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Muslim-Muslim ticket: Split in northern Christian ranks as group tackles Dogara, Babachir

By Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Saxone Akhaine and Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna)
01 August 2022   |   4:03 am
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, insisted adherents would continue to resist any move to divide the country on religious and ethnic lines.

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Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, insisted adherents would continue to resist any move to divide the country on religious and ethnic lines.

It claimed the country’s unity, which has been undermined by the President Muhammadu Buhari government, is threatened further by the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), urging Nigerians to reject the development.

In a press conference in Kaduna, Secretary General of the northern chapter, Elder Sunday Oibe, said: “We reaffirm our stand against the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society, like Nigeria, considering, especially, the fact that the country has never been this divided along religion and ethnic lines.

“Northern CAN wants to use this medium to call on politicians and political parties to be wary of those who might sneak to meet them secretly, like Nicodemus, in the name of Christian leaders from the north, with the sole aim of wetting their political appetite and in desperation for monetary gains.”

Oibe added: “Northern CAN, as a reputable religious organisation, will never engage in any secret dealing with any politician, as a matter of policy. However, our doors are open to any Nigerian who desires to share with us ideas for moving the country forward.”

BUT a northern body, Coalition of Christian Groups for Good Governance, said the hardline position of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Lawal Babachir, former House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and Adamawa lawmaker, Ishaku Abbo, on the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket was based on selfish interest.

It claimed the truth about Lawal and Dogara’s anger is that none of them was picked as running mate and urged northern Christians to ignore their “divisive tactics” and vote for competent person in the 2023 elections.

In a statement signed by the leader of the coalition, Elder Peter Sati Auta, the group said: “Nigerians, especially the electorate, are wise enough to know that whipping up religious sentiments against any candidate is not the solution to the challenges of insecurity, dwindling economy, insurgency, high unemployment rate, bad governance and other problems militating against progress and development of Nigeria.”

THIS came as a foundation member of the APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, declared northern Christians would not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Okechukwu made this known in Abuja, yesterday, while answering questions from journalists.

Reacting to northern Christians’ outrage over APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, Okechukwu, who is the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), said he shares their anguish and fears on identity politics but knows that, contrary to the speculations of spin doctors, they would not vote for the former Vice President.

He said whatever marginalisation northern Christians suffered, they would suffer no more if APC standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, becomes president in 2023.

He added: “Our first slogan in APC is change. Our mantra is change. We will not remain static, never. We will change whatever is not working. All we ask Nigerians is give us another eight years as you gave our sister political party, the PDP.

“Regarding the northern Christians’ outrage over APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket, if any pundit thinks they will vote for Atiku, my answer is ‘Capital No!’ No matter what, they know he is bringing nothing new to the table.

“Find out, northern Christians do not trust Atiku. They know his cherry-picking antics as per rule of law and rotation convention. They also know his ambivalence on religion.”