A presidency statement on the eve of the 2019 presidential elections is debunking claims making the rounds that President Muhammadu Buhari has a religious agenda to “impose Islam on Nigeria.” Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said such claims are “false and wicked.”
“The objective is clearly to stoke up religious division for political gains. Some of these same persons made these devious and fabricated claims ahead of the 2015 election. They failed woefully,” the statement said.
“The President strongly affirms the oath he took before the Nigerian people to faithfully defend the Constitution of Nigeria. That Constitution guarantees freedom of worship for every Nigerian. It is this guarantee that enables all Nigerians to practise their faiths or religion without hindrance.
“President Buhari further affirms his commitment to freedom of religion and worship for all Nigerians, and that under no circumstance will any religion or faith be imposed on any Nigerian.
“It is dangerous, deceptive and ungodly to play politics with religion.”
Bottom Line: In four years President Buhari has not taken any step to impose his religion on the country, so these allegations are most likely baseless. However, there is a reason why it continues to be made to strong effect, even if only for political reasons, and why some people continue to be wary of the president. Buhari has consistently preferred surrounding himself with those from a particular part of the country (the North) and practicing a particular religion (Islam). Several of his key appointments follow that non-inclusive pattern such that it makes it easy for stories to be made about his motives.