Some distraught Nigerians including sympathizers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have again revisited the party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket for 2022 poll with a strong message to Tinubu to drop his running mate, Sen. Kassim Shettima.
The citizens numbering more than 5,000 Yoruba Elders, on Tuesday took to the streets in Lagos to protest the contentious same faith presidential ticket, demanding a replacement with a Christian from the North.
The pro-Tinubu protesters under the aegis of the Coalition of APC Stakeholders Network and Southwest Supporters of Tinubu, began their peaceful walk from Shoprite Ikeja to the seat of power in Alausa.
They expressed the belief that the only obstacle standing between Tinubu and presidency in 2023 is his running mate, Shettima.
Addressing the protesters, the group’s President-General, Elder Arokoyo Samuel, described Tinubu as a political colossus and astute political strategist, who has successfully built an enviable foundation for the party.
“He has also been crucial in the nation’s democracy being an important figure for almost four decades, hence his emergence as APC presidential candidate was perceived as a breadth of fresh air,” he said.
Expressing dismay about the arrangement, Arokoyo pointed out: “As a lover of peace, tolerance and exclusivity, it is surprising that Tinubu opted for a fellow Muslim as the vice-presidential candidate.
“As a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country, any attempt for one religion to dominate the political structure could only widen the gap of mistrust and destroy the delicate sense of tolerance cultivated over the years.
“Hence, the choice of Shettima was not only ill-timed but also a total disregard for the diversity of the country, crushing the bridges built to connect the religious differences and promote ethnic harmonious co-existence,” he said.
The Coalition of APC Stakeholders Network and Southwest Supporters of Tinubu said it is using peaceful protest to urge the party’s presidential candidate to drop Shettima.
“We want the best for the nation and the Muslim-Muslim ticket isn’t. This will set negative precedents for future generations. We must not fail our children,” he said.
“In place of Shettima, Tinubu should pick a Christian from the north-central. Doing so will assure the APC of a higher chance of gathering more votes from the North and across the country.
“The north-central dominated by Christians played a vital role in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections. As popular as PMB is in the North, the only times he succeeded were when he won this zone, despite always dominating the Muslim-dominated North West and North East in his previous three attempts.
“There are a good number of Christian voters in the following northern states Kogi, Kwara, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Adamawa, Gombe, Borno, and the FCT, whose votes can be harvested to about 70% if we have a Northern Christian running mate on the ticket.
“Tinubu will write his name in gold should he make this bold decision. He will become the toast of Christians. Imagine the kind of momentum our leader will gather should he get the backing of almost 50 million Christians in Nigeria.
“It is our prayer that Tinubu will look beyond the surface and make this bold decision. We anticipate his timely action”.
Persecondnews recalls that Christians under the umbrella of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have rejected the APC’s politics of exclusion of Christians.
Also, Mr Yakubu Dogara, immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, condemned the Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket, describing it as not a bold decision but a bad one.
Describing the unity and liberty being enjoyed in the country as fragile, Dogara said the inequality created by the Muslim-Muslim ticket has a way of upsetting the balance.
He said:“Why do I consider the decision by the APC to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket not a bold but bad decision? There are ample reasons but I will highlight a few for want of time and space.
“It is a bad decision because it fuels inequality. We must always bear in mind that the liberty we enjoy is as rare as it is fragile. Inequality has a way of upsetting the balance due to the universal law of cause and effect.
“Throughout history, every revolution has been waged to either consolidate or destroy inequality. Just like all revolutions, they first seem impossible and then improbable until they become inevitable.
“When you think of revolutions, what comes to your mind? Is it the pictures of savage invasions, crushing battlefield defeats, sacked cities and unlucky rulers put to death or a cascading series of minor, individually unimportant failures which are now replete in our polity?
“You may not understand the structure of revolutions until you trace the progression of the Nazis from an unpopular fringe group to the most powerful political party in Germany.
“Those who are dismissive of those who built conflict generating structures such as the Muslim-Muslim ticket in a pluralistic society always end up as enablers of revolution or violent changes.”
Persecondnews had reported that a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, has equally criticized the decision, saying the ruling All Progressives Congress will pay dearly for its decision to run a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 polls.
According to him, religion will play a major role in next year’s elections.
Lawal, who spoke at the APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit Abuja 2022, warned that the ruling party should be ready for the consequences of same faith ticket in 2023.
He said blaming Christians and heaping insults on Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) will not get APC anywhere.
He said: “The PVC and prayers will be our weapon of choice and we will mercifully deploy them in 2023. We will not give up until we get Justice.
“I have heard friends and colleagues within and even outside the APC express some shock and even disbelieve over our reaction to the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 general elections.
“Our opposition has some historical basis. There were times in the past when Christians produced the Deputy Governors in Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna States. Now it is wholly Muslim-Muslim tickets.
“It is worth noting that all these are happening in APC-controlled states. They are threatening to do likewise in Gombe, Kogi and Adamawa States.
“It is also now a recurring practice in the north whereby any Christian traditional ruler that dies is replaced with a Muslim prince albeit from the ruling family even if the most qualified and preferred prince is a Christian. The recent case of Billiri Chiefdom in Gombe State is still fresh in our minds.
“Proof of its anti-Christian agenda is that our party itself has completely eliminated northern Christians from its National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Council (NEC).
“All our protestations as party members have been completely ignored by the party leadership. But as members of the APC, we have the right to continue to express our indignation at these happenings and will not give up until we secure the justice that is due us.”