Wednesday, 27th September 2023

Muslim/Muslim ticket: Moment of truth

By Abiodun Olusoga Fanoro
12 August 2022   |   3:59 am
The argument about the joint Muslim ticket of both the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential and vice presidential candidates Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Kashim Shettima respectively...

L – R: Shettima and Tinubu. Photo/

The argument about the joint Muslim ticket of both the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential and vice presidential candidates Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Kashim Shettima respectively, has no doubt assumed a national discourse which has unnecessarily and regrettably dislocated burning national priorities that by now should solely arrest our attention and task our intellect as well as our problem solving capacities as a country and patriots.

The argument has not only been over-flogged, it has been subjected to all manners of abuse, ranging from bigotry, hypocrisy to being, a tool for promoting divisiveness, as never witnessed before, to instrument of fuelling fears and heightening tension, even on a larger scale than the perceived ill-feelings and insensitivity alleged by Christian-protagonist of a ‘balanced’ Aso Rock ticket.
Before further puncturing the rather sandy foundation of pro-Christian advocate of APC’s vice presidential slot, it is important for me to sincerely acknowledge the tragic and hydra-headed nation-wide insecurity that has snuffed life out of several thousands fellow compatriots, threw innumerable families into tears,, unending mourning and permanent suffering ; Christians and Muslim alike. May the Almighty God mercifully heal these wounds, amen!
When I said Christian and Muslim alike, this is not to say I am oblivious of the existence of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and its brother Islamic State of West Africa Province, with chronic anti-Christian and anti-Western civilisation agenda, in whose bloody hands souls of several thousands Christians have fallen and hundreds of their Islamic brethren also fell victims.

In all the outcries greeting the APC’s decision, one missing element that is supposed to be the kernel of the argument against, and very strategic in advancing the narrative further, is, what are those thing a Christian vice president stands to exclusively give or secure exclusively for the Nigerian Christiandom? What would Christians lose or be denied access to in Tinubu Presidency; a Tinubu who in principle, ideology, orientation and in practice, is more Christian than those who profess Christianity merely by mouth and what they can profit from it! Who controls the Presidency, the principal or the vice principal?
If there is cause for fear, it is most likely that it ought to come from the Muslims who without equivocation know within their heart that Tinubu is half Muslim and half Christian (by all the afore-mentioned indices) and with a wife-pastor as ‘First Lady’ in the Presidency, added to the fact that it is the principal that is naturally in-charge in the Presidency, then the Presidency is in full control by Christianity.
It is also pertinent to ask the Christian-protagonists who have been around since the Second Republic when faith-balancing act came into our political history, what uncommon benefits have accrued solely and exclusively to Nigerian Christians, since we have been having these slots! During the Eight years of Pastor Olusegun Obasanjo (because Obasanjo went to Bible/pastoral college) and Six years of former President Goodluck Jonathan, what special good luck peculiar only to Christians, were extended to us!

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has Been in Aso Rock, where he was also Acting President, in what unique way has this improved the welfare of Christians or added value to our lives in a special way? What special Christian solution has Pastor Osinbajo that he failed to present or was prevented from presenting to the joint presidency on how to tackle insecurity and other man-made evils bedeviling Nigeria, which a new Christian VP is to present in 2023? Or what blue-print to deal with these challenges that it is only during the tenure of a 2023 Christian VP, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria or any other Christian group, would have access to submitting ?
I guess the only thing my fellow Christians may lose in the absence of a Christian VP, is a vice president who will do night vigils for them in Aso Rock. But let us find out how much of this VP Osinbajo has done in the past seven years and where are the results, in terms of what accrued to Nigerian Christians? If it is night vigils, let me assure the Nigerian Christiandom, that they will not miss them, because Pastor ‘First Lady’ Oluremi Tinubu will, more than Pastor Osnbajo, hold more vigils at the Villa, as she will have more time than a VP with a daily busy schedule!
It is very unfortunate that genuine Christians who are supposed to know or speak the truth about the true solution to Nigerian problems have ether kept mute or joined the conspiracy against truth. Lets ask the simple question. In southern Nigeria where all the governors are Christians, what peculiar achievements have they recorded? What have they done differently in the lives of Christians in their domain? If we like let us make all the 36 states’ governors, the president and the VP Christians, no paradise would be created, until we have a genuine individual and national rebirth and renaissance. Or is it Christianity that will fix our refineries, energy and power, transform and diversify the economy, create jobs, end individual, corporate, institutional, private and public-sector corruption?

At this juncture, it is very germane to take a critical look at the ongoing gang-up by holier than thou former Secretary to the Federal Government, Lawal Babachir (SSG) and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, whipping up emotions and sentiments against Bola Tinubu and APC, in the name of fairness, equity and justice.
Both Babachir and Dogora want others to see fairness and justice only from their own definition of serving their own selfish interest. Was it not the same Babachir few days to the APC Presidential primary who shouted down Bola Tinubu for daring to exercise his right to raise the alarm to the effect that a gentle-man agreement was about to be broken when the power that be was doing everything to prevent him from contesting for the primary which he eventually won. That the former SSG lost out in that round, it was expected he would not give up.

The same goes for Dogara, who few weeks ago lined up crowd clamoring for him to be made Tinubu’s running-mate, the same crowd he and Babachir took to Abuja few weeks after in the borrowed name of APC Northern Christians.
Fanoro, a journalist, wrote from Lagos.
By this corrupt use of APC Northern Christians, the duo have consciously, more than any time before, divided northern Nigeria along an irreparable and more dangerous religious line. What is likely to follow is that Muslims in the other half will come out to draw their own line! Can the country afford this again in the face of what we are visibly going through today?
Babachir and Dogara like others have the fundamental right to dissent, which they should wait to give action to during voting. It is within the constitutional right of Tinubu and his party to pick a VP candidate, once they acted within the rules and regulations of the Electoral law. This right must be respected and could only be ‘disrespected’ or objected to on the election day, when voting. Or if Babachir and Dogara are impatient to wait for the election day they could approach the court.

To my Christian brethren shouting equity, fairness and justice, I urge them to truly stand for the truth always. If that is done, then let us further use the same template to find out the equity, justice and fairness in reserving Sundays and Saturdays as work-free day for Christians and only lately Muslims were allowed half day on Fridays!
We may also need to confess to Jesus Christ that we are equity, justice and fairness compliant, when Nigeria’s official language of conducting services in all our offices, including in our embassies in Islamic countries is English and why teaching in all educational institutions from the primary to the tertiary level, public and private, is conducted not in Arabic language!
We should not start what may become a bottomless pit. Indeed I remember what God says in the Book of Jeremiah 32 verse 27 that, He is GOD of ALL FLESH that is He is God of ALL nations, ALL races, ALL religions, etc. Or is God lying? NO, no and no, it shall never be, He can never lie, we are the ones lying and distorting to suit us. We preach and clamor for equity, justice and fairness when it suits us.
Fanoro, a journalist, wrote from Lagos.