Barely one week after the council of Middle Belt Bishops called on business tycoon, Moses Ayom to contest in the 2023 presidential election, the league of Imams in the north central states yesterday in Abuja, threw its weight behind the Benue-born industrialist.
The league had in its fold, Imam Idris Musa from Makurdi, Benue State, Danladi Ibrahim (Niger), Imam Yakubu Musa (Katsina), Imam Abubakar Musa (Plateau), Imam Idris Musa (Benue), Imam Aliyu Rabiu Lawal (Nasarawa), Imam Ahmad Abdullah (Benue), Imam Muhammed Salisu (Niger), Mallam Mai Umar (Borno) amongst others.
Presenting the league’s request, the leader, Imam Idris Musa, argued that it was time the north central region took a shot at the nation’s highest political office.
“We have come to deliver a message of solidarity and goodwill to you our very own brother, Mr Moses Ayom and to urge you to answer the call of duty loudly proclaimed by the people of the Middlebelt across political and faith lines,” the league said.
The group maintained that Mr Ayom’s presidential candidacy is one of unity, adding that “at a very critical time like this, Nigeria requires a president who shall be trusted by its diverse people.
“We in the Middlebelt have remained the melting pot of the entire country with over 200 ethnic nationalities and diverse religious orientations living peacefully.
“The Middlebelt is a mini-Nigeria. We are excited about the news of your acceptability everywhere and we have no choice but to throw our weight as Muslim leaders behind this great project to make you the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”
Musa said it is not true that Muslims will not support a Christian candidate in the next general elections. He declared: “The impression being given that Muslims only support their fellow Muslims is false. In 1999, Muslims overwhelmingly supported former president Olusegun Obasanjo despite his rejection by his own people to become President.
“In 2011 we supported President Goodluck Jonathan against Muslim candidates. We see no reason why we cannot back you now. Our religion is founded on the principles of Justice and peace. Our great sage Shehu Usman Dan Fodiyo once said ‘a people can endure unbelief but no nation can survive without Justice’.
“We therefore wish to use this visit to call on you to throw your heart in the ring to run for the Presidency of Nigeria in any party of your choice as a candidate for unity and Justice. There is a North and South because there is a Middle between them.
“It is now time for that middle to also feel a sense of belonging to the larger body. We noted with happiness the position of our brother Christian Clergy which visited you last week. We read in the papers with excitement the points they succinctly made for your candidacy.
“We align ourselves with their sentiments and pray that you succumb to our call for you to lend your youth, your energy, your experience and your compassion to help heal the current challenges facing our country. We believe whoever will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari must be as upright, honest and patriotic as him. We see these qualities in you.”
In his response, Ayom expressed his gratitude to the religious leaders for finding him worthy for the exulted position and assured that he would consult widely before taking a decision.
“The challenges that face our country today affect everybody, whether rich or poor, Christian or Muslim, North, south or middle belt. What we therefore require is a person with demonstrable capacity to steady the ship and re-inspire confidence and trust from the people. Our great leader, President Muhammadu Buhari has laid a solid foundation despite distractions and his successor must consolidate on the giant strides he has achieved,” Ayom said.