…say ‘his decision on his running mate is crass insensitivity’
Christian political leaders within the All Progressives Congress in the North have vowed not to campaign for the party following its decision to field Muslims as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
Last Sunday, APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, announced a former Borno governor, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate for the 2023 elections.
The announcement has since been generating mixed reactions from different groups across the country.
In a communique issued after a meeting on Monday, the APC Christian leaders across the 19 Northern states, expressed reservations over the ruling party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket.
It read, “As Christians within the APC, we cannot in all fairness to our consciences and faith, go to our various constituencies to campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Nigeria is a multi-religious and a constitutional democracy and NOT a theocracy with religion as a major national fault line which cannot be whimsically manipulated without dire political consequences on our peaceful co-existence as a people.”
In the communique, which was signed by Doknan Sheni, Ishaya Bauka and Saidu Ibrahim, the Northern APC Christian leaders said the current political atmosphere of the nation differed from what obtained in 1993 when MKO Abiola, a Muslim, chose another Muslim as his running mate.
They also argued that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket would make it hard for people to believe that the party is not pursuing an “Islamisation” agenda.
They added, “The selection of a Muslim running mate is a display of crass insensitivity to the complexity of modern Nigeria and the entire Church.
“That the APC has always come under the suspicion of the Church as pursuing an Islamisation agenda. Hence, the various labels of the APC as: Islamic Movement, Islamic brotherhood, Janjaweed party, Boko Haram party, etc. Now with all the positions in the hands of our Muslim brothers, it would take ingenious mendacity to prove otherwise.
“If the APC said a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be injurious to the health of our nation in 2015, what has therefore radically changed to make Muslim-Muslim ticket good for the health of our nation in 2023 if we may ask?
“That the rejection of a Muslim – Muslim ticket by Christians would undermine the electoral fortunes of the APC and its candidates across all States and constituencies where Christians enjoy a numerical advantage. By so doing, APC has recklessly thrown its Christian candidates under the bus across the nation.
“We are disheartened that someone who wants to be a leader for all sections of the country is reasoning to religious exclusivism as a tool for winning an election. This will certainly result in a massive revolt against the party. Leadership is all about inclusiveness, justice and equity.”
The Northern APC Christian leaders also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter in the interest of “peace and stability of the nation”.