With the strong rumour of planned Muslim/Muslim or Christian/Christian ticket by major political parties in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 presidential elections, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked political parties to bury that idea, insisting that it won’t work in today Nigeria.
CAN, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, observed that people in some political parties, perhaps, due to personal interests, are making reference to 1993 general elections in which a certain political party fielded candidates from same religion, reminding such people/parties that such is not tenable in today Nigeria.
CAN advised the APC presidential flag bearer, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, to pick a Christian running mate from the north, and PDP flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, should pick a Christian running mate from the south, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party should choose from among the Muslims from the North.
“Anything contrary means that the leadership of these political parties do not bother about the unity of Nigeria. And also, those who are planning Muslim/Muslim ticket should find out the outcome of MKO Abiola and Kingibe ticket in 1993, warning that If they try Muslim/Muslim ticket this time around, the outcome will be disastrous because our fault lines are very visible.”
CAN stated that even when there’s joint Muslim/Christian ticket running, the church still goes through hell. “Only God knows the number of Christians that have been killed in the last seven years with no one apprehended or prosecuted for such crime. Imagine how bad it will be if we have two Muslims in power? The extant Nigerian Constitution promotes religious balance. So, if any political party wants to try Muslim/Muslim ticket, it’s at its own peril. CAN is only forewarning, but will make a categorical statement in the event our warning is not heeded.
“There is no party that has no great, good and patriotic Christians who can preside over the affairs of Nigeria, not to talk of being the Vice President as some mischievous people are trying to say. If merit and competence are used as yardsticks, we have many qualified Christians in all the 774 Local Government Areas of this country.”
CAN recalled that it has, repeatedly, asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to break the monopoly or dominance of the security architecture with people of same faith and region but its advice were unattended to. “We are all seeing the outcome now. It is obvious that the Nigeria of today is different from that of 1993,” it insisted.
The Association, however, asked politicians to quit flouting the Constitution by respecting the North/South dichotomy and religious factor. “Those arguing that people do not care about the religion of their leaders once they are competent and credible should have a rethink. We dare APC to pick its Presidential running mate from the South and PDP pick its own from the North and see what follows.
“When the late Papa Obafemi Awolowo picked Chief Mrs Oyibo Odinamadu, a fellow Christian and Southerner, as his runningmate in 1979, we all knew the consequences of his performance in the North. Our politicians should be doing what will unite us instead of what will further polarise the country,” it advised.