Northern Christians will vote against Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket – APC Members

The All Progressives Congress (APC) northern Christian leaders have called on Christians to vote  against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party in the 2023 elections.

The Christians leaders said while they did not start religious politics, the APC and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, did, and therefore called on Christians to take note and act accordingly.

Speaking at APC Northern Christians Political Summit tagged, ‘Abuja 2022’, with the theme, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal alleged that there was an agenda to politically, religiously and economically suppress and oppress the Northern Christian, but assured that such aenda would be resisted.

He noted that while they are ready to battle the politics of exclusion and oppression, the northern christians are open to discussions with any one who wants to engage with them  in good faith.

Lawal stressed that northern christians  opposition to Muslim-Muslim ticket has some historical basis, adding that there were times in the past when Christians produced the Deputy Governors in Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna States, saying now it is wholly Muslim-Muslim tickets. 

He said it was worth noting that all these are happening in APC-controlled states, stressing that they are threatening to do likewise in Gombe, Kogi and Adamawa States.

The ex-SGF pointed out that it was 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. 

He said the recent case of Billiri Chiefdom in Gombe State was still fresh in their minds.

Lawal was of the opinion that proof of its anti-Christian agenda was that APC has completely eliminated northern Christians from its National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Council (NEC), noting that all their  protestations as party members have been completely ignored by the party leadership. 

He emphasised that as members of APC, they had the right to continue to express their indignation at these happenings and would not give up until they secure the justice that is due them.

Lawal states: “The main purpose of this historical narrative is to let you know that for the APC, a Muslim-Muslim ticket has been a longterm political strategy and not a one-off decision. Thus, all this talk of competence as the reason for the choice of the Muslim VP is balderdash and diversionary. This is a calculated anti-Christian exclusion agenda that is being implemented.

“One might ask: why is the APC itself mute about our rejection of this Muslim-Muslim ticket? And why has none of the other perpetrators of this crisis reached out to Christians for a dialogue? Why are they instead hiring fake Bishops and taking church groups to further embarrass the Church? Why are they embarking on a vicious media war against CAN and the Church instead of seeking reconciliation? Truly, things are not adding up.

“So why are Christian’s, Northern Nigerian Christians in particular against the Muslim-Muslim ticket? I will try to enumerate just a few more reasons in addition to the ones I have already enumerated above.”

Lawal stated categorically that they see this ticket as an assent to the current and continuing educational, economic and political marginalization of the Northern Christians. 

Quoting  data from  both Federal and State-owned Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, Lawal noted that out of 28 Federal Universities in the north, 23 Vice Chancellors are Muslims, while five are  Christians; out of 22 State Universities, 17 Vice Chancellors are Muslims, five are Christians; out of 21 Federal Polytechnics, 18 Rectors are  Muslims and three are Christians.

He added that out of 20 State Polytechnics, 16 Rectors are Muslims, four are Christians; out of 

23 Federal Colleges of Education, 22  Provosts 23 are Muslims and one Christian and out of 31 State Colleges of Education, 24 Provosts are Muslims 24, and seven are Christians.

Lawal said  it goes without saying that employment to all other positions from the Registrar down to the cleaner in these institutions will be replicated in a similar manner. 

He noted that Christians all over the country see the Muslim-Muslim ticket as a deliberate and premeditated attempt to introduce and firmly entrenched religion into the politics of this country.

The APC chieftain noted that this would further lead to disharmony in the hitherto fragile coexistence of the Nigerian society, disrupt peace and hamper both social and economic development of the country.

Lawal added: “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 believe 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 Muslim-Muslim ticket. This is truly a wake up call for all Nigerian Christians. We didn’t start this religious politics, APC and its candidates did; so all of us should take note and act as appropriate.

“So our dear APC colleagues, spare us these sanctimonious lectures on “competence” and the cliche “religion of the candidates do not matter. The truth is that the 2023 presidential election will be all about religion, and sadly, you started it; religion does matter in this context so be ready for the consequences.

“It is important to reiterate that we Nigerian Christians, want to live in peace and harmony with all practitioners of other religions. We want to enjoy social and economic developments like other parts of the world but without peace, justice and religious harmony, this is not possible.

“On our part, we neither seek to oppress nor dominate any one or any religion. But we will also resist any one trying to discriminate against us and our religion. We were not the ones that started this fight. The APC started it and must be ready to carry the cross it has created. Blaming Christian’s and heaping insults on CAN will take them nowhere.

“For, how do they expect Christians to keep silent when a northern state governor publicly states that they pressured Tinubu to get a northern Muslim VP because they did not believe him to be a good Muslim? Is the VP going to be the National Deputy Imam? How do they expect us to keep silent when another northern state governor goes to Osun State and urges them to vote for someone just because he is a Muslim? Was he there for the election campaign or “dawah”? What can be a better example of religion in politics than demonstrated by these governors?

