Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Tinubu should Ignore Religion in the Choice of Running Mate – APC N/West Chair

National Vice Chairman, Northwest of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Salihu Moh. Lukman has weighed in on the debate regarding the religious belief of the potential running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of his party.

In a statement issued Saturday in Abuja, Lukman said cautioned leaders of the APC against riding on cheap sentiments in picking Tinubu’s running mate.

According to him, religion should not be a determinant.

I’m the statement, Lukman, an ally of the Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai said; “The challenge facing Nigerian politics is about opening the democratic space. It is not going to be easy, but Nigerians must be challenged to make hard choices. Important as ethnic and religious identities are, addressing challenges facing the country, require that political leaders are not allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections.

“If Nigeria is to move forward, 2023 Presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates of moving Nigeria forward to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion. If the truth is to be told, both Islam and Christianity, as well as all our ethnic factors have been used in equal measure to hold Nigeria at a standstill. Many so-called religious and ethnic leaders have used and are still using religion and ethnicity to pollute the minds of Nigerians against one another. If Nigerian politics is to overcome the adversities of these so-called religious and ethnic leaders, religious and ethnic backgrounds of leaders must be subordinated to experiential attributes of persons being considered for leadership.

“Perhaps, it is important to stress the point that whatever is the final choice of Asiwaju Tinubu and APC leaders with respect to who emerges as the running mate, the 2023 Presidential election will be keenly contested, irrespective of religious and ethnic identity of both Asiwaju Tinubu and whoever the running mate may be.

“APC leaders must acknowledge the fact that the 2023 elections present another golden opportunity for the APC to re-invent itself. With the landmark initiatives of President Buhari’s government in the last seven years, challenges of insecurity are being used by opposition parties, especially PDP, to falsely alleged that APC has failed. The claim is that APC government has mismanaged the economy, divided Nigerians and created insecurity.

“Part of the arguments is that Nigeria is now the ‘poverty capital of the world’, alleging also that the so-called poor performance of APC led government of President Buhari contrasts with so-called ‘achievements’ of sixteen years of PDP between 1999 and 2015. Many PDP leaders and their supporters have even claimed that if PDP failed to win the 2023 election, Nigeria will collapse”.

He said being a Muslim from the Southern part of the country, the belief among many Nigerians, is that Tinubu may not attract the votes of citizens from the dominant Christian Southern parts of the country.

“And given contemporary challenges of producing a Presidential ticket, which should balance both ethnic and religious factors in the country, an Asiwaju Tinubu candidature is more likely to be lopsided to win the votes of dominant Muslim North.

“This perception dominated internal debates in APC leading to the National Convention for the Presidential primary. Some party leaders attempted to manipulate the Convention in favour of the Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Lawan as the so-called consensus candidate. The process of producing the consensus was reduced to some manipulative strategy of invoking the name of President Buhari as the singular source of decision. Thanks to the commitment of President Buhari to ensure that all party leaders are consulted, the undemocratic approach of imposing a consensus candidate was defeated, and the primary election involving 23 aspirants held on June 7, 2022. Eventually, fourteen (14) aspirants contested the primary election as nine aspirants withdrew.

“Asiwaju Tinubu won the contest indisputably. With his victory, the debate has now shifted to the choice of running mate. 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. If choices of leaders are dictated by ethno-religious factors, Nigerian politics will continue to be disadvantageous to many sections of the country. For instance, only Christian Southerners and Muslim Northerners will continue to have advantages.

“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 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”, he stated.

Source: Vanguard

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