The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the reaction of the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese, Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
The Islamic human rights group described the cardinal’s outburst as jaundiced and disappointing.
According to MURIC, John Onaiyekan had described the victory of President-Elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as ‘discredited’.
MURIC’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday March 9, 2023.
“The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese, Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has described the victory of President-Elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as ‘discredited’,” Oyetola said.
Onaiyekan was quoted as saying , “I love peace but will never endorse Tinubu’s discredited victory to pacify Nigerians.”
MURIC added, “We are miffed by Cardinal Onaiyekan’s outburst. It is jaundiced and disappointing. It is integrity-bruising. He had hitherto occupied a lofty position of veneration in Muslim circles.
“He was believed to be the epitome of moderation and the embodiment of tolerance and fairness. His figure towered above gymnastic religiosity. But he has now disappointed his Muslim admirers.
“America, Britain, China, India, African countries, and others have congratulated the winner but Onaiyekan still considers the victory ‘discredited’. It is astonishing that a man whom the Muslims used to consider the only objective Christian leader who is far from the tramadolised crowd has let them down.
“Onaiyekan should have advised opposition candidates among the winners of Senate and House of Representatives elections who trooped out to collect their return certificates on Tuesday and Wednesday to boycott the event. Or is it Tinubu’s victory alone that was ‘discredited’?
“Leaders must choose their words very carefully. Whoever wants to be judgemental must not be selective. Those who come to equity must come with clean hands. How can the election be ‘discredited’ for Tinubu as a winner but ‘credible’ for winners among members of the opposition?
“Better still, the Cardinal should have told the opposition, particularly his anointed candidate, to boycott the election ab initio. Cardinal Onaiyekan is crying over spilt milk. It is useless locking the gate after the horse has bolted. All the political parties that participated in the election are already involved.
“We do not expect a leader of Onaiyekan’s status to manifest bitterness while licking his wounds. Nigerians understand what happened. Without conducting a census based on creed, the cardinal shared the delusional belief that Christians outnumber Muslims in Nigeria. Of course, he learned the hard way.
“It was on that basis that he encouraged the brazen confrontation of the Muslim-Muslim ticket
“There is bound to be shock and aftershock after a political tsunami.
“It is our considered opinion that Cardinal Onaiyekan’s statement is designed to massage the ego of Christian leaders with all their false soothsayers. Instead of dissipating his energy on denying the reality, we actually expected Onaiyekan to identify and assemble those who misled Nigerian Christians with their false predictions and ridiculous prognostications for some home truths.
“Apart from those who foresaw victory for opposition figures, a pastor told Nigerians that there would be no election at all in 2023. He said it was God who told him. We know his name. We have the evidence. We kept quiet at the time because we knew that he was only discrediting himself.
“It was these false prophesies that filled many Nigerian Christians (not all) with false hope which eventually led to frustration. These are the people Onaiyekan should be tutoring at this stage. He should be speaking against the Christian entitlement mentality in Nigeria. He should invite those who gave false predictions for counselling on how not to lie against God.
“Jeremiah 14:14 said, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.’
“This is from the same Bible to which all Nigerians have access. Why are our prophesy-addicted pastors determined to challenge what God says in the Bible and why have Christian leaders like Cardinal Onaiyekan refused to call them to order? We did not expect the much-respected cardinal to tow the path of those suffering from intellectual poverty.
“MURIC appreciates many other Christians who are not swayed by emotions and false predictions. They are pragmatists and they know what actually happened. The Christian candidate was only acceptable in the South East, South-South and some parts of North Central.
“Besides, challenging the North over the majority status question was a fatal mistake. Junketing from one church to another while ignoring the mosque was politically naive. But the electoral suicidal statement was asking the church to ‘take back your country’.
“We are surprised that Onaiyekan left pastors who are misleading Nigerians with false predictions and started blaming the Muslim candidate whose Imams never prophesy. Or has Onaiyekan ever seen or heard of an Islamic scholar prophesying? He is idolizing fiction and demonising reality. Who did this to Nigeria?
“Instead of acknowledging Tinubu’s superior political strategy as exhibited in his choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket and instead of putting his house in order and de-escalating tension, Onaiyekan ignored the spiritual decay in Christendom to demarket a well-deserved victory won by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We are constrained to ask, et tu Onaiyekan?”