Prof. Ishaq Akintola
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has expressed displeasure as the Lagos State Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixed its meeting inside a church in Ikeja, Lagos State.
The MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, lamented that the Lagos headquarters of INEC has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, Dec. 8, and the organisers picked Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, as the venue of the meeting, which is to be attended by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje.
Akintola said in a statement: "This is very disappointing. How can an electoral body of INEC status pick a religious house of worship as venue for its meeting? Is the meeting for the Christian wing of INEC or what? Is INEC meeting members of the church? It is unacceptable.
"The choice of a church as venue for a meeting of INEC is very insensitive particularly given the very volatile situation, we are in Nigeria today.
It is an open secret that Christian pastors are deeply involved in political campaigns. Many of them have turned 2023 election into a straight fight between them and the Muslims.
"INEC Lagos Headquarters has taken a false step. Holding an electoral body’s meeting inside a church is like holding it inside the secretariat of one of the political parties. It erodes confidence. It is totally wrong particularly in a situation whereby the church has publicly revealed that it is an interested party in the ongoing electioneering exercises.
"Why pick a church when there are hundreds of neutral places all over Lagos? Is INEC promoting the church’s vested interest in the 2023 election? Is some kind of connivance in the offing? INEC Lagos headquarters must prove to Lagosians that their votes will count. We call on Lagosians to watch the activities of INEC from now on because we are not convinced that it is going to be neutral."
He said INEC has no business using places of worship for their activities and expressed hope that the national secretariat of INEC in Abuja will caution its Lagos headquarters.