By Uche Amunike
The Catholic church of Nigeria has condemned anything that would encourage having a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria at the forthcoming Presidential elections, come 2023.
This was made known, Tuesday, in a press statement released by the Catholic Church and co-signed by the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi and it’s Director of Social Communications, Michael Nsikak Umoh.
After the presidential primary elections were concluded, the two major contenders in the elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples my Democratic Party (PDP), have been asked to choose Christians as the running mates of their Presidential candidates who are Muslims.
Recent developments however seem to suggest that the ruling APC might go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria, improper as that may seem.
According to the statement issued by the Catholic Church, all parties must understand that the unity of Nigeria has been maintained over the years by what they termed a ‘delicate’ religious and regional balance, hence, the need to avoid the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria.
Part of the statement read: ‘While all this is going on, we must not lose sight of the fact that the unity of this country has, over the years, been maintained by a delicate balancing of the religious and the regional. Even in the despotic military era, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes.’
It further stated: ‘For instance, we had Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe, Abacha – Diya. This also applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigrations, Finance, etc.’
Hear them: ‘Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (31 Dec. 1983-27 Aug. 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship. Similarly, only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. But that government never took off!’
The Church maintained that the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria would not have been a problem had Nigerian not become badly polarized in the past. They cited Kaduna as a case study, saying but the lack of mutual trust, peaceful coexistence and the growing insecurity ravaging the country will make a Muslim-Muslim ticket most insensitive.
They concluded: ‘Ordinarily, there would have been nothing with a Muslim- Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good. But one cannot really say so of our country at the moment.’
‘With the present glaring crisis and division in the nation, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be most insensitive and a tacit endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening this nation’s unity and peaceful coexistence without an arrest.’
‘Going by the Kaduna experience, we can perceive the havoc the Muslim-Muslim ticket has brought upon the predominantly Christian people of Southern Kaduna.’
‘We, therefore, strongly advise those political parties toying with divisive agendas to have a rethink by presenting a more inclusive ticket, while calling on all people of goodwill to resist this budding injustice that may be hatched against a cross section of the people.’