Connect with us


Is Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket For Christianization Of Nigeria?



78th UNGA: President Tinubu Advocates Universal Sanction By UN Nations For Their Companies, Persons Smuggling Arms, Minerals Into And Out Of Africa

The Insight by Lateef Adewole

On Monday, 19th of September, 2023, in Abuja, there was a procession tagged “Solidarity Walk for Tinubu and his administration”. It was organised by no less a group than a coalition of christian youths across the 19 states of the Northern Nigeria and FCT. They are referred to as Association of Christian Youths in Northern Nigeria (ACYNN), under the leadership of Dominic Alancha, as its National President.

While addressing the press, Alancha said: “At one point, we questioned whether we were recognized as Nigerian citizens with a stake in our beloved country at all. However, President Tinubu’s swift and unprecedented appointments have not only surprised us but also resonated with many well-intentioned Nigerians.”

ALSO READ: Sultan Of Sokoto Inaugurates 10.2 km Glory Drive Phases II Road In Bayelsa

He continued: “This signifies a significant step towards inclusivity, granting a voice to marginalised, neglected, and often forgotten Christian minorities in Northern Nigeria, especially those from the Middle Belt.” And concluded that: “He (Tinubu) governs with remarkable ingenuity and inclusiveness, uniting all Nigerians as one united nation. We wholeheartedly appreciate his approach.”

In the first place, these are youths. Does this their opinion resonate with the larger body of christians across the North and FCT? What about their counterparts in the southern Nigeria; the youths, elders, leaders and clergies, pastors, General Overseers, and so on, who are christians? Do they share in this sentiment?

I asked this because there has been a deafening silence from the christian quarters about the administration of Tinubu since he took over in nearly four months, with regards to his appointments and other actions as they affect religious concerns in Nigeria. Of note are the many fiery pastors and christian leaders who were vociferous in their attacks against him and the ticket during the campaigns and the elections.

Why do I have to bring this up? If not for anything, but to make a point of being vindicated and for posterity to judge me right. In the last one year, I was a victim of attacks from some christians, some of whom are my very good childhood friends. The basis of their attacks was my support for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, when he declared to contest for the presidential election. It was as if I committed a sacrilege, even when I did not order royal fathers around saying: “e dide, e joko”.

Many of them questioned why I should support a personality like Tinubu and I wondered what personality they were talking about. I did not know when the choice I made became anyone’s concern too. Then, the APC presidential primary came, with the attendant shenanigans, which Tinubu eventually won, despite all the political treachery against his ambition. He became the candidate.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when he chose his vice presidential candidate. Before then, we learnt that some of his prominent political party members, who are christians from the northern part of the country, had positioned themselves to be picked. Many months before that time, some even defected from the opposition party PDP to APC in anticipation of taking advantage of such possible scenerio. But they were all disappointed when, from the blues, he announced Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate. All hell broke loose! And the “war against Tinubu’s ambition” scaled up and became more vicious.

While it is not unexpected that this might surprise some, given the unwritten understanding of always trying to balance the presidential ticket between the north and south, while giving consideration to the religious inclusivity as well. So, it was taken as a given that Tinubu, being a muslim from the south, must or should pick a christian from the north. This is understandable.

However, at that critical time, for those who are keen political watchers, and who understand the political dynamics of Nigeria and how elections are won, especially presidential election in Nigeria, would have known and seen the exigencies of his choice. All explanations, as to the reason for that choice, fell on deaf ears. The noise that rented the air was that Tinubu and APC was flying a muslim-muslim ticket and were planning to Islamise Nigeria.

All the previously concocted lies and misconceptions of the past 8 years of the then sitting President Buhari, who was accused of Islamization agenda, even when he had a senior pastor of a very prominent church in Nigeria as his vice president, in the person of Professor Yemi Osinbajo. This was the campaign against Buhari all through his years. Sadly, like the Yorubas would say; “won pe e ni ole, o n gbe omo eran jo”. He did little or nothing to allay the fears of those who accused him of Islamization agenda with the lopsided appointments to very critical top positions, which are seen as dominated by muslims.

