The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned the leading political parties to bury the thought of Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 2023 general elections.
The association in a statement issued on Friday by its National Secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola, warned that such development is a threat to the fragile peace and unity of Nigeria.
CAN, however congratulated the presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi and those of other parties participating in the forthcoming presidential election.
The statement read: “We congratulate the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi respectively, including other parties that are participating in the forthcoming presidential election.
“CAN urges that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered in the choice of running mates of the presidential candidates. We do not subscribe to Christian/Christian ticket or Muslim/Muslim ticket. Politicians can talk politics but we have stated our view long before now.
“Any party that tries the same religion ticket will fail. This is not 1993. Even when we have joint Muslim/Christian ticket, the church still goes through hell. Only God knows the number of Christians that have been killed in the last seven years with no one apprehended or prosecuted.
“Imagine how bad it will be if we have two Muslims in power? The extant Nigerian constitution promotes religious balance. So, if any political party wants to try Muslim/Muslim ticket, it’s at it’s own peril. CAN is only forewarning, but will make a categorical statement in the event our warning is not heeded.
“The running mate for the APC presidential candidate should be a Christian from the North, The running mate of the PDP presidential candidate should be a Christian from the South while the Labour Party presidential candidate should choose his own among the Muslims from the North.
“Anything contrary to the above means that the leadership of these political parties do not bother about the unity of this entity called Nigeria. Those who are planning Muslim/Muslim ticket should also find out what was the outcome of MKO Abiola and Kingibe ticket in 1993.
“If they try Muslim/Muslim ticket this time around, the outcome will be worse because our fault lines are very visible.
“There is no party that has no great, good and patriotic Christians who can preside over the affairs of this nation not to talk of being the vice president as some mischievous people are trying to say. If merit and competence are used as yardsticks, we have many qualified Christians in all the 774 local government areas of this country.
“In the ongoing dispensation, CAN leadership cried in vain to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to break the monopoly or dominance of the security architecture with people of the same faith. We are all seeing the outcome now. It is obvious that the Nigeria of today is different from that of 1993.
“Our politicians should stop flouting the constitution by respecting the North and South dichotomy and religious factors. To those arguing that people do not care about the religions of their leaders once they are competent and credible, we dare APC to pick its presidential running mate from the South and PDP pick its own from the North and see what follows.”
“When the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo picked Chief Mrs Oyibo Odinamadu, a fellow Christian and Southerner, as his running mate in 1979, we all know the consequences of his performance in the north. Our politicians should be doing what will unite us instead of what will further polarise the country.”