ONDO State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has said that concerns generated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential election should not matter to people from the Southern part of the country.
The governor said this in Akure on Wednesday.
He urged Nigerians to vote for competence noting that the faith of the vice president does not affect performance in any government.
While expressing confidence that the party’s presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu would rescue the nation, he noted that the work stops at the President’s table.
“Muslim-Muslim ticket has nothing to do with performance. Let’s vote for someone that can do something. The work stops at the table of the President,” he said.
“It is the President that you are voting for. He decides what happens. Whether it’s a Muslim/Muslim or Christian/Christian, it should not matter to us in the South because we fought for this.
“I have no doubt that given the opportunity, from what he has done in Lagos, Asiwaju Tinubu will turn things around for the better.”
Angry reactions have continued to trail Tinubu’s choice of former Borno State governor Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and many Nigerians have rejected a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.
On Tuesday, some Christian political leaders within the APC also expressed their rejection of Tinubu’s running mate.
In a communique signed by Doknan Sheni, the Christian leaders, under the aegis of Christians of Northern Extraction in the All Progressive Congress, said they could not go back to their various constituencies to campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
They noted that notable Imams in the North had “forewarned the party and the candidate from travelling the treacherous route” of same faith ticket.
Nigeria, they noted, is a multi-religious and a constitutional democracy and not a theocracy with religion as a major national fault line which cannot be manipulated without dire political consequences on the peaceful co-existence as a people.
They also said the current Nigerian environment is different from what was obtainable in 1993 when Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, both Muslims, contested as president and vice-president.
They went ahead to observe that “there was never a President Abiola nor vice President Kingibe.”
“The selection of a Muslim running mate is a display of crass insensitivity to the complexity of modern Nigeria and the entire Church. It is also a betrayal of the advocates of unity and peaceful co-existence with our Muslim brothers including notable Imams who had forewarned the Party (APC) and the candidate from travelling that treacherous route,” the communique read.
According to the communique, the APC has always been suspected by Christians of pursuing an Islamisation agenda, and a Muslim-Muslim ticket would lend credence to the suspicion.
The group accused the party of throwing its Christians candidates across the nation, under the bus.
Noting that the president, the national chairman, deputy chairman north, the senate president, the speaker and deputy speaker, and now both the presidential candidate and running mate, are all Muslims, the Christian leaders wondered if Muslims would accept the arrangement if the situation was reversed.
The Tinubu-Shettima ticket, they said, has violated a section of the APC Constitution which states that it “will guarantee equal opportunity for all, mutual and peaceful co-existence, respect and understanding, eliminating all forms of discrimination and social injustice among Nigerians”.
They, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure justice, equity and fair play in the interest of the peace and stability of the nation and save the party from disintegration.
“We are disheartened that someone who wants to be a leader for all sections of the country is resorting to religious exclusivism as a tool for winning an election. This will certainly result in a massive revolt against the party. Leadership is all about inclusiveness, justice and equity.”