The stance against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) by aggrieved members became all the more resolved over the weekend, after Northern Christian leaders concluded arrangements to adopt any of the leading presidential candidates of the opposition political parties as their consensus candidate in the 2023 poll.
This group, led by the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, disclosed yesterday that they have agreed to work with their Muslim counterparts in the North to adopt one of the opposition presidential candidates in a bid to defeat APC’s same faith ticket which they stand against.
Some APC Christian leaders had kicked against their party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket earlier in, claiming that the single faith ticket would exclude them from holding positions in the party.
Sources said the concerned politicians were considering Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party’s (LP) Peter Obi and New Nigerian Peoples Party’s (NNPP) Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who have respectively presented a Muslim-Christian joint ticket, as their consensus candidate.
The resolution was contained in a communiqué jointly signed by a former deputy governor of Sokoto State and the Minister of Water Resources during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mukhari Shagari and Dogara.
The communiqué, released yesterday, was the outcome of their consultative meeting and dialogue between Northern APC Christian leaders and Northern Muslim political leaders held on Saturday at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.
The APC Northern Christian leaders claimed that the resolution had the full backing and support of their members across the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It reads: “We have agreed to work together with a view to fostering unity, peace and national cohesion; to work together and jointly adopt a pan-Nigerian political platform that will engender unity, inclusiveness and a sense of belonging among the Nigerian citizenry.
“Conscious of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural configuration of Nigeria, we believe that a same faith ticket and voting along religious lines may trigger dangerous dimensions of negative consequences among our disparate peoples in ways that will hamper nation building.
“Consequently, we have agreed to channel our energies on matters that unite us more as a people instead of encouraging attacks on sensitive issues bordering on religion in the name of politics.
“In view of the above, we have agreed to set up a committee with the mandate to fashion out strategies for advancing the objectives set forth in this resolution.”
Some of those present at the meeting included Boni Haruna, Abdulfatah Ahmed, Damishi Sango, Senator Idris Ahmed Umar, Yomi Awoniyi, Simon Achuba, Ummara Kumalia and Baba Shehu Agaie.
Still on the issue of the same faith ticket, an APC chieftain in Ondo State, Prince Biyi Boroyo, urged the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to meet with Christians in the Southwest region to assuage their feelings over the same faith ticket.
Boroyo advised Tinubu not to take the silence of many Christians in the Southwest, especially Christian members of the APC, as acceptance of the choice of a Muslim running mate.
“There are salient issues that have to be addressed, especially the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Many APC Christian leaders are just keeping quiet. I have interacted with them. The Christians in APC need to meet with the presidential candidate.
“The people will vote for Tinubu if the right thing is done. Southwest is predominantly Christian. There will be a commitment to the party but some of them have to be convinced why they should trust a man who does not trust in their faith. Those are the issues. The sentiment that Tinubu comes from Yoruba is not enough. Many of us get insulted about the action of a Muslim-Muslim ticket,” he said.