Selfish Northern govs pushed Tinubu into same-faith ticket — Sheni, Northern APC Christian leader

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LEADER of Christian members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 19 states of the North, Professor Doknan Sheni, shed more light on why they were against the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the party for the 2023 poll.

In an exclusive interview , Professor Sheni, who regretted that some Northern APC governors convinced Tinubu to go for same faith ticket, said the development could cost the party the presidency and other positions across the country.

Lamenting that APC had been discriminating against Christians in sharing of positions, he said if Tinubu wins the 2023 poll after President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years, a Northern Muslim might succeed Tinubu, which means the country would have Muslim presidents for 24 unbroken years.

Prof Sheni spoke as Deputy National Chairman of the APC (North-West), Alhaji Salihu Mohammed Lukman, said the leadership of the party considered all factors before arriving at the decision, and assured that Tinubu will protect the interest of all Nigerians if elected.

This came on a day the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, refused to be drawn into the same-faith ticket controversy, which it dismissed as political parties’ internal affair.

A pro-democracy group, The Nigerian Agenda for Inclusion, TNAI, dared Tinubu to test the feelings of the Muslim community in Lagos State with a Christian-Christian governorship ticket.

Specifically, the ACF said same-faith ticket ought not generate controversies because apart from the MKO Abiola/Bashir Tofa June 12, 1993 Muslim-Muslim ticket, late Chief Obafemi Awolwo fielded a southern, Christian-Christian ticket and late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe also had a Christian-Christian ticket.

Indeed, renowned Muslim scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, said the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket is not a wise decision and is already provoking religious distrust in the country.

Professor Sheni, whose group held an emergency meeting and issued a strong communiqué against the same-faith ticket, told Vanguard why they took the decision.

“We are concerned that if we do not speak out now, and then a political/religious crossfire occurs, we may end up like Lebanon. God forbid. We don’t want a religious war in Nigeria. We already fought a civil war, now people are suffering economic issues. Presently; people are suffering various types of issues in the country. Why do we choose to add religion on top of our politics?

“Unfortunately, Tinubu was convinced to pick a Muslim running mate. We are members of the APC. With the development, our party may lose the election. We are concerned as Christians in the North because if the Christians totally boycott APC, the implication is that our other aspirants or candidates at the Houses of Assembly, governorship, and National Assembly would all lose elections even in areas where they would have won convincingly because there are dominant Christian votes. If those Christians decide to migrate to other parties, our party will lose and we will become the opposition just because of religious politics.

“Our party has a very bad image among the Christians. They look at us as an Islamic party. Look at the security structure, they are taken by Muslims. Look at our party, the current president is a Muslim, and the party chairman is a Muslim. Every officer of the party is a Muslim except one who is an assistant secretary, others are all Muslims. Does it mean Christians don’t exist in the North? That is discrimination.

On Tinubu’s promise to be fair to all, if elected, he said: “ Why can’t he be fair now? Why is he waiting to be fair later on? Do you know the implication of that? President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim, he ruled for eight years, after him, if Asiwaju emerges, he is a Muslim, he would rule for eight years. When power comes back to the North, it will be a Muslim ruling for another eight years. That means in the next 24 years, we would only have Muslim presidents of Nigeria.”

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