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APC: Tinubu reopens Nigeria’s old wounds

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Ondo Attack: Tinubu donates N75m to church, survivors, victims's families

By OLUSESAN LAOYE

It appears now that the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Asiwaju Ahmed BolaTinubu has re-opened the Muslim-Muslim ticket debate for the presidency in 2023.

Tinubu is trying to convince the members of the party for the adoption of a Muslim- Muslim ticket in the coming 2023 Presidential election as solution to his candidacy.

For the past few weeks, the issue of who becomes the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari, has dominated the public space and awash in the media.

Also, what has been the main topic in the APC, is who grabs the ticket of the party, and this is becoming a pronounced issue on daily basis, despite the fact that the party has not settled the issue of its National convention, where the executive that would pilot the party to the 2023 general elections, would be elected.

Though the party was said to have zoned the presidency to the South, preferably, the South West, where there are three known contenders, whose ambitions are becoming very loud, with their posters, banners, billboards and their different groups pronouncing their interests, in the presidential race.

The aspirants are the APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the current Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Governor of Ekiti State Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Out of the three, only Tinubu whose structures have been solid on ground and scattered all over the country, especially in the North and the South West, with pockets of supporters in South South and South East is a Muslim.

Also of all the three, it is Tinubu who has now openly declared his intention to run, while Osinbajo and Fayemi are yet to to publicly made their intentions known, but array of their supporters have laid out their banners, posters and have as well engaged in open rallies awaiting their open declaration and interests to run.

Before now, he has been consulting widely, spreading his tentacles to the areas and meeting people, especially, those in the Northern parts of Nigeria, whom he believes would favour his aspiration.

It was said that his political and Presidential ambition drew him to refurbished the ancient Sir. Ahmadu Bello Library at the Arewa House in Kaduna.

This Library has been a monumental edifice, which to a large extent, has been the Pride of the North.

This action of his, was noted and applauded but it was with a purpose and a price to be paid for, by the North, which is the presidential target of Tinubu.

Also after this singular feat, Tinubu for the first time shifted his Birthday colloquium to Kano State, which heightened the speculation that he was planning to pick the incumbent Governor of the State, Abdullahi Ganduje has his running mate.

Tinubu’s drag net has been so wide now, that even when some legislators at the National Assembly went to visit him in London, where he went for a knee surgery, they bade him good bye, addressing him as Mr. President.

Though Tinubu is set to fully roll out the drums, from all fronts for his Presidential ambition, the only snag he has is the issue of who would be his running mate and this now centered on religion, which cannot be ruled out in the present context of who govern Nigeria.

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The standard has been either a Christian President and a Muslim vice or a Muslim President and a Christian vice. This has been on since the second Republic, when Nigeria moved from the parliamentary system to the Presidential.

Despite this, Tinubu is not relenting, and he has been working round the clock to change that impression by the Northern cabals in his party, and making all moves to convince them that Muslim-Muslim, ticket could work.

The argument of the leaders in APC for tying to rule out Tinubu’s idea, was the believe that Nigeria being a secular state, where the issue of religion could not be waved aside, Muslim-Muslim at the Presidency may not work.

It was said that they argued that they were not comfortable with Muslim Muslim ticket because they would not want the APC to be portrayed as a party favourable to Muslim alone, since President Buhari who would leave in 2023, is a Muslim, while common sense dictated that whoever would take over in the party, should be a Christian with a Muslim running mate.

The leaders, it was said argued that Nigeria is such a delicate country when it comes to the issue of religion and reminded those clamouring for Muslim Muslim ticked that when the idea was moved in 2015 that Tinubu should be paired with President Buhari that the issue generated so much heat that nearly cost the APC the presidency, as many Nigerians, even, Muslims kicked against it.

Although it was argued that the idea worked in 1992 with Chief MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, the circumstances then was no more tenable, that the country has so much been polarized with religious sentiments.

Tinubu who could not be convinced with such arguments, is till pressing on, believing that the Muslim-Muslim ticket could still work.

This informed the latest meeting held with a new group of Northern elders called together for him by his friend, Senator Abu Ibrahim. At the parley the elders maintained the earlier position of the APC cabals of not being able to find a sellable Christian in the North to run with him.

The stand of the Northern elders put together for Tinubu by Senator Ibrahim, was even more stringent as they emphatically said, they would not accept a Northern Christian to run with him.

They also made Tinubu to realise that accepting his idea or otherwise by the South, should be considered, especially those in the South West where he comes from.

Tinubu however assured them that he would pick a Muslim politician from the North West of Nigeria, as a running mate. He said they should leave the South West for him that he knows how to handle that and believed that the Yoruba would not go against Muslim-Muslim ticket provided the President is their son.

With what was said to have transpired at the latest meeting with the North, Tinubu is said to have told the elders that the South East and the South South do not matter but what matters to him is to get votes from the North East, North West, North Central and the south West, which to him would be comfortable to win the presidency.

Although, it was believed that Tinubu is working hard to achieve these permutations, feelers from notable politicians, religious leaders defer. For instance the former PDP chairman in Ogun State Chief Bayo Dayo when called on phone, to react to the proposed Muslim-Muslim ticket of Tinubu, said in Nigeria of today, there is nothing impossible because there is no more moral justification for what people are doing.

He argued “as far as I am concerned, Muslim- Muslim ticket is not good for Nigeria. Neither is Christian- Christian ticket good as well.

Nigeria has not grown to that stage and we are in a country where the issue of religion is a big issue and as such, it will be in the best interest of the country to continue with the present system where both religions are represented at the presidency”

Also the former Ambassador to the Philippine, Dr. Yemi Farounbi In a telephone conversation, with BusinessHallmark said that the Muslim-Muslim ticķet would not work in Nigeria. He pointed out that the argument of Abiola and Kingibe always being referred to, never came to reality and it never worked.

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He argued that just as the Muslim- Muslim ticket would not work in a country like Nigeria, Christian-Christians ticket would not work either.

“The reason why this could not be so now, is that the differences between Christians and Muslims are more pronounced now than before. Tolerance between Muslims and Christians no longer present and there is now low level of trust between the people who practiced the religions”

“As far as Nigeria is concerned presently, all parts would want to be on the Presidential platform to feel secured and to protect their people.”

In his own reaction, the founder of the Christ is the Light Ministry in Ede Osun State, Prophet Titus Oladele said that as far as he was concerned, he saw nothing wrong in the President and his Vice coming from the same religion, as far as they are good, not selfish and ready to work for the unity and progress of Nigeria.

“But the problem here in Nigeria is that our leaders are not sincere and they are selfish. This, has resulted in the citizens not trusting them. Again we are too sentimental about religion in Nigeria which could not make that type of arrangements work”

A renowned Islamic scholar in Ibadan, Dr. Taufeek Ibrahim Alhassan told the Business Hallmark that what is killing Nigeria and why the country is not moving forward is the issue of religion.

He said that we no longer trust one another based on what is happening in Nigeria, saying, “corrupt leaders and politicians are the one using religion to divide the people against themselves for their own benefits”

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