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2023: The speculations on a Muslim-Muslim Ticket

2023: The speculations on a Muslim-Muslim Ticket

For a week now, there have been several arguments and many speculations in the physical and cyberspace about the presidential flagbearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu, picking a Muslim from the North as his Vice Presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 elections. Months before the ruling party conducted its presidential primary, social media was already awash with these speculations.

Nigeria is a very fragile country. People have their sentiments which they do not take with levity. Inclinations are prioritized in the selection of leaders. Any plan to segregate people with certain religious beliefs or cultural identities from the upper echelon of power may always seem like trying to evoke social tension, which makes it look like we are heading towards belligerence.

Even several Christian groups have warned against it and insisted that such would not be tolerated. On May 15, 2022, the Pentecostal Fellowship Nigeria (PFN) warned PDP, and APC against pitching Muslim-Muslim candidates, and also stated that Nigerian Christians wouldn’t vote for such people. Even the Apex Christian religious group, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) warned the two political heavyweights to desist from trying a Muslim-Muslim ticket and insisted on a balance in the choice of running mates.

But making these speculations at this time isn’t healthy for our kind of politics. So far, none of the presidential candidates have made any announcements on their running mates. At this stage, we shouldn’t be wallowing with this kind of assertion.

The only politician who has made a stand on the Muslim-Muslim Ticket is the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai. During an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today, he stated that it wasn’t a problem and that there should be no emphasis on religion when it comes to governance but on competence.

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But questions need to be posed on El-Rufai’s statement. Has competence always been a benchmark for choosing running mates in Nigeria’s political landscape? Is competence limited to a specific religion or region? Why support a Muslim-Muslim ticket based on competency? What if it was a Christian-Christian Ticket, is the same religion ticket then healthy for a multi-religious nation like Nigeria? Let’s not forget that this is a diverse society where everyone wants a sense of belonging. At this critical point in time, we are in, selling the idea of a Muslim-Muslim Ticket to the populace isn’t okay at all. 

Pitching a Muslim-Muslim ticket may only be for a voting advantage, but why risk such in a country that’s very volatile. It would only further divide the country that they are claiming they would unite. Performance may have nothing to do with religion or region, but everyone across the divides should be given a level-playing ground in key leadership positions.

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