All Progressives Congress’ National Vice Chairman (North-West), Mallam Salihu Lukman, says the ongoing controversy over perceived Muslim-Muslim ticket is aimed at distracting the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Lukman stated this in a statement he issued in Abuja on Saturday, saying he was not surprised at finding party members among those attacking Tinubu over speculations that he wanted to pick a Muslim running mate.
The APC national vice chairman said, “As usual, conservative and reactionary ethno-religious considerations are colouring the debate. Question of Muslim–Muslim ticket, implying that another Muslim from the North will most likely be Asiwaju’s running mate.
“Leading party members are already becoming strong advocates for or against a so-called Muslim–Muslim ticket. This debate is reproducing the old pre-convention reactionary and conservative campaign.
“Given the cheap and reactionary campaign in APC aimed at pushing delegates at the National Convention to copy the PDP by electing a presidential candidate from among Northern leaders, the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu demonstrated the superiority of the APC in providing level playing field to party members to compete and win internal party contests.”
Lukman argued that with the circumstances that surrounded the party’s presidential primary, it had become imperative to unite APC leaders in order to defeat all opposition parties, including PDP in the 2023 general elections.
He stressed that following Tinubu’s victory, the burning issue now is the choice of his running mate, saying, “If choices of leaders are dictated by ethno-religious factors, Nigerian politics will continue to be disadvantageous to many sections of the country.
“Most of those trying to use religious arguments to influence the choice of running mate for Asiwaju Tinubu are impliedly arguing that a Christian Northerner can only win a presidential election if his/her running mate is a Muslim from Southern Nigeria.
“In the same way, this will be politically disadvantageous, if not impossible for any Christian from the North or Muslim from the South to win presidential election. Such a backward national mindset must be changed.”