Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman
Wants code of conduct by parties against ethnic, religious campaigns
Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman, has ruled out the possibility of Nigerians being forced to embrace the Islamic religion.
Lukman, in a piece entitled, ‘Narrow Politics and Questions of Democratic Development’, also faulted the claim by members of opposition parties that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is bent on Fulanising the entire country.
The PGF boss said it was unfortunate that highly placed Nigerians in the mold of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, have become lead campaigners against what is termed the ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ agenda of the Buhari administration.
He said: “It is more worrisome when a serving governor could attempt to substantiate allegations of complicity against political leaders, especially President Buhari, with an argument about ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ agenda in the country. What do ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria mean?
“Although it is possible to convert people from other religions to Islam, could anyone who is not a Fulani be conscripted to become Fulani? Maybe it means that every Nigerian will be forced to have a Fulani tribal mark. What will be such a mark? In addition, Fulfulde may become the lingua franca of Nigeria.
“With respect to the so-called ‘Islamisation’, is it possible to force everybody in Nigeria to convert to Islam? Maybe ‘Islamisation’ means that Shari’a law will be imposed on the country. Will that be possible?”
Lamenting the spate of insecurity in the country, he said it behooves the political elites to proffer solutions to the multifaceted problems bedeviling the country, rather than resort to fanning embers of discord by wiping up ethnic and religious sentiments.
He stressed the urgent need for political parties to discourage ethnic and religious campaigns of hatred by putting in place internal codes of conduct and by-laws, beyond what is provided in their respective constitutions to check the ugly trend.
He added: “Narrow politics can misrepresent ultra-right-wing politics based on partisan colouration. The biggest danger of ultra-right-wing politics is more manifest in the host party. PDP leaders would need to understudy what became of the US Republican Party after President Donald Trump to appreciate the dangers of the so-called ‘Fulanisation’ and ‘Islamisation’ campaign of promoting ethnic and religious hatred.”
“Already, PDP is faced with enough challenges. It must not allow the seed of right-wing politics to grow within its leadership. Once that happens, its capacity to put up any strong electoral contest in the country will be eroded.”