The Christian Association of Nigeria has rejected any intention to field presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the same religion by any political party in Nigeria, saying the 1999 constitution promotes religious balance.
In a statement signed by lawyer Joseph Bade Daramola, national secretary of CAN, the association predicted that it would be a failure for the party to ignore its advice.
CAN said this shows that politicians are not concerned with the cohesion of the nation.
The statement reads in part:
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has once again warned major political parties to bury the thought of a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket in 2023. We want to state unequivocally that it is is a threat to the fragile peace and unity of Nigeria.
“We congratulate the presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labor Party (LP): Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi respectively, including other parties. who are taking part in the next presidential election.
“CAN urges that a balance between the two religious practitioners be taken into account in the choice of running mates for presidential candidates. We do not subscribe to the Christian/Christian note or the Muslim/Muslim note. Politicians can talk about politics, but we have expressed our views long before now. Any game that tries the same religion ticket will fail. This is not 1993. Even when we have a joint Muslim/Christian ticket, the church is still going through hell. Only God knows how many Christians have been killed in the past seven years without anyone being apprehended or prosecuted.
The association further stated that there is no political party that does not have “great, good, patriotic Christians” who can lead the nation away from talking about being the vice president like some mischievous people try to say it”.
“If merit and competence are used as criteria, we have many qualified Christians in the 774 local government areas of this country,” CAN said.
CAN argued that any political party that presents a Muslim/Muslim ticket does so at its own risk, adding that it will make a categorical statement in case the warning is not heeded.
The statement further reads:
“Imagine how bad it will be if we have two Muslims in power? The current Nigerian Constitution promotes religious balance.
“The presidential running mate of the APC Presidential Flag Bearer, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu should be a Christian from the North, the running mate of Atiku should be a Christian from the South while Obi should choose his from among Muslims from the North. Anything contrary to the above means that the leaders of these political parties do not care about the unity of this entity called Nigeria. Those who are planning a Muslim/Muslim ticket should also know what was the result of the MKO Abiola and Kingibe ticket in 1993. If they try the Muslim/Muslim ticket this time, the result will be worse because our fault lines are very visible.
“In the current dispensation, CAN leaders have cried out in vain to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to break the monopoly or dominance of security architecture with like-minded people. We all see the result now. It is obvious that the Nigeria of today is different from that of 1993.
“Our politicians should stop flouting the Constitution by respecting the North/South dichotomy and the religious factor. To those who argue that people don’t care about the religions of their leaders once they are competent and credible, we dare APC choose their Presidential running mate from the South and PDP choose theirs from the North and see what follows.
“When the late wise Papa Obafemi Awolowo chose Philip Umeadi, another Christian and Southerner, as his running mate in 1979, we all know the consequences of his performance in the North. Our politicians should do what will unite us instead of what will polarize the country more.”