What about Sheik's comment Malam Bash?
Islamically, Buhari Must Withdraw His Election Case - Gumi
Weekly Trust (Kaduna)
15 September 2007
Prominent Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Gumi, in this interview, says going by Islamic strictures, General Buhari has no option but to drop his election petition against President Umaru Yar'Adua.
Weekly Trust: What informed your call on aggrieved politicians to withdraw their cases from the electoral tribunals given the widespread condemnation of the elections?
Gumi: To answer that question, I have to start by clarifying my position on the April elections. I want to say I am not ignorant of the fact that the elections were flawed in many areas and aspects.
This is not the first time I am saying this. I said a similar thing even before the elections through a press release which I issued in November 2006, five months before the elections. I made the press release to notify the public that from the conduct of the voters' registration, I have seen many flaws in which I concluded that the elections may not be free and fair. I came to the country (from Saudi Arabia) to observe the conduct of the elections myself. I have gone round and seen problems associated with the elections all along. I was not surprised with what I saw since the infrastructures for a credible elections are not on ground before the elections, therefore it would amount to self deceit for somebody to expect a house built on wrong foundation and such a house to last long or be strong.
Since all the parties have agreed with the weak foundation on which the elections lied on and consented that the INEC was capable of conducting an election, so it means they have consented to the weak foundation on which the election was built. They should therefore agree with the outcome of the election. Whoever and whichever party joined that election must agree with the outcome of that election. They know that the foundation was weak and yet went ahead to participate in the election. Many politicians and people like us have said the nation was not ready for the election but all those people that are crying now accepted and their parties that the elections will be credible. This is just like joining a car which has no good tires and its driver is drunk. What else do you expect more than an accident? We have to deal with whole issue in a moral way. They all agreed to join an election which has no solid foundation when they know that the election was not well planned to be credible.
WT: But the politicians, especially the prominent ones among them, have also made such observations before the elections.
Gumi: Then why do they join the elections? They have to bear the consequences. As Islamic scholars, we take the interest of the whole nation into consideration first. Parties are fighting for their interest. Individuals within the parties are fighting for theirs too. The interest of the nation is to have peace, unity and tranquility before we start talking about the ethics of democracy. Democracy, power shift or leadership are fiddlers to peace and stability. Therefore, we cannot compromise the peace and stability of the nation based on personal, party or group interest.I observed that most of the parties before the April elections were themselves not ready for the election, not only the INEC. Most of the parties did not send their polling agents to the polling units. Where the party agents are sent, their allowances were not paid. They don't have people to represent them in sensitive areas. In short, all the parties are deficient. How can we take somebody's negligence and compromise the unity and peace of this nation? This is why I advised the aggrieved candidates to withdraw their cases.
Already people were sworn in into offices what we should now do is to see that a credible electoral system is put in place so that the next election will be credible. Poverty alleviation, elimination of ignorance and diseases should also be our priority as a nation. We should put our energy and efforts to see that the country's problems are tackled so that we can develop. If we say we will fight the government or call for the cancellation of the elections, we can never have credible elections because the infrastructures are not there. The INEC has no money and credible personnel to conduct free and fair elections and most of the parties are weak. If another election is to be conducted, we will only end up in chaos.
WT: You have acknowledged that the elections were flawed. The politicians in the tribunals are agitating for justice. Are they not doing the right thing Islamically since Islam promotes justice?
Gumi: My decision to advice the aggrieved politicians to withdraw their court cases was based on two pillars. On the pure Islamic perspective, regardless of the way and manner in which somebody is sworn in to govern, that person must be obeyed. Islam has wisdom behind this. Islam looks at the interest of the nation and peace. Once a leader is given allegiance by some people, Islam demands that he should be obeyed. This is because if you attempt to remove him, his own supporters could cause break down of law and order or even sabotage the new administration. The Prophet (pbuh) was reported to have said, "One who dislikes a thing done by his leader should be patient over it. For anyone from the people who withdraws his obedience from the government, even to the extent of a hand-span and died in that condition, would die the death of one belonging to the days of ignorance (Jahiliyya)." Ideally as I said, the politicians should not have participated in the elections but they made a mistake to take part and a leader had emerged they should therefore bear the fruits of their mistakes. They agreed with rigging and the rigging has taken place.What I am saying is that let's forget the past and build a strong system that will not allow rigging of elections. Even the countries that we are copying democracy from, what they did was to build a system that will not allow rigging. Had it been their system allows rigging, they could have rigged their elections as we are doing here.
WT: Don't you think this position would aid election malpractices in the future?
Gumi: I gave you an Islamic perspective that if a cream of people in the society accepted and gave allegiance to a leader, he should be obeyed and I told you that the wisdom behind that is for peace and tranquility. All over the world politicians want to rig elections, what stops them from rigging is the infrastructure. The system gives them no room to rig. Let's make our system like that so that we can have the leaders who we want. But if we allow the system to continue like this rigging will continue. Even in America or England, if there is room for rigging their politicians will rig. No matter the preaching, we shouldn't deceive ourselves. Politicians always like to rig, what stops rigging is the system. This is why I said the solution to our problem is to build credible electoral infrastructures not nullifying faulty elections. Elections in this country had ever been faulty.
WT: Do you think the present administration is competent to build that credible electoral system given the way it came to power?
Gumi: I am very confident they can. If the warring parties join hands to develop the electoral reforms then they can together find solutions to our electoral problems. We need permanent polling units, permanent computerised voter register and in four years we can have that credible system. If that happens, the next elections from local governments to president will be free and fair.
WT: What happens if the aggrieved politicians refuse to withdraw their court cases?
Gumi: Islamically, once a cream of people has given allegiance to a leader it is forbidden to withdraw that allegiance. The Prophet said in a Hadith that, "You should listen to and obey your ruler even if he is a slave whose head looks like a raisin." In another Hadith he said, "The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke Allah's blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked by those present, shouldn't we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: no as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything detestable in them you should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience." By this if the tribunals nullified the elections, especially the presidential, since Nigeria is not an Islamic state, what the Muslims will do if such happens, we will go and participate in the elections but nobody should elect these two people-Buhari and Atiku. Islamically, they are incompetent to rule because any Muslim who opposes the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is incapable of being a leader. Anybody who is not ready to make sacrifice to his people and nation such a person is not capable to be the leader. If these two giants are not ready to step down for peace and tranquility in this nation, then they are not capable to be leaders. If there would be another election we will tell Muslims to shun them with all our heart. Anybody who follows them will follow them on the risk of losing his faith in Allah.
WT: The Islamic allegiance you are talking about, does it apply to a state like Nigeria which is said to be secular in nature?
Gumi: Somebody will say we are not an Islamic state, therefore, we shouldn't bring Islamic perspective to it. But the answer to this is Islam is based on those things that take care of the people's welfare. Islamic principles are based on facts that are natural irrespective of who is involved or his country. This is to help the society. The people we are talking about are Muslims therefore, Islamic principles are applicable to them. What we are saying is that the money that will be used in conducting another election can be used, with the cooperation of Buhari and Atiku, to build a credible electoral system that will not allow rigging in future elections. I am calling on the government to put time, money and credible people in the electoral reform. Let's work hand in hand to see that things are moving in the right directions. We cannot have development in commotion and chaos. I am appealing to the aggrieved politicians to step down their arms and work towards building a credible electoral system where we can elect the leaders of our choice. I want to call on the general public to please cooperate with the government and let's start building a country that we can be proud of. Let's build a country that will be free of corrupt leaders. We can achieve that through a strong and reliable electoral system that will enable us elect God fearing leaders.