GOVERNOR Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, clarified that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was not done to undermine the Christians’ influence or relevance, but a calculated political strategy to win the Presidential election in 2023.
This came on a day an Islamic body known as Osun Muslim Community, OSMC, yesterday, described the noise over APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, especially by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, as unnecessary.
Allaying the fears of Christians in the country over the controversy the ticket has generated, Fayemi said the choice of a Muslim running mate for the APC Presidential candidate was not because there were no competent Christian politicians from the North, as being erroneously peddled in some quarters.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the new executives of CAN, Ekiti State chapter, led by its Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Aribasoye, the governor said there are so many competent Christians in the North and all over Nigeria.
He also noted that the responsibility of the church where social justice is being preached should include looking at the challenges being faced by Christians and seeking how good governance can address and improve upon them.
His words: “Many Christians see politics as a dirty game, and for this reason are disengaged from the political process. It’s time for us to realize that there are compelling reasons for Christians to participate in politics. In my own opinion, whatever makes us good Christians makes us good citizens.
“You raised a matter that is agitating the minds of many Christians, particularly Christians, who are not in politics but I can tell you that Christians who are in politics are equally concerned about the matter you have raised about the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Not so much because of faith but because of fair representation and representation in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural setting is always going to be an issue of concern. But I have also had cause to discuss this with our political associates and our fathers in the Lord.
“But where we are now, my plea with Christians is to do that which is expected of us. Yes, the agitation must continue and on my part as a Christian, I have been talking to both the Presidential candidate and other leaders of the party that we need to take quick steps that we should have taken earlier by approaching the leadership in Christendom and explain the context of the selection that was about to happen. Even if they don’t agree with our choice, they would have seen the sincerity of purpose and understood that the decision was not on the ground of competence because we have competent Christians all over Nigeria but on grounds of strategic political moves, which is what we do in politics. We have to look at scenarios and calculate where the votes would come from, it is a game of numbers.
“I think it is time for Christians to move away from the theology of disengagement – the notion that politics is dirty and that it is not for a child of God. When serious Christians committed to the ideals of social justice and the common good turn away from politics, they open the door for unprincipled opportunists to take power. Fortunately, not all of us can or will be in elective office. Not all of us have to. What matters is for each of us to find our place in the move to build our nation and be faithful to the demands of that task.”
Earlier, the new Chairman of CAN in the state, Dr Aribasoye who had commended the governor’s generosity to CAN in Ekiti, said the church was not in any way comfortable with the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party, describing it as a “cause for concern.”
Meanwhile, the Osun Muslim Community advised CAN to float a political forum that will concentrate on party politics rather than using the religious platform to play partisan politics.
Addressing a press conference to herald activities to mark 1444 Hijrah in Osogbo, OSMC’s President, Sheikh Mustapha Olawuyi said: “If people are not satisfied with the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket, they should vote for another party, there is no need for these noises.
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