Editor's note: Public affairs analyst, Ayoade Idowu, writes on the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket currently dominating conversations in the ruling All Progressives Congress, arguing that it may be the biggest undoing of the party's presidential candidate and former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The emergence of former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate for the 2023 general election has thrown up a delicate balance that could make or mar his lifetime ambition.
With the agreement by northern governors to throw their weight behind a southerner, eyes were fixed on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as candidates that would not only receive the endorsement of the Christian community but give APC victory.
However, with Tinubu, a southern Muslim, as the winner, many in the north believe that it will take only a northern Muslim as running mate to give the party victory.
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state however blames the media for the hype on the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
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The governor who has been mentioned as a possible running-mate to Tinubu said that the media should be on the lookout for competence, capacity, capability, and delivery.
The Plateau state commissioner of lands, survey, and town planning, Mr.Yakubu Dati, however, disagrees with the Kaduna state governor, saying that in ”a secular and multicultural” country like Nigeria, it is given that broad considerations should be made to accommodate all interest groups in leadership for equity and fairness not only to be done but be seen to have been done.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also warned that it would not accept Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim presidential tickets in 2023 stressing that it is a threat to the fragile peace and unity of Nigeria.
CAN, in a statement signed by its national secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola, advised that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered in the choice of running mates of the presidential candidates and said ‘any party that tries same religion ticket will fail. This is not 1993.
Some however see the Muslim-Muslim as a booby trap for Tinubu to fail and allow power retained in the north.
Leader of Young Professionals of Nigeria, Pastor John Desmond said Nigerians are highly religious and political-minded people.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket issue is dead on arrival and those speculating it are out to cast aspersion on the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Asiwaju having been a bridge builder knows the implication of the Muslim-Muslim ticket. People blackmailing the APC are enemies of Nigeria and their political calculation wouldn’t work.”
Those for the Muslim-Muslim ticket say the possible Christians in the north, including the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara may not be accepted as the political leader of a religious sensitive region.
However, Christians are keen to ensure that there is a balance on the ticket, especially with the fears that have enveloped the country following the murderous activities of herdsmen, Boko Haram, and ISWAP.
The recent dastardly attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo has further fueled the fears of the church and the demand for religious balancing.
As the APC decides on how to maneuver out of this delicate issue, the opposition PDP is waiting to pounce on it and use it as a campaign weapon.
For APC that kept to its promise to shift power to the south, the religious issue is indeed, a tricky one.
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