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Did Buhari make Nigeria join the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC)?

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    Contrary to PDP propaganda, Buhari refused to register Nigeria with OIC, insisting that Nigeria is a secular state.

    The Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), now known as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, with headquarters in Jeddah, was established on 25 September 1969, following its first meeting in Morocco. General Yakubu Gowon sent a Nigerian delegation, led by Alhaji Abubakar Gumi, “to represent Nigeria Muslims” at the OIC’s first meeting of 1969 in Morocco, despite opposition.

    The administrations of Murtala/Obasanjo, Obasanjo/Yar’Adua, Shagari/Ekwueme and Buhari/Idiagbon refused to sign to Nigeria’s full membership of the OIC despite pressure and intense lobbying. They maintained that Nigeria is a secular state and not an Islamic country.

    A French news agency reported that Nigeria was admitted into the OIC as its 46th member in January 1986. Ebitu Ukiwe, then a Navy Commodore and second in command to the then Military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, had it rough with that administration when he declared publicly that the decision to join OIC was not discussed at any level of government. Mr. Ukiwe’s denial of the decision reportedly led to his forceful exit from government.

    General Sani Abacha maintained Nigeria’s membership despite calls for withdrawal from various groups. There have been calls to withdraw Nigeria’s OIC membership but as at this day, Nigeria remains a full member of the OIC, and the President appoints delegates to represent Nigeria at OIC conferences.

    President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the head of Nigeria’s delegation to the OIC Islamic Summit in February 2013. Please see the full delegation list in the image below, and the complete attendance list on the OIC website here.

    OIC Delegation List - 2013

    Buhari was Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, and records from the OIC within the period prove that he did NOT make Nigeria join the OIC.

    Within the OIC, the Conference of Ministers is responsible for membership application approval based on the organisation’s Charter (Article 3.2). Focusing on the OIC’s public records during the period closest to Buhari’s time as Head of State, the OIC Conference of Foreign Ministers held in December 1983 (Bangladesh), December 1984 (Yemen) and January 1986 (Morocco).

    Shagari was President as at the 1983 conference while Buhari was Head of State during the 1984 conference, and Nigeria was not discussed during both conferences. It was at the 16th conference in 1986 that Nigeria’s application for membership was discussed. See item 18 of the final communiqué below:
    18. The Conference unanimously approved the request submitted by H.E. Haji Luqman, Minister of Mines and Energy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for his country’s accession to the membership of OIC making Nigeria the forty-sixth member of the OIC. On this occasion, the Chairman of the Conference, a number of the Heads of Delegations, and the Secretary General took the floor to welcome Nigeria as member of the Organization.

    1. The Cable:
    2. Ezeamalu, Ben, Premium Times,
    3. Alechenu, John & Eniola, Toluwani, The Punch,
    4. Final Communique, The Sixteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, OIC Website,

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