Christian political leaders within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 19 Northern States, have declared the Tinubu/Shettima Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as a flagrant violation of the provisions of the party’s constitution.
The APC Christian leaders also said that the Muslim-Muslim ticket would be very difficult to sell among Northern Christians.
They pointedly said the current Nigerian environment and political atmosphere of the nation are different from what occurred in 1993 and declared that therefore a Muslim-Muslim ticket is unacceptable.
These were contained in a communique issued at the end of their meeting in Abuja in which they stated that the APC’s constitution in its preamble states that it shall guarantee equal opportunity for all mutual and peaceful co-existence, respect, and understanding, eliminating all forms of discrimination and social injustice among Nigerian.
The APC Christian leaders noted with concern the resignation of some high-profile Christians from the APC across the States of the Federation as a consequence, saying that more are to follow unless concerted efforts are made to redeem the Party from hate mongers and those who seek to exploit religion to perpetuate their self-interests as opposed to the national interest.
The communique which was jointly signed by Prof. Doknan DB Sheni, Dr. Ishaya G Bauka and Prof. Saidu Ibrahim, stressed that as Christians within the APC, they cannot in all fairness to their consciences and faith go to their various constituencies to campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The APC Christian leaders argued that Nigeria is a multi-religious and constitutional democracy and not a theocracy with religion as a major national fault line that cannot be whimsically manipulated without dire political consequences on the nation’s peaceful co-existence as a people.
The communique further said; “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?”
“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.
“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, etc. Now with all the positions in the hands of our Muslim brothers, it would take ingenious mendacity to prove otherwise.
“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?
“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 a numerical advantage. By so doing APC has recklessly thrown its Christian candidates under the bus across the nation”.
“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 mate are all Muslims, and assume 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 Muslims in Nigeria?” they asked.
The APC Christian leaders, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the APC to intervene in the matter in order to ensure justice, equity, and fair play in the interest of the peace and stability of the nation and to save our party from disintegration.
According to the APC Christian leaders; “We believe that President Buhari, who fought to keep Nigeria one, will not allow fanatics on both sides to wreak havoc on what remains of the tapestry that binds the nation together as a people. We can avoid the dire political consequences of the contraption called ‘same faith ticket’.
“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 APC Christian leaders declared.