March 1, 2024

Representation Disparity: An Examination of the Muslim Community’s Discontent with Governor Sanwo-Olu’s Commissioner List in Lagos

The announcement of a list of commissioners by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for Lagos State sparked disappointment and disillusionment among the Muslim community.

The grievances expressed by the Muslim population in Lagos shed light on the historical context of their support for the governor, the apparent disparity in representation, and the implications of this decision on both political dynamics and the broader social fabric.

Historical Context of Muslim Support

During the electioneering period, the Muslim community in Lagos extended its wholehearted support for Governor Sanwo-Olu and other candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Their endorsement was accompanied by active campaigns and declarations of support, as demonstrated by a gathering at Ikeja.

While many non-indigenous Christians aligned with different parties, the Muslims fervently advocated for the APC, echoing their intentions to ensure a balanced representation in the state administration.

Disproportionate Representation

However, the recently revealed list of commissioners painted a contrasting picture. The Muslim community was disheartened by the significant disparity in representation, with only 8 out of 39 commissioners being Muslim, despite Muslims constituting over forty percent of the state’s population.

This disparity has raised questions about the administration’s commitment to inclusive governance and equitable representation of all religious groups within the state.

Muslim Community’s Reaction

In response to this perceived injustice, the Muslim community took action. The Joint Muslim Forum (JMF), an alliance of more than 30 Muslim organisations, convened to voice their concerns.

Muslim leaders at a conference held in Lagos

At a world press conference held in Lagos, Imam Abdul Rahman Ahmad, the Convener of JMF and National Missioner of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, expressed deep dissatisfaction with the apparent bias in the commissioner list.

The Muslim leaders stressed that the lopsided representation underscored traits of oppression, insensitivity, and unfairness.

Implications for Political Dynamics

The disproportionate representation of Muslims in the commissioner list has the potential to alter the political landscape in Lagos. The strong Muslim support that was pivotal in securing the APC’s victory now hangs in the balance.

The disillusionment arising from this disparity may lead to a loss of faith in the party and its leadership among Muslims.

This, in turn, could weaken the political backing that the APC enjoyed from this significant demographic.

Questions Arising

The question of competence also emerges from this controversy. The Muslim community wonders whether there were no capable individuals among them suitable for commissioner positions.

The selection criteria and modalities employed by the administration for commissioner appointments come under scrutiny, questioning whether there exists an impartial and transparent process that values diversity.

A Call for Rectification

The Muslim community’s dissatisfaction is a call to action for Governor Sanwo-Olu and his administration. It is within their power to rectify the perceived injustice by revisiting the list and making necessary adjustments to ensure a more balanced representation.

The current situation not only perpetuates a sense of betrayal but also undermines the trust between the Muslim population and the administration.

Conclusion

The commissioner list presented by Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration has ignited a wave of disappointment and frustration within the Muslim community in Lagos.

Their historical support, coupled with the stark contrast in representation, has exposed a discord between promises and actions.

The impact of this decision reverberates beyond mere politics, potentially altering the dynamics of faith-based political support and governance within the state.

A recalibration of this list is not just a matter of equitable representation but also a restoration of trust and unity within the diverse Lagos community.

Akeem Alao is a Lagos-based freelance journalist and language instructor.

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