There is unease in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the choice of running mate for its presidential candidate for the 2023 ballot, Senator Bola Tinubu following the suggestion of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in some neighborhoods.
The situation is caused by the preponderance of individuals and party caucuses opposed to the option for the February 25 presidential election.
Although the upper echelon are keeping their lips shut on the issue, Nigerian Tribune noted that the issue is putting pressure on key APC stakeholders as those opposing the idea have spoken out about the immediate implications and long term for the party.
As of press time, the name of a former Bornu state governor, Kashim Shettima, echoed among the possible choices as Tinubu’s running mate.
On Monday, other groups joined the fray warning that it would be a recipe for another crisis in the APC if it ignored the clamor for choosing a Christian as Tinubu’s running mate as a balancing act.
Leading the latest call on Monday, the coordinator of the Arewa Forum Coalition for Good Governance (CAFGG), Garba Yunusa, argued that the idea of a Muslim-Muslim should be dropped in the interest of the fairness, justice and fairness.
Yususa told a press conference in Kaduna that such a pairing which tends to downplay the sensitivity of Nigerians would divide Nigeria especially if the APC wins the general election. Yinusa said, “Nigerians are well aware that Tinubu is a Muslim from the South West geopolitical area. Thus, we think it would be rational for a Christian from the north, especially from the marginalized geopolitical zone of the center-north, to be a running mate. Such a choice will also take care of the interests of minorities.
“We strongly believe that once a Christian is chosen, the warning and threats of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) would be heeded.
“To ease the tension, we are calling on the winner of the APC’s standard bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu, to choose the party’s only northern Christian governor, Mr. Simon Lalong as his running mate.”
Similarly, the former secretary general of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani, warned that the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket would further polarize and deepen the division in the country.
Speaking to reporters in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, on Monday, Sani added that the disadvantages of the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket outweigh its likely advantages.
He argued that it could even be construed as a ploy to Islamize the country, noting that the federal character provision in the nation’s constitution emphasized that no one group should dominate, in the interest of the country’s unity. .
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He urged Tinubu not to give in to any pressure that could lead to disunity and heightened suspicion in the country.
Sani felt that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara fits the bill to be Tinubu’s running mate. Sani said: “The Muslim-Muslim ticket will not be the best for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. I would like to advise that the reason given for choosing the candidate from the South should be used to choose a Christian running mate from the North to reflect the federal character of the constitution.
“The reason I don’t buy the Muslim-Muslim ticket is because of the divide, distrust and suspicion that has been introduced into politics. There are people in this country who will interpret it as a ploy to Islamize Nigeria.
“So why should a ruling party give people the opportunity to talk about Islamization because people will cling to it to promote a primordial sentiment?”
In a similar vein, a former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Chief Frank Kokori, warned APC leaders and northern governors against the imposition of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Tinubu.
The Delta State APC stalwart, who said he was happy to see Tinubu land the APC ticket, urged APC leaders and governors in the north to rally around the candidate to choose wisely and emerge victorious in 2023.
Kokori said, “They should be patient with him and not impose a Muslim (Tinubu) ticket on him. “They should take it as a sacrifice because religion and ethnicity have become a major issue in this country.
“He should have a free hand to choose a noble Christian from the North and support that Christian.”
Likewise, the Presiding Bishop of Grace of God Mission International, Paul Nwachukwu, has said that Nigeria is a secular state, therefore, a Muslim-Muslim ticket will be unacceptable to Christians.
Nwachukwu urged two major political parties that have Muslims as their flag bearers to remember that choosing Muslims as running mates would neglect Christians.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle, also reiterated his call on the parties to avoid the Muslim-Muslim ticket, warning that it would lead to chaos. Meanwhile, the youth wing of CAN (YOWICAN) has threatened to mobilize young Christians to vote against any political party that presents Muslims as presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the presidential election of 2023.
YOWICAN National Chairman, Belusochukwu Enwere, speaking to reporters in Abuja, said the call for a Muslim/Muslim ticket is callous and a slap in the face to Christianity.
He argued that there are qualified and competent Christians, both from the South and the North, and that all should have an equal opportunity to serve the country.
In addition, an APC stakeholder group, led by Aliu Adamu, called on the party leadership and northern APC governors to shelve the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He asked the party to commit to ensuring that his flag bearer’s running mate is a Christian.
In a separate briefing, another group, the North East APC Youth Stakeholders Forum, called on party stakeholders to consider zoning the post of vice president in the North East. .