The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned the country’s major political parties to avoid running for president in 2023 on a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim ticket.
Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola, CAN’s National Secretary, stated on Friday in Abuja that such developments are a threat to Nigeria’s delicate peace and unity.
He did, however, congratulate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and other presidential contenders in the next presidential election.
“CAN encourages that the presidential candidates’ running mates be chosen with a balance of both faith practitioners in mind. We do not buy Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim lottery tickets.
“Politicians can talk politics, but we’ve already announced our position.” Any party that tries to run on the same religion ticket will be defeated. This is not the year 1993. Even if we have an united Muslim/Christian ticket, the church continues to suffer.
“Can you imagine what it’ll be like if we had two Muslims in power?” Nigeria’s current constitution supports religious harmony. So, any political party that wants to run on a Muslim/Muslim ticket does so at their own risk. CAN is just issuing a forewarning, but will issue a categorical statement if our warning is ignored.”
He recommended that Tinubu’s running partner be a Christian from the North, Atiku’s running mate be a Christian from the South, and Obi’s running mate be a Muslim from the North.
“Anything to the contrary indicates that the leaders of these political parties are unconcerned about Nigeria’s unity.” Those considering a Muslim/Muslim ticket can look into the outcome of MKO Abiola and Kingibe’s 1993 ticket. If they try the Muslim/Muslim ticket this time, the result will be even worse because our fault lines are so obvious.
“During the current administration, the CAN leadership pleaded in vain with President Muhammadu Buhari to end the monopoly or dominance of the security architecture by members of the same faith. Now we’re all seeing the results.
“It is clear that Nigeria now is not the same as it was in 1993. By recognizing the North-South divide and religious aspect, our leaders should quit flouting the constitution.
“To those who argue that people don’t care about their leaders’ religions as long as they are competent and credible, we challenge the APC to choose its Presidential running mate from the south and the PDP to choose its own from the north and see what happens.”
“We all know the implications of the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo’s choice of Chief Mrs Oyibo Odinamadu, a fellow Christian and Southerner, as his running mate in 1979. Instead of further polarizing the country, our officials should be doing what would bring us together.”