Soyinka's Fatherly Exhortation and the Debacle of APC Muslim-Muslim Ticket by Oluwafemi Popoola

Soyinka's Fatherly Exhortation and the Debacle of APC Muslim-Muslim Ticket by Oluwafemi Popoola

Editor's note: Oluwafemi Popoola, a political analyst and news aggregator, writes on Professor Wole Soyinka's comments on the All Progressives Congress Muslim-Muslim ticket ahead of the 2023 presidential election. He can be reached via

The controversies that have consistently trailed the same faith ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) got to a new height with the recent interview of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka on Monday, August 22, 2022, when he featured on a programme of Channels TV.

Bola Tinubu's decision to choose a Muslim running mate continues to generate reactions. Photo credit: @OfficialABAT
Source: Twitter

The Muslim-Muslim ticket debate seems not to have gone into thin air as the latest interview of Soyinka dovetailed into an existing engagements in the public space with many already claiming that APC Muslim-Muslim ticket is divisive and insensitive. Other Nigerians posited that it is an abuse of the religious-balanced system which the country has adopted since the 4th Republic began on May 29, 1999.

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It would be recalled that APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Muslim had, on July 10, 2022, chosen a fellow Muslim, Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate.

While a coalition of Northern Christian leaders, Bishop of Calabar, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Nneoji Egbe and Middle-Belt Youths, and even the Christian wing of the APC have all criticized the ticket, warning that it is a threat to the country’s unity and well-being, but on the contrary some APC governors, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila alongside big shots of the party have hailed Tinubu’s choice, boasting that with Shettima, the party’s road to electoral victory has been assured.

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Soyinka, the author of the popular text "Lion and the Jewel" has now joined others who have picked holes in the all Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, warning that the ticket is ill-timed and insensitive. The celebrated poet said it should have been avoided given Nigeria's peculiar situation.

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Wole Soyinka, who many see as the embodiment of knowledge, said the same faith ticket won’t be a problem in a “normal society” and that Nigeria has not attained such a “norm.”

Commenting further, he warned that Muslim-Muslim ticket is insensitive to the plurality of Nigeria's religious and political cultures, advising that politicians must not tamper with that sacred belief so as to avoid unnecessary convoluted religious debates and discussions.

Soyinka who is not an adherent of either Christianity or Islam, concluding, said:

"I know my belief inside of me but I also know what I recognize as very peculiar circumstances of Nigeria’s society at this time and I want to leave it like that."

Who else should know better if not Wole Soyinka who might have understood that the political milieu in this present-day Nigeria is highly sensitive. This is so because Nigeria is a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country with a depressing history of religious wars and riots.

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It should be stated that since the return of democracy from 1999 to present, Nigeria's political parties, with the full understating and in obeisance to this sacred belief, have persistently ensured and structured their candidacy for the apex office in such a way that it accommodates both Muslim and Christian aspirants across different levels of government in the country.

This has become a national ritual and the purpose is to ensure equity and balance in a country divided, not only by religion but ethnic biases. 

A balanced wheel gives you a smooth ride, while an unbalanced wheel is a sure recipe for a rough journey. The Nigerian state will not only set its foot on a rough journey, but would have its sacred sovereignty as a one nation teetering on the precipice if these sacred and fundamental beliefs and patterns that have helped sustained the country for so long be discarded and ignored under the pretentiousness of some wonky political expediency.

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Unfortunately, Tinubu, with his decision to pick a Muslim as his running mate, has got it "all broken" by calling the bluff of the Christian community, which had been pushing for a representation on the APC ticket. Tinubu toed a different path. This selfish, insensitive abhorrent and daring decision has boxed his party into an unsavoury position in the political drama of 2023. But, whatever happens at the polls in February, let it be on record that Kongi warned.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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