At the time, nearly all the service chiefs, other security agencies and security architecture, were headed by muslims. Same goes to many other political appointments to important positions. And so on. All that period, I wrote some articles criticising these appointments which, worse still, were extremely narrowed to his region too. It was not a good optic, even when I disagreed with the allegation of his trying to Islamise Nigeria. This was because, the major victims of brutality, terrorism, banditry and most criminalities that pervaded that administration in the north, were muslims. In some states where christians are more, they suffered massively too from bandit attacks, like in Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarrawa states.

However, the rest of the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, and others, that were almost overrun by boko haram and ISWAP terrorists, as well as killer Fulani bandits (later reluctantly declared as terrorists), are muslim-dominated and the victims of mass kidnappings and mass murders were muslims. So, how could a government which wanted to Islamise Nigeria be eliminating the adherents of same religion it wanted to spread? This was my counter argument at the time, despite condemning those insensitive appointments.

Now back to the same party APC, planning a successor administration with a muslim-muslim ticket for their presidential candidate and vice, such fear was understandable. But the extent that majority of christian leaders and their followers took it was incredibly destructive. They declared “war” against it. It was in that web that I was caught. Being a muslim myself, the only reason some could adduce to my support for Tinubu’s candidacy was that he is a muslim and because he was running a muslim-muslim ticket.

In fact, few inferred that I was an ‘Islamic fundamentalist’. This came from few friends we have known for almost four decades, the least expected source. I was shocked and disappointed. My sin was because, they supported Peter Obi as their candidate and they expected me to do the same. I never questioned their choices. I never associated it with their religion because my choice was not based on that. In the past, I have staunchly supported former President Goodluck Jonathan, a christian, while he contested in 2011 and 2015, against a muslim, Muhammadu Buhari, to the extent I was branded PDP apologist or member.

My supports to candidates are usually based on principle. I take my time to analyse candidates’ profiles, consider their antecedents, their capacities, vision, and the political need of the country at each time, whenever I wanted to make a choice of who to support. Religion is not my main consideration.

It is ironic that these same people who were against my choice and criticised me for supporting Tinubu, were my cheerleaders and full of praises for me all through the eight years of Buhari, as I critically analysed that administration and expose many ills that befell it, while make recommendations as to how I felt some things should have been handled better, which included those lopsided appointments, in my weekly articles. I was their ‘voice of truth and reason’ then. Same people suddenly turned against me for making a different choice this time. That is human nature.

Just like these my friends, we all witnessed how many christian leaders across the country galvanised their followers and united them against Tinubu. Their voices became so loud and vicious. They turned their pulpits to campaign platforms against Tinubu and for Peter Obi, only because he is a christian. Crusades, services, revivals and series of massive church programmes were organised for these purposes. Congregants were coerced to support and vote for Obi. Where possible, polling units were brought inside the churches during the presidential election so that voters could be gagged to vote for Obi. All these are in public domain. We all saw them. They were no secrets. It was an open confrontation.

All through the campaign period, I wrote few articles on these issues. In them, I stated many reasons for which I supported Tinubu to become the next president of Nigeria. I also provided the basis for what I think could have informed the choice of Shettima as his running mate, based on the political atmosphere at the time. Unfortunately, none of these seemed to enter the anti-Tinubu campaigners’ ears.

Let me make something clear, I am not saying all christians in Nigeria were against Tinubu and his muslim-muslim ticket, before I will be misquoted by mischief makers. There were millions of christians across Nigeria who believed in him, stood firm by him, campaigned vigorously and openly for him all through those trying time and voted for him, despite the hounding they faced and experienced. I equally have many as my friends, families and associates. Half of my extended family are christians.

What I am saying, which was well known and documented is that, majority, especially those with strong voices, particularly the penticoastal churces and their leaders across the country, with exception of a few, championed the anti-Tinubu’s muslim-muslim ticket cause, while simultaneously, they were vanguards of Obi presidential campaign. They saw series of visions, purportedly from God, that Obi would win the presidential election, which they regularly relayed to their overexcited audience, congregants and listeners. Well, I kept wondering which God exactly said that because, it all turned out to be lies. God does not tell lies and His words cannot be fake.

Sincerely, their efforts contributed significantly to how well Obi performed in that election, beyond many peoples’ expectations, including mine. A cursory look at that election results will buttress my point. Most of christian-dominated areas in the north were won by Peter Obi, except Benue state, where a very well loved Catholic priest was the governorship candidate of APC, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia. He swung the votes in favour of Tinubu and went ahead to also win his own election three weeks after. He is the governor of that state now. Peter Obi came second there.

