The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described as ‘abracadabra’ the position of Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on the hijab crisis in the state.
MURIC’s reaction was made known in a statement issued on Saturday, by its Director and Founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
It said it was surprising that Makinde who gave positive signals to the hijab controversy in his state last week has made a U-turn.
MURIC told the governor that Muslims will speak to him in the language he understands using the slogan ‘No hijab, No vote’.
The group said: “Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has turned 360 degrees after initially making a positive statement on the use of hijab in all public schools. Earlier in the week, the governor was quoted as saying, ‘I have instructed those in positions of authority in the state’s public service and across all our public schools not to intimidate or harass anyone because of their religious beliefs or practices.
“But in his latest pronouncement, the governor has restricted the approval of hijab to Muslim schools only. Makinde ate his words when he said, ‘In Christian named/faith-based public schools, the student’s uniform should be in line with established tradition of the school and Christian religion.’
“The governor only stopped short of adding, ‘school authorities in Christian schools are now free to intimidate and harass Muslim girls who wear hijab’ but those authorities understand the governor’s body language.
“Makinde’s u-turn is hijab abracadabra and Muslims in the state will speak to him in the language he understands. Our response is a simple slogan: ‘No hijab, No vote’. Makinde may succeed in forcing the horse to the water but he cannot force it to drink. Let him ask those dictating to him behind our back to come and vote for him.
“Oyo State under Makinde is a cornucopia, in a never ending dazzling kaleidoscope. In Greek mythology, cornucopia is a horn containing various things. The governor himself is a bundle of contradictions: democratic and reactionary, liberal and dictatorial, consistently inconsistent, leaning heavily to the right but simultaneously putting his whole weight on the left. Nobody can place Makinde.
“Makinde’s policy somersault is commonsensically nonsensical. We urge all Islamic organisations to mobilise their members for the election period. Oyo State Muslims have a date with destiny in 2023. That is the date they will take their destiny in their hands. They must decide whether to remain slaves or become masters of their own destiny. They must decide whether to free their mothers, sisters and daughters from constant humiliation, intimidation and coercion or to leave them in perpetual oppression, tyranny and persecution.
“Oyo State Muslims must take the message of liberty to the villages and hamlets. The hills of Moniya and the valleys of Akanran must echo our slogan. ‘No Hijab, No Vote’ must reverberate on Mapo Hill. Muslim women in Oyo-Ile, Oke Ogun, Ogbomosho, etc, must breathe the air of liberty. Enough is enough. We are leaving Babylon.
“Muslims who have voters’ cards must dust them up. They should check them now and ensure they remember where their voters’ cards are kept before the day of election. Those who have no cards should quickly set the machinery in motion to collect their PVC. Your vote is your weapon. Your vote is your power. Your vote will liberate you from the tyranny of your oppressors.
“What are we saying and what is Seyi Makinde telling us? Our children are enslaved in Christian captivity and Makinde is there double-speaking. Who is he deceiving? Who owns the schools, the so-called ‘Christian named/faith-based public schools’?
“Who is paying the teachers’ salaries? Who is funding the schools? Is it not the state government? Who put the state government there? Is it not the people, the citizens, the electorate? Who are the electorate? Are they not the Christians and the Muslims together? Where does the state government get the money to fund the schools? Is it not from the people’s tax?
“Seyi Makinde must tell us if Muslims of Oyo State are not paying tax. He must tell us if it is only Christians in the state who are taxpayers. It is the height of injustice to prohibit the use of hijab in the so-called ‘Christian named/faith-based public schools’. Those schools belong to all of us. The government acquired them long ago and compensated the missionaries. They are part of our common patrimony. They are nothing but public schools.
“Our daughters who are in those schools must not be robbed of their identity. Hijab is their identity. It is when they are allowed to use their hijab in those schools that there is real tolerance if Makinde truly believes in religious tolerance. The implication of Makinde’s compromising u-turn is that Muslim children who remain in such ‘Christian’ schools have no access to freedom of religion while inside the schools.
“In short, they are not Muslims while in the ‘Christian’ schools. That is absolute bunkum. It is unacceptable. Makinde has a choice: allow Muslims to use hijab in all schools or divide schools in the state into two : one for Muslims and the other for Christians.
“This will mean that Christian students will be transferred to Christian designated schools and vice versa. It is not our wish. It is Seyi Makinde’s choice. He has already built a strong wall of demarcation between Christians and Muslims. That is Makinde’s way of creating unity and harmony: ‘To your camps Oh Israel’.
“Makinde’s claim that ‘Our government is god-fearing and we will continue to preach religious tolerance, equality and justice, which will further engender peaceful coexistence, love and togetherness’ is sheer rhetoric. Makinde is just playing to the gallery.
“Where is religious tolerance when the hijab worn by little girls cannot be tolerated? Where is equality when Christian students wear Christian uniform but Muslim students are not allowed to use Muslim uniform? Where is justice when Muslim students are forced to wear Christian uniform? How can there be peaceful coexistence where one group is treated with scorn? Can there be love in deprivation? Or togetherness in exclusivism? Wonders will never end in Makinde’s Animal Farm.
Seyi Makinde is over-pampering Christians in the state at the expense of their Muslim counterparts. It is therefore hypocritical of him to talk about forging unity and harmony in his state. The Christians are living fat on the Muslims while Makinde throws the Muslims to the ground with his policy make-belief and places his heavy knees on their necks. Like George Floyd, Oyo State Muslims are screaming: ‘We can’t breathe.’ But Makinde is not worried. Nero is dancing while Rome is burning.”
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