In July 2022, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, picked Kashim Shettima, former Borno governor, as his running mate.
That decision led to a barrage outcry from APC members and Nigerians, especially the Christian community.
They berated the former Lagos governor for picking a fellow Muslim as his running mate, saying his decision could create religious tension in the country.
This has led some of them to withdraw their support for the APC presidential flag bearer. While some have defected to other parties, others remain in APC but announced they would not back Tinubu's presidential bid.
Here are some of the prominent APC chieftains who have withdrawn their support for Tinubu:
1. Babachir Lawal, former SGF
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, played a frontline role in the emergence of Tinubu as the APC flag bearer.
He, however, stood against the APC's Muslim-Muslim ticket.
On Wednesday, November 23, the APC chieftain finally pledged to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, though he will remain in APC.
2. Yakubu Dogara
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has also spoken against the APC's Muslim-Muslim ticket.
While Dogara and former SGF Lawal align in their position against the same faith ticket, it is not clear yet whether the former Speaker is also backing Atiku for the presidency in 2023.
3. Senator Ishaku Abbo, Adamawa North
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Shortly after the announcement of Shettima as Tinubu's running mate, Ishaku Abbo, the senator representing Adamawa North, resigned his membership from the campaign group of the APC flagbearer.
The senator described Tinubu's choice of Shettima as "extremely irresponsible", adding that he will oppose the APC's same-faith ticket.
Abbo said Tinubu has refused to learn from his predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, who opted for a Christian running mate in 2015.
4. Daniel Bwala
He was eventually appointed as campaign spokesman for the opposition party's presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Bwala said he left the APC based on principles and convictions that he held so dear.
5. Tonye Princewill
Tonye Princewill, a former governorship candidate of the party in Rivers state and close ally of the immediate past minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Prince Tonye Princewill, has also dumped Tinubu and the APC over the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Tonye said he could not defend the decision of his party to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket against public outcry by well-meaning Nigerians.
6. Kenneth Okonkwo
Similarly, a popular Nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo, resigned from the APC after condemning Tinubu’s decision.
He stated that APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket would permanently destroy the political viability of Christians in the North if allowed to stand.
The Nollywood actor is now backing the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
CAN speaks on APC's Muslim-Muslim ticket
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body of the Christian faithful in Nigeria, has said he is yet to shift ground on its position on the APC's same faith ticket.
However, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the CAN president, said the religious body is trying to watch its paths to avoid being partisan in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election.
“We have not changed our position (on same-faith ticket). If we want to change any position, we’ll let the Nigerian public know. And so, when people read insinuations in the social media, I will advise that people to come verify, and to be sure that what you see out there is truly the position of CAN," he said.