith. We are all witnesses to the death of three Muslim lawyers who died under mysterious circumstances while waiting for the Governor’s approval as Oyo state Judges designates. The family of late Barristers Fatimah Badru, Abdulwasiu Gbadegesin, and Abdulrasaq Agoro would never forget in a hurry the harrowing and heartbreaking experiences their breadwinners endured at the hands of the Governor and his government before they died.
Until her demise, Alhaja Fatimah Adenike Badrudeen was the Chief Registrar, of the Oyo State Judiciary. You don’t become the registrar of a state Judiciary in a year or two. You must have learned through the rope, absorbing as many life lessons as possible in the process. On his part, the late Barrister Abdulwasiu Gbadegesin was the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General in the Ministry of Justice. At a time in the struggle that eventually claimed his life, he was conspiratorially transferred to the Ministry of Education by his adversaries. They frustrated his life just because he had a dream of becoming a Judge in the state. Of course, you must have survived and surmounted various career hurdles to reach the pinnacle of your profession, but with Seyi Makinde holding the green pen, he turned a blind eye and watched until the three Muslim lawyers embarked on a journey of no return. Barrister Bolaji Agoro, the last of the trio to die was the representative of the Nigeria Bar Association, Ibadan branch.
He was reported to have scored above the required 70 cut-off mark for the examination. those three lawyers died while waiting for their days of glory. They died in a matter of months. To say it was hurtful and painful would be an understatement. Professor Oyewo, former commissioner for Justice who wrote that spurious petition asking the Governor not to approve the recommendation of the NJC must be happy by now. Quite surprising that the same Governor who was sluggish, reluctant, and indifferent to the cases of those three Muslim lawyers swiftly, and quickly forwarded their replacement to the NJC.
How else do you justify religious tolerance other than that? Up till now, no explanation has been given by the government. Both the Governor and his government have kept mum on the issues. To be clear, you don’t even need to be a Muslim to feel the pain of that loss, you only need to be a human. Ultimately, who would not be pained by any blatant injustice except those who profit from it? Injustice is anywhere as Martin Luther King intoned is a threat to Justice everywhere. In essence, if justice is about giving everyone what they deserve, why did the Governor fail to forward the names of those Muslim lawyers to the NJC as outlined by the constitution? Unfortunately, for those Muslim lawyers to have died while waiting on the Governor implies shows high level of impunity, wickedness, and callousness.
Take the composition of the state executive council. From the Governor, SSG, CoS, HoS, and a host of other appointees of the Governor you will see a clear and indisputable pattern of favoritism nepotism, and cronyism. Where can double standards be more glaring? Like most politicians, he says what he did not mean and means what he did not say. Interestingly, the facts of margination are there. They are sacred and irrefutable. Neither propaganda nor populism will erase and wipe the facts from the surface of the earth. Additionally, this pattern of favoritism has found its way to virtually all the recruitment exercises carried out by the Governor. Remember the TESCOM recruitment exercise of 2020/2021, both the head and the permanent secretary of that parastatal connived with other willing hands to ensure the much-touted merit of the exercise suffered a setback to pave the way for their own nefarious and clandestine activities. Added to this is the recruitment exercise into the Civil Service Commission and a host of other secret recruitments unknown to the public.
Another instance of Governor Makinde’s religious tolerance and balance is the constitution of the governing council of the newly formed University of Education in Oyo. Five board members and only Professor Abass Adedibu is a Muslim. The rest including the Vice Chancellor are Christians. How on earth do you justify this in-your-face favoritism? Of course, the list is endless. And when the Governor boldly declared that 70 percent of votes that gave him victory in the March 18 election came from Muslims, he was only saying the obvious.
First, supporting the Muslim/Muslim ticket gave him a soft landing among influential and powerful Muslim figures in the state. Two, the division within the camps of the opposition APC was another huge factor. Then you look at the media manipulation and dominance. Plus, the use of money to buy conscience votes and loyalty. And of course, the performances of the Governor in areas of worker’s welfare, infrastructural development, and agriculture, among others helped him to win at the poll.
“Today I can tell the entire world that I got 70 percent of my reelection votes from the Muslim community in Oyo state.” Governor Makinde boosted, at the commissioning of the Adogba Central Mosque. Now, how is the Governor repaying that overwhelming support freely given to him?
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about issues affecting Oyo state and is published every Saturday. He can be reached via @muftaugbade on X, email@example.com and 09065176850.