In his first major pronouncement months after narrowly escaping an apparent attempt on his life, outspoken Islamic cleric Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi described the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election as a great tragedy.
He added that the move cost Muslims from the northern and southern parts of Nigeria an opportunity to build an alliance and transform Nigeria. A few months ago, Mr. Gumi was unhurt in a botched attack by suspected bombers who used motorbikes in Kaduna State.
Sheik Gumi’s latest message, which is being circulated through social network media, described the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election as a tragedy and big setback for Nigerian Muslims. MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) had handily won the election before former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida barred the electoral commission from officially releasing the results.
Mr. Gumi’s message stated that “The annulment of June 12th 1993 presidential elections was a tragedy and a strategic blunder. We are still suffering from its consequence to this day. Since the architects of Nigerian politics then don’t have any strategy or plan far beyond personal interest, this great opportunity was lost.
“This is the blunt truth. Abiola, a Yoruba southern Muslim, would have united the northern and southern Muslims that form the bulk of Nigerian electorate, which would have given the Muslims a clear majority always. Had the case been the reverse in favor of the Christians, no Muslim would ever smell Aso Rock as the president.
“But because of our division and discord, we lost this privilege for nothing. [The late] Basorun M. K. O. Abiola told us that the late Sheik Abubakar Gumi was the one that initiated him to seek for the presidential position so as to unite the Ummah. He also said [Sheik Abubakar Gumi] initiated him to seek for the establishment of the sharia courts in the southern states.
“Today none of these materialized.” The cleric’s statement continued: “Abiola contested against Bashir Tofa, a Kano businessman, and won. When he was denied, ultimately a Christian Shonekan was installed – so what has been achieved? Later also a Christian Obasanjo was installed, and that was when the woes of the Muslims started.
“Obasanjo is a born-again Christian bent on revenge on the innocent.” Mr. Gumi added: “Sometime in 2004, a Yoruba gentleman came to see me in Nigeria together with a minister from Aso Rock. He introduced himself to me as a Muslim but in the security side of Obasanjo’s men.
“His complaint was that, the president [was] not happy with what I say. I told him that, my grudge is the bare marginalization of the Muslims in his government and armed forces. I asked the gentleman, you are [a] Yoruba Muslim and you are privileged to be close to the president but tell me of another Yoruba Muslim highly placed in his government? He never answered me. So brothers and sisters, we Muslims in Nigeria have a duty we will be charged before Allah on the Day of reckoning.
“We should unite and lead people out of the darkness to light and out of injustice to justice. We are not to use our strength to emasculate others, never. They have their rights, but as Muslims that know right from wrong, we should lead the nation to prosperity, peace and tranquility. May Allah unite us all.”