Northern Christian leaders in the All Progressives Congress on Friday called on Nigerians to reject the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party, adding that it is divisive.
They made this known during the APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit, with a declaration that the insinuation that Northern Muslims would not support a Christian running made was untrue and divisive.
APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, had chosen, former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, a Muslim as his running mate, a decision that has generated controversy within and outside the party.
Among the leaders who spoke during the event were a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung; Senator Ishaku Abbo (Adamawa North); and several other Christian leaders in Northern Nigeria.
Lawal, who was also the chairman of the occasion, said colleagues within and outside the APC expressed shock over their reaction to the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 general election, saying it was a grand conspiracy against the Northern Christians.
The former SGF said, “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 the 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 NWC (National Working Committee) and NEC (National Executive Committee). 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.
“The main purpose of this historical narrative is to let you know that for the APC, a Muslim-Muslim ticket has been a long-term political strategy and not a one-off decision. Thus, all this talk of competence as the reason for the choice of the Muslim VP are balderdash and diversionary. This is a calculated anti-Christian exclusion agenda that is being implemented.
“We see this ticket as an assent to the current and continuing educational, economic and political marginalisation of the Northern Nigerian Christians.
“Christians all over the country see this MM ticket as a deliberate and premeditated attempt to introduce and firmly entrench religion into the politics of this country. This, of course, will lead to further disharmony in the hitherto fragile coexistence of the Nigerian society, disrupt peace and hamper both social and economic development of the country.
“Christians, and indeed most enlightened Nigerians are at a loss as to why people that intend to govern a country with our kind of diversity would choose this path to power. This is very divisive and must be rejected by all patriotic Nigerians.
“Implied in this ticket is the insinuation that Northern Muslims are not willing to vote for a ticket that has a Christian on it and on which they are not represented. It is our belief that northern Muslims would have seen the justice in a Muslim-Christian ticket and would have given it their overwhelming support had the party been inclined to do so.
“A corollary to this mindset is that Christians should also not vote for a ticket in which they are not accommodated. Unfortunately, this is the message we get loud and clear from this MM ticket. This is truly a wake-up call for all Nigerian Christians. We didn’t start these religious politics, the APC and its candidates did; so, all of us should take note and act as appropriate.”