Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, rallied against the party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 19 northern states yesterday.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s standard-bearer for president and a Muslim, announced on Sunday that Senator Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim and former governor of Borno State, would serve as his running mate. This announcement sparked conflicting reactions in the political body.
APC stalwarts Prince Tonye Princewill of Rivers State and AVM Frank Ajobena, a former military administrator of Abia State, were among those who quit the party yesterday over the issue after the head of the Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, denied endorsing the candidate.
Why Northern APC Christians cannot any longer support Tinubu
Because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu chose a Muslim running mate, Christians of Northern descent in the APC declared they can no longer support the party’s presidential nominee.
Following an urgent meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, where the topic of the religious tinge of the APC’s presidential ticket and its implications for the country was on the front burner, they made their view known in a communiqué sent to press.
The organization explained that Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim running mate had irritated the Christians in the North and painted the APC as a party that is indifferent to their longings in the communiqué jointly signed by Prof. Doknan Sheni (Chairman) and General Ishaya Bauka (Secretary).
It warned that if the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as the party’s vice presidential resident candidate is not reversed before July 15, there would be serious and grave consequences.
The communique reads: “The Christian politicians in the 19 Northern states within APC met in Abuja to deliberate on the issue of the party’s Muslim – Muslim president and vice president candidates and the implications for the nation.
“The meeting decided as follows: that as Christians within APC, we cannot in all fairness to our consciences and our faith go to our various constituencies to campaign for a Muslim – Muslim ticket.
“Nigeria is a multi-religious and constitutional democracy and NOT a theocracy. The current political atmosphere of the nation is different from what occurred in 1993 and therefore a Muslim Muslim ticket is unacceptable.
“The selection of a Moslem vice presidential candidate portrayed insensitivity to the Christians in the Nation
“The fear of the Christians in the North and the nation, in general, is that the APC will be viewed as an Islamic party and that the Muslim – Muslim ticket was not possible in 2015, why should it be possible in 2023?
“More so, that we are apprehensive that the person picked might have had a hand in the Chibok girls’ saga and other terror activities.
“Muslim-Muslim ticket would undermine the election chances of Christians candidates in APC in the various states in the North.
“The Christians in the North and the whole nation are highly aggravated, considering that the chairman of the party is a Muslim, deputy chairman (North) is a Muslim, the president of the Senate is a Muslim, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives are Muslims, and now both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates are Muslims.
“Apart from this violating the constitution section 14 subsection 3, if this was to be reversed that all these were Christians, can any Muslim in the North be able to sell the APC presidential tickets to any Muslim Ummah?
“If this selection of a Muslim Vice President candidate is not changed, there will be serious and grave consequences.
“At this moment of national peril, what should be paramount in Nigeria is unity and not infrastructure or economy. For without unity we cannot build.
“Any party or candidate that elevates the greed of a few above the needs of the many has no business running the affairs of Nigeria.”
BTL Blogger: Augustine Emmanuel