“Clearly, there is an agenda to politically, religiously, and economically suppress and oppress the Northern Christian. But we are up to the task. We will protect ourselves. The PVC and our prayers will be our weapons of choice and we will massively deploy them in 2023.”

On his part, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said the adoption of a Muslim-Muslim Presidential and Vice Presidential ticket by APC was  capable of leading Nigeria to disintegration like Yugoslavia.

He said the opposition of northern Christians to all Muslim ticket should not be understood to be objecting to Muslims or that they don’t want Tinubu to be president, neither was it about Senator Kashim Shettima, but added that it was about what is right and what is wrong;  and it is about justice, fairness and equity. 

According to him, It is about Nigeria; its diversity and how it can be harnessed in an inclusive manner for the greater good of all of us. Be that as it may, some of us really wanted Asiwaju to be president because he has sacrificed much for our party, the APC and for what he represents to so many people. So, our position cannot be against Muslims or Islam. That fact cannot be denied in any way. 

Dogara recalled that he couldn’t have been the Speaker of the 8th House without the support of his Muslim collegaues  who believed that the nation’s diversity must be reflected in national positions for the unity, peace and advancement of our dear country. 

He said: “In 2015, when we were called “janjaweed party”, my response was usually very simple. I could then say that, HE John Oyegun was the chairman of my party and my Vice-Presidential candidate was Pastor Yemi Osinbajo. We don’t enjoy that luxury anymore as the President, Senate President, Speaker and his deputy; Senate and House Leaders; National Chairman and the Deputy National Chairman; Presidential and the Vice-Presidential candidates are all Muslims, leaving the Christians with just the position of VP Osibanjo and Deputy Senate President Omo-Agege at that level in a Country whose population is fairly split between Muslims and Christians. Granted this scenario, can any God-fearing Muslim, Christian nay even the amoral and the atheist say this is fair, just and righteous? Does this represent the act of a just God? This is the real context of objections from the Christian community not just the Presidential ticket and the VP slot.”

“For me, it is a rude awakening and I am so happy it happened sooner than later. The very fact that they said we should not worry about a Muslim-Muslim ticket while a Muslim-Christian ticket gave them sleepless nights should make you worry the more. To worry about a Muslim-Christian ticket while counselling others not to worry about a Muslim-Muslim ticket is the very textbook definition of cognitive dissonance and an attempt at gaslighting gullible Christians. Truth must be told that anyone who is not bringing us together is consciously tearing us apart.”

The former speaker described the argument that there was  no Christian competent enough to be Vice-President  as hogwash. It only speaks to the need to deliberately exclude – whereas the need now is for inclusion. 

Dogara added: “The other funny argument in the media is the claim that without a northern Muslim on the ticket, elections cannot be won. The implications of that argument are quite unambiguous; Northern Muslims don’t vote for the South – even if the candidate is a Muslim like them – and, of course, don’t vote for Christians. However, nothing can be further from the truth. If you stretch this argument further, it may lead to questions such as, “if Muslims in the North don’t trust a southern Muslim for any reason(s), why should Christians in Nigeria trust a Muslim from the South and North?” These are the kinds of arguments I hate to engage in and which we must avoid if we hope not to injure the health of our Republic.

“Other unhelpful framings of the debate by the so-called pundits posits that Christians in the North are so small in number that their votes don’t count. This strange argument seeks to reinforce the satanic agenda of dividing the church in Nigeria into North and South, and also ignores the fact and reality that Nigeria is evenly split on religious lines. These pundits are still not smart enough to tell us what is in the Muslim-Muslim ticket for southern Christians. The argument also ignores the fact that our official policy excludes religious affiliation from census data. There is therefore no scientific basis for these bizarre conclusions. Let us now look at a model for managing diversity.”

Dogara said he considered the decision by the APC to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket as not a bold, but a  bad decision because it fuels inequality. 

He noted: “We must always bear in mind that the liberty we enjoy is as rare as it is fragile. Inequality has a way of upsetting the balance due to the universal law of cause and effect. Throughout history, every revolution has been waged to either consolidate or destroy inequality. Just like all revolutions, they first seem impossible and then improbable until they become inevitable,” 

“As for the nodding dogs who have sold themselves to lying spirits by deliberately believing in lies or are refusing to accept the truth, rebuke them in love. We may, after all, be dealing with fallen angels. We must never forget that every generation has its own Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses; its prophets of Baal who withstood Elijah; its Sanballats and Tobiahs who withstood Nehemiah; its Esaus whose profanity will drive them to sell their birth rights; its Gehazis who will surrender to seducing spirits in order to feed their greed; its Hamans who will plot to annihilate God’s people: the list goes on. On this class of people, the scripture has already placed a curse, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20.”

 

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