The political parties have submitted the names of their presidential candidates and their running mates to INEC, with little surprises. For the PDP, it is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for the APC it is Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Kabir Masari, for the Labour Party it is Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Doyin Okupe, while Comrade Omoyele Sowore is holding sway at African Action Congress.
In my very humble view, the PDP has shown tremendous organizational skill in relation to its presidential primary election and the choice of candidates whereas the APC gives the impression of a political party that is not ready, is not organized or that is simply playing on Nigerians. In relation to our topic however, two political parties seem to be daring the people of Nigeria in the area of power rotation, that is the APC and the Labour Party. The APC has chosen a Muslim-Muslim ticket whilst the LP has chosen a Christian-Christian Southern ticket, as if both organisations live in space and are totally oblivious of the trend of things in Nigeria.
Sadly enough, it was the same day that the APC announced its religiously imbalanced ticket that the people of Nigeria were in mournful mood for the mass burial of those massacred by suspected Islamic extremists, who are said not to be genuine practitioners of Islam and are not true followers of Allah. But the APC should not have shoved it in our faces with such reckless disregard. Has the APC become an extension of the Miyeti Allah group with its Muslim/Muslim contraption? What exactly is the message that this renegade party is seeking to pass to the good people of Nigeria? Having defrauded us all with its crafty Manifesto since 2015 and ran the economy of Nigeria aground, this monstrous entity is now seeking to play upon the fault lines of the Nigerian people to trigger the sensibilities of our fragile nation with its bigoted ticket.
And what do we say about His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, who claims to be leading a revolution but seeks to take Nigeria back decades in time. Is he contesting election as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church or President of Christian Association of Nigeria? In what way will his tribal alliance with Dr. Doyin Okupe advance the course of unity of Nigeria or even douse the religious tension that the Buhari administration has foisted upon us since 2015? Is he not aware that the entire Northern region of Nigeria hosts a large population of Muslims or does he intend to expel them from his own Nigeria if at all he wins the election? What about the Islamic adherents from their home States of Anambra and Ogun and indeed all over the Southern part of Nigeria? Are they all to be ostracized from the LP administration? If he cannot by now secure a trusted Muslim from the Northern part of Nigeria to balance his ticket, should that not be enough message to Obi that his time is not ripe, notwithstanding the so-called alliance being trumpeted without substance?
It is insulting enough that the APC and LP should even dare to announce their unholy combos in this fashion but it is more distasteful to term them as holding or placement options. If that were to be the case, then Obi should have just announced any Muslim from the North as his running mate and Tinubu should have announced any Christian from the North as well, since they would eventually be changed in any case. To announce a Muslim/Muslim or Christian/Christian pairing at all is a sign of the danger ahead of us for 2023.
In other words, both political parties intend to keep the voters in some kind of guess work, to enable them indulge in clandestine manipulations, such as has happened in the Yobe North Senatorial District, where the APC supplanted the will of the people to smuggle in the name of Dr. Ahmed Lawan who was dusted at the presidential primary election. From all indications, we are back to the 2015 era of forced dilemma, where there is no viable option to rescue Nigeria, from what the politicians have submitted to us as their choices. If you vote for the APC Muslim/Muslim ticket, it is a continuation of the terror upon other faiths, whilst if you vote for the PDP, it will be a confirmation of the long-held notion that political power resides in the North.
And Peter Obi, who should have proved the best option, is going about it as if he is not prepared for the race at all. He seems too much of a lone ranger, banking upon the disenchantment of the people with the status quo (which he is undeniably part of) to garner sympathy and support for a national election in which he is contending with political giants as they are called. This was part of the reason for the clamouring for restructuring ahead of the 2023 elections, if we are to save the nation Nigeria.
Now let me share with you the thoughts of some friends and patriots on this matter:
Gani Muhammed Ajowa:
I am not surprised at this post Comrade, you once led agitation for a Christian Governor in Lagos too.
Gani Muhammed Ajowa go and sleep. Everywhere in the world including America, religion is a big issue at election time, ask Joe Biden. Or you can’t remember the 2nd Catholic President narrative and how it was used? Even Kamala and the issue of minorities was a narrative. Okay, tell Gov Sanwo Olu of Lagos to replace his Deputy Hamzat with a Christian deputy right away. You keep posting insensitive narratives when it’s convenient or favours you all the time. Sentiment apart, he is making sense with what he is saying.
To be continued tomorrow
Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).