Obi won in Plateau, Nasarrawa, Taraba, FCT and scored significantly in southern Kaduna, Adamawa, and other christian-dominated areas in the north. He won nearly 95% in his region, South East, only candidate to achieve that. He won in most of the South South, except Rivers that went to APC and Balyesa that went to PDP. He also came first in South-South, despite the region having more PDP but both South East and South South are christian-dominated regions. Atiku Abubakar is also a muslim.

Then to the region of the man in the eyes of the storm, the Yorubaland. There used to be a belief that Yorubas do not “carry their religions on their head”. This was the case in the past but has gradually been changing, even when some like to pretend. And that 2023 election exposed that fault line to some extent. I have written a few times about this changes and the causes, though, christians might not agree with my submissions in those articles. I concluded that the seeming religious harmony seen in Yorubaland is made possible, more by the sacrifices and endurance of oppression of muslims by christians within the region, which muslims have to bear. I still stand by that position. The articles were published and can be obtained online.

So, while I believe ‘majority’ (with emphasis) of Yoruba christians still supported and voted for Tinubu, as could be seen in the results from Ondo and Ekiti states in particular, where christians are majority (in my opinion), and also all other states in the region. However, a very significant number of Yoruba christians still voted against Tinubu, their brother, based on religion but voted for Obi. Otherwise, Obi would not have had such a sizeable vote he had from the region, not to talk of winning in Lagos, the political base and stronghold of Tinubu. That was unprecedented. I know churches which made this happen. I live in Lagos.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, no candidate can win a presidential election, banking on religious bigotry or tribalism. Such candidate will fail. And that was exactly what happened.

All these are in the past now. The election has come and gone. Tinubu is now our president. Fast forward to now, almost four months after taking over, how has the muslim-muslim presidency under Tinubu fared against the christians in Nigeria? How much of Islamization agenda have they implemented? How far have they turned Nigeria to an Islamic state? To what extent have the christians been marginalised, annihilated or eliminated in their Islamic “religious war”, as one of the leading candidates was heard discussing with a foremost General Overseer of a prominent church in Nigeria, just before the elections, in a leaked audio recording of the phone conversation between the two?

All these happened to be what the christian leaders were using to “deceive and confuse” their followers who trusted their judgements and opinions, as their “yes daddies”. It all turned out to be lies. If there is anything, it has been the other way round. So far in Tinubu’s administration, christians have dominated all the major appointments made so far by him. I make bold to say this.

The appointments of the security chiefs that were criticised by christians under Buhari for being majority muslims are now majority christians and no complaints. Many critical posts so far filled by Tinubu’s administration are occupied by christians and no complaints. Many of Tinubu’s Special Advisers and Personal Assistants are christians and no complaints. And so on. These appointments are in the public domain. I need not begin to list appointees’ names and their religions. Everyone can do that and let their conscience be their police and judge.

The point I am making is that, while all these are happening now, we have not heard or seen muslims, especially from the South, who gave Tinubu their bloc votes during the presidential election, bring down the roof or cry marginalisation on top of their voices from the roof top. They have been matured while few raised these observations and are calling the attention of President Tinubu to it. It is unfair to the muslims who staked everything for his electoral success to be marginalised as being seen. It is unacceptable. Same way I criticised Buhari. Or, is the Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket for a Christianization of Nigeria?

The Tinubu I know, who I believe in, who I supported, who I voted for, and who is now the president of Nigeria, is not a person to do such a thing. He is not a religious bigot. He is someone who only support and promote people based on their competence, not religion. This might also have been responsible for not being conscious of this observations by muslims as being marginalised in his appointments. Yoruba muslims deserve much more and better too. There are well-qualified, very capable and competent hands among muslims as well.

This is a lesson to all, especially those who use religion to divide the citizens for their selfishness and greed. The outcome of such divisiveness is dangerous to our unity as a country, which we so seriously desire. No country can rise to greatness where there is no unity and is divided along religious and or ethnic line. This has been the bane of Nigeria’s progress, which some people took to a very dangerous height durin 2023 presidential election, out of their desperation to grab power. May enemies of Nigeria never succeed.

May God continue to protect us and guide us aright.

God Bless Nigeria.

You can follow me on:
Twitter: @lateef_adewole
Facebook: Lateef Adewole
Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp: +2348036034685


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Trending News