12th July, 2022
TINUBU-SHETTIMA TICKET: ADDRESS THE CANDIDATE, NOT HIS CREED – MURIC
The Christian Association of Nigeria has threatened to escalate the situation in the country over the choice of a Muslim running mate by the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It will be recalled that the APC torch bearer picked former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his vice presidential candidate.
But in a swift reaction, an Islamic human rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has accused CAN of heating up the polity with its comment on Tinubu’s choice of a running mate. MURIC wants CAN to address the candidate, not his creed.
MURIC’s response was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, 12th July, 2022, by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The group said:
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has come again. As usual, Muslim candidates for the 2023 presidential election are its targets. This time around it is Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate. Tinubu is under CAN’s hammer for picking a Muslim, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his vice presidential candidate and Rev. John Hayab of Kaduna state chapter of the organization is the axe man for CAN.
“We are not surprised by CAN’s verbal halitosis over Tinubu’s choice. The Christian umbrella body is just staying in character. It is always out to oppose any Muslim in power or any Muslim seeking office. That is because CAN will never be satisfied with a Muslim as president of Nigeria. It will not suit its agenda of Nigeria for Christ.
“CAN is simply hungry for power. We know CAN. The group has been canvassing for a Christian running mate not for the benefit of Nigerians but for parochial ends. The idea is to milk the Christian vice presidential candidate if his party wins in the end by claiming that the Christian umbrella body fought for him. It is for political influence, for contracts and for power. We advise CAN to form its own political party.
“Democracy is a game of numbers and every candidate should be allowed to make a free choice. It is not written in the constitution that a candidate must not pick a running mate from his own religious group. Every candidate’s choice is at his own peril. So what’s the big deal? What is CAN afraid of? Its own shadow, of course.
“Nigerians should not allow themselves to be deceived by CAN’s spiritual banditry. We should be looking at a candidate’s pedigree, his integrity and competence. By the same token, a presidential candidate should look for a running mate who has electoral value as well as the relevant experience. CAN’s insistence on Muslim-Christian ticket is motivated by articulated religiousity and tramadolised spirituality. Candidates should not be assessed by their religion.
“CAN talks about fairness and balancing at the national level but ignores the gross lopsidedness in the Christian-Christian regimes of the whole South. Is CAN unaware that all but one of the 17 states in Southern Nigeria have Christian governors? That is 94% for Christians and just 6% for Muslims.
“There are only three (3) Muslim deputy governors in the whole Southern Nigeria (Lagos, Ogun and Oyo) as against fourteen (14) Christian deputy governors. That is 82% for Christians and 18% for Muslims. Ekiti and Ondo states with substantive Muslim population have Christian governors and Christian deputies. This life is give and take. The world goes round by giving and sharing. But why does CAN want to share by force when it is not prepared to give?
“Nigeria has 36 states. Of these, Christian governors are 20 while Muslim governors are just 16. That is 56% for Christians and a paltry 44% for Muslims. Yet CAN is not satisfied and the organisation will always cry ‘marginalisation’ when in actual fact it is taking all the milk and honey in the land. We are waiting for CAN to deny this 20 by 16 computation. But CAN cannot. It dares not because the facts are there, and facts are sacred. Are United States’ senators listening? Is Kukah still there?
“There are 22 Christian deputy governors in Nigeria as against 14 Muslim deputy governors. Mathematicians should put that together and work out the percentage. That is 61% for Christians and just 39% for Muslims. So what is CAN talking about?
“CAN’s charity does not begin at home. That is why it is making so much noise about a Muslim-Muslim ticket at the centre? CAN is not ready to share in the states but it wants to force sharing down our throats at the centre. Is that not double standard? Must CAN take everything?
“Can is simply hungry for power and it is always seeking ways to railroad everyone to have its own way. Bulldozing, blackmailing, harassment and intimidation are CAN’s stock in trade. But the same intimidating CAN is now the one accusing Tinubu of intimidating the Christian group and threatening to escalate the situation.
“Hear Rev. John Hayab, ‘We’ll escalate this issue because our call for fairness and the balancing of the presidential ticket for the sake of justice, unity and fairness apparently fell on deaf ears (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/07/muslim-muslim-ticket-we-cant-be-intimidated-can-tells-tinubu-over-choice-of-shettima-as-running-mate/).
“We are of the opinion that we do not have to sound like bandits before we can make our points, and that is if there is any pointable point at all. Unfortunately CAN is not making any point here. All we see here is a threat. This is too pedestrian. It is jejune. What kind of ‘escalation’ is CAN threatening? We warn that nothing must happen to Tinubu. Shettima must not disappear.
“We warn CAN to leave Tinubu alone. MURIC will respond phrase for phrase and innuendo for innuendo whenever CAN attacks Tinubu or Shettima based on their religion. However, we have no business with references to their party or other official issues. We have no scintilla of doubt that both Tinubu and his running mate, including their political party, have competent officials capable of giving adequate response to political mudslings.
“CAN should stop all references to the religion of Tinubu. Islam is not contesting, Tinubu is. CAN should look beyond religion and focus on Tinubu’s pedigree. The Christian umbrella body will have MURIC to reckon with each time it throws dirt on Tinubu’s religion. Stop heating the polity. Address the candidate, not his creed.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern,