The Northern Christian political leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have rejected a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket adopted by the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This was revealed in a communique of the meeting of all Christian leaders of the party across the 19 northern states of Nigeria.
They expressed their displeasure over the manner by which President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC stakeholders handled the issue of Bola Tinubu’s running mate and further asserted that it would certainly result in a massive revolt against the party, among Christian faithful nationwide.
The presidential candidate of the party, Tinubu on Sunday announced a former Borno governor, who is a fellow Muslim, Kashim Shettima as his running mate. This has sparked public outcry, with many critics saying the party was insensitive to have chosen Muslims as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates in a country with divisive tendencies like Nigeria.
The statement, dated July 11, 2022, and jointly signed by Prof Dukman D.D. Sheni, Dr Ishaya G. Bauka, and Prof Saidu Ibrahim reads: “The Christian political leaders within the APC in the nineteen (19) Northern States met in Abuja on the 11th of July 2022 to deliberate on the issue of the Party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket and its implications to the nation. The meeting noted with concern the resignation of some high-profile Christians from the APC across the States of the Federation, as a consequence with more to follow unless concerted efforts are made to redeem our Party from hate mongers and those who seek to exploit religion to perpetuate their self-interests as opposed to national interest.
“After extensive deliberations, the meeting came to the following conclusions: 1. That as Christians within the APC, we cannot in all fairness to our consciences and faith go to our various constituencies to campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“2. That Nigeria is a multi-religious and a constitutional democracy and NOT a theocracy with religion as a major national fault line which cannot be whimsically manipulated without dire political consequences on our peaceful co-existence as a peopple.
“3. That the current Nigerian environment and political atmosphere of the nation is different from what occurred in 1993 and therefore a Muslim-Muslim ticket is unacceptable. It doesn’t take the smart to know that the Abiola/Kingibe victory in 1993 turned out to be a pyrrhic victory as there was never a President Abiola nor vice President Kingibe. Is that what we want a repeat of in 2023?
“4. The selection of a Muslim running mate is a display of crass insensitivity to the complexity of modern Nigeria and the entire Church. It is also a betrayal of the advocates of unity and peaceful co-existence with our Muslim brothers including notable Imams who had forewarned the Party and the candidate from traveling that treacherous route.
“5. That the APC has always come under the suspicion of the Church as pursuing an islamization agenda. Hence the various labels of the APC as: Islamic Movement, Islamic brotherhood, janjaweed party, Boko Haram party, etc. Now with all the positions in the hands of our Muslim brothers, it would take ingenious mendacity to prove otherwise.
“6. That if the APC said a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be injurious to the health of our nation in 2015, what has therefore radically changed to make Muslim-Muslim ticket good for the health of our nation in 2023, if we may ask?
“7. That the rejection of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by Christians would undermine the electoral fortunes of the APC and its candidates across all States and constituencies where Christians enjoy numerical advantage. By so doing APC has recklessly thrown its Christian candidates under the bus across the nation.
“8. That considering the fact that PMB, the chairman of the party, deputy chairman north, the president of the senate, the speaker and deputy speaker, and now both the presidential candidate and his running, etc, are all Muslims, and assuming that such lopsidedness does not violate S.14 (3) of the Constitution: if this was to be reversed so that all these were Christians, can any contentious Muslim in Nigeria attempt to sell such patently unjust and unfair arrangements to the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria?
“9. The APC party constitution preamble states “will guarantee equal opportunity for all mutual and peaceful co-existence respect and understanding, eliminating all forms of discrimination and social injustice among Nigerian”. The Muslim-Muslim ticket appears to have violated this provision.
“10. That Mr. President being also the Leader of APC is urged to intervene in this matter in order to ensure justice, equity and fair play in the interest of the peace and stability of this great nation and save our party from disintegration. We believe that PMB who fought to keep Nigeria one, will not allow fanatics on both sides to wreak havoc on what remains of the tapestry that binds us as a people. We can avoid the dire political consequences of the contraption called “same faith ticket”.
“11. We are disheartened that someone who wants to be a leader for all sections of the country is resorting to religious exclusivism as a tool for winning an election. This will certainly result in a massive revolt against the party. Leadership is all about inclusiveness, justice and equity.”
“At this moment of National peril, we believe that what should be paramount in Nigeria is UNITY. For without unity we cannot build. Any political party or candidate that elevates the greed of a few people above the needs of the generality of the people has no business running the affairs of Nigeria,” the statement added.
Oasis Magazine earlier reported that Tinubu on Sunday officially announced Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.
This followed a closed-door meeting involving Tinubu, Katsina State Governor, Bello Masari and President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura.
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