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Sheikh Dr. Abdullahi Bala Lau, National Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bidi’a Waikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), is alleged to have received two vehicles from Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, after he directed members of the sect to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming presidential elections.
At a colloquium organised to commemorate the marriage ceremony of two daughters of the Sheikh held in Yola, the Adamawa State capital last week, the cleric had expressed his support for Buhari.
The two vehicles were said to have been brought to his residence located at 23, N’Djamena Crescent, Wuse 11, opposite Gombe Jewel Hotel in Abuja, two days after he made the declaration.
The Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep 2017 model and a red Space Wagon Sienna 2017 model were said to have been brought from Kaduna for the religious leader. When SaharaReporters visited the house in Abuja, the two vehicles without number plates were sighted in the compound.
Lau had hinged the association’s support for the Buhari administration on its achievements in fighting corruption, commitment in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, the reform and diversification of the economy, and agriculture revolution.
“The people have endorsed the performance of the Buhari administration at the centre during the past three-and-a-half years and that is why we have decided to tell all our members in Nigeria to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari and all other candidates working with him,” he had said at the event.
According to the Islamic leader, the Buhari-led government is moving in the right direction and the Izala movement has put its seal of approval on it.
The Imam, who emphasised Buhari’s personal qualities and humble background, warned against dishonest people who had embarked on propaganda and incitement to thwart the President’s re-election.
“Buhari is a honest person. He has kept the public trust. He was a Governor and Minister of Petroleum. He was a General Officer Commanding and Military Head of State. He chaired the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). He ended all these assignments without an oil well or personal fortune. Come out and vote for him,” he told the crowd.
Meanwhile the decision by Lau to align the sect to Buhari’s reelection bid has led to division within the movement, as a group led by the Deputy National Leader, Sheikh Yusuf Sambo Rigachikun, has called on the members of movement to vote for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Rigachikun, who spoke to BBC Hausa Service, said Atiku has contributed immensely to Islam and built more than 300 mosques across the country.
He also claimed that he had been associating with Atiku for the past 30 years.
“Whenever we approach him on issues to do with Islam, or Islam-related matters, either to sponsor symposiums, to build schools for Islamic activities, to help the underprivileged or to make money available for the day-to-day activities of Islamic leaders, Atiku has never turned down our request in all the over 30 years that I have been close to him,” he said.
The Izalah movement is one of the largest Islamic societies in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.