BY JOSEPH Y. CHIBOK
About two months ago, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) came up with a clever and unexpected political move or calculation to help it win next year’s presidential election by deciding that a northern Muslim in the person of former governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State is expected to join forces with southern Muslim candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the crucial 2023 presidential election.
When this decision was announced, it certainly puzzled many Nigerians who felt that this decision was not enough given the religious sensitivities of our country. But party elders and strategists did not drop the message as a take-it-or-leave-it question.
They were neither unaware nor unaware of the sensitivity or gravity of the decision they had just made. They said what was right in their political wisdom for them to say publicly to justify the movement, and what was inappropriate for them to say publicly they left unspoken.
However, painstaking efforts have been made by the party, its apparatchiks and supporters to explain the reasons behind it. It has been said that since the advent of this democratic dispensation in 1999, the majority of Christians in the northeast and north-central areas of the country have consistently and overwhelmingly voted for the PDP in most presidential elections, it does not will therefore be neither wise nor profitable to choose a Christian as the running mate of the APC candidate.
Some analysts have even added a comical line to it saying that as things stand in the political firmament of northern Nigeria, even if a pope is chosen from among northern Christians as a running mate to run for the APC, the party will not. win appreciable mileage from the bet.
The people will vote PDP anyway! It will therefore be more pragmatic to incentivize a constituency which, since 1999, has strongly supported the parties which later formed the APC and the APC since 2015, especially since a Fulani Muslim from the north in the person of Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP, is running for president.
It was aptly explained that in view of this clear reality, the concession of this part of the ticket to northern Muslims was in no way an attempt to punish northern Christians for their political inclination, but clearly a legitimate device of a competitive political party to win a crucial political contest.
No matter how painful that argument seems to you as a patriotic Nigerian who ordinarily would not care about religion or region in the qualifications of a candidate for political office or no matter how much you you feel insulted as a Christian from the North or the South, you cannot blame the truth of this argument. The argument is infallible.
All over the world, serious political parties are entering electoral contests to win. They don’t do it to appease a bruised ego or certain feelings. It is true that in the process of political contests, inevitable bruises are inflicted on some people, groups or individuals and that is why party organs or mechanisms exist to remedy such shortcomings or oversights as the party pursues its campaign. .
When the logic of this APC’s violation of a convention was explained, many reasonable and liberal-minded Nigerians accepted the explanation.
Those who did not fully buy into the argument were quite generous in conceding that a political party of the experience and sophistication of the APC reserves the right to live with the consequences of its decisions if some of its members and antagonists are truly convinced that its decision is terribly bad for the party and/or the country.
The party has decided to move forward with courage and confidence in its consultations, convinced of the validity of its decision. It was not motivated by political or other intentions against any religious group or political constituency. He just wants to win an election he thinks has a good chance of winning!
The performance of his vice-presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, at the recent Nigerian Bar Association conference held in Lagos did so much to convince previous pessimists of his choice of a running mate, that the APC can indeed win the 2023 presidential election despite the doubts. of previous belief.
Some of us therefore believe that it is this positive development for the APC and the efforts it has made so far to maintain its resolve to respect its previous position on the issue of presidential running mates that has caused panic. in the camp of its adversaries, in particular the PDP, which considers that the party self-destructed with the choice of Shettima.
This is why, for the past few days, the PDP has been strongly suspected of being the originator or sponsor of the daily manufacture of groups on groups in the name of an APC Christian group from the north or another with one and one sole purpose: to address a press conference and call on APC to throw out the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The aim is to create hatred for the APC, warm up the political regime and present a scenario that the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is so abhorrent, especially among northern Christians, that the decision be abandoned, otherwise the APC will end up poisoning itself.
As this scheme does not seem to work, the PDP has apparently taken possession of what seems to be its last desperate asset: to use a well-known social media warrior in its arsenal: Reno Omokri, to bring a biblical and apocalyptic account of an Islamic program. of the end times to conquer, dominate and destroy Christianity and enslave all its practitioners on the face of the earth for a millennium if a political party in Nigeria called APC is allowed to fly its Muslim candidate for President and Vice -presidency to run an election!
This is the gist of Mr. Omokri’s article titled ”Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Lessons from the Islamization of Constantinople” published in his ThisDay newspaper’s Tuesday column of September 3, 2023.
No lie can be so blatant, so outrageous to honor an intellectual argument. The truth is that even Reno Omokri himself, for those he runs errands for, including Atiku Abubakar and the whole PDP hierarchy, they know they are embroiled in mischief and deceit of the clearly gullible who may be led by the nose to believe the unbelievable.
No matter how far anyone may seek to stretch the truth in an election year among a credulous people, no one can make sense to say that the presentation of number one or number two men of similar faith in an election is always part of a program to remove other religions from a social regime.
As far as any sane man can see, there is no program anywhere in the world, in the APC, in the Muslim world or anywhere else on planet earth to overthrow Nigeria’s secularism if Tinubu and Shettima win the next year’s elections.
Patriots should discourage Omokri from his senseless scaremongering campaign and focus on presenting Atiku’s plan for Nigeria to Nigerians.
It is equally important to stress that the habitual recourse to the agony of my people in Chibok following the abduction of their daughters by the depraved Boko Haram to slander Shettima will no longer hold water.
Shettima did so much with so little in Borno that people like Omokri resorted to slandering him.
For us in Chibok, the APC under Buhari has done a lot in saving our sisters and daughters from Boko Haram and as I write this, more are still being rescued.
I will urge Omokri to leave the people of Chibok out of his political propaganda, which is primarily driven by malice and envy and to a large extent fear of what Shettima brings to the table due to his ability intellectual.
Chibok writes from Abuja
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