By:Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Does the change of guard in Nigeria ends the persecution of prominent religious leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky?
The question is being asked by most of the 213 million Nigerian people, especially by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) which represents a growing population of presently 14 million Shi’a Muslims.
The elections that propelled to the presidency Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who replaces the controversial two 4-year term rule of Muhamadu Buhari, has fresh brought fresh hopes to Africa’s oil-rich but practically poor most populated country.
Muslims account for 55 percent of the national population followed by the nearly 40 percent Christians and the five percent animists.
Though the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday declared Tinubu as winner following a vote Saturday to choose a successor to President Buhari, the opposition has called for fresh voting, claiming manipulation of votes.
Julius Abure, the Labor Party (LP) Chairman, along with former vice president Abubakr Atiku, has alleged rigging of votes, but such claims are considered normal in Third World countries and intended to stir up a section of supporters as a means of getting concessions from the winner.
Provisional results announced by the INEC from 19 of Nigeria’s 36 states put Tinubu in the lead, well ahead of other candidates, which means the president-elect will eventually be installed as the new legitimately elected head of state.
Tinubu, who has been heralded as the “father of modern Lagos”, the country’s main port and business hub, is expected to focus on reviving the economy.
It, however, remains to be seen how he handles political affairs in view of the mess created by the outgoing president who was closely aligned to both Saudi Arabia and Israel.
As a result, Buhari could not, or did not, take appropriate measures against the terrorism of the takfiri Boko Haram outfit, while he openly discriminated against millions of Nigerian Muslims who follow the Jurisprudential School of the Prophet of Islam’s Blessed Ahl al-Bayt.
He earned notoriety for his mistreatment of IMN leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, several of whose sons were killed by the Nigerian army, which used to regularly attack the peaceful rallies of Shi’a Muslims observing their rituals and calling for restoration of their birthrights.
It is hoped that Bola Ahmed Tinubu will end the discrimination and guarantee the democratic rights of all sections of the Nigerian society, irrespective of their political ideologies and religious beliefs.