By Ismail Mudashir (Abuja), Ahmed Mohammed (Bauchi) & Abdullateef Aliyu, (Lagos)
A former Secretary to the Federation Government (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, explained why he and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, met with the former military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, about religion Muslim. All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim post.
Lawal and Dogara, who are the main leaders of the APC, had opposed the selection of a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, by the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as running mate.
Recently, a summit of the APC Northern Christian Forum was held in Abuja, where representatives and delegates from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), rejected the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
Daily Trust reports that Lawal and Dogara engaged in high-level consultations against the ruling party’s like-minded presidential ticket.
On Monday, they were in Minna, in the state of Niger, where they met Babangida and the former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar.
The meeting, according to Dogara’s media aide, Turaki Hassan, was also attended by a former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba.
In a telephone interview with Daily Trust, Babachir, said they were in Minna to greet retired General Abdulsalami, who has just returned to the country after a medical trip, also took the opportunity to return visit to General Babangida.
He also said the Muslim-Muslim ticket issue was discussed.
“But there’s no way we’ll be there without the issue of the Muslim-Muslim ticket coming up. It came up and naturally we discussed it.
“For us Christians in the North, the Muslim-Muslim ticket is existential. It is designed to oppress us, kill us and eliminate us from political and economic systems. There is no other reason. This was done to isolate us from any political, economic and educational advantage of this country.
“As a member with the APC card, it is the PVC that counts in this matter and not the APC membership because the party card will not vote,” he said.
When asked if they were considering leaving the APC, Babachir said that apart from BoT and NEC, Dogara and I are members of all other party organs. We are APC, but even at that you can choose whatever you want.
“Remember that in the last campaign; even President Buhari said that we should vote for the candidates of our choice. Did he rescind that statement? Party members will vote for the candidates of their choice,” Babachir said.
On his relationship with Tinubu after rejecting his choice of Shettima, he said: “Since I publicly objected to the ticket, Tinubu and I have not spoken. When two friends meet at a crossroads, they can decide to take different paths.
I don’t care about the Muslim-Muslim ticket but…- Soyinka
Meanwhile, Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has said he doesn’t care if Nigeria’s next president and vice president are from the same religion, tribe or village.
He spoke about the controversy surrounding the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket during an interview on Channels TV followed by our correspondent.
The famous playwright, however, said the decision might be ill-timed given the sensitivity of the issue and the fact that Nigeria has not really come of age.
He said, “I don’t care if the president, vice president, president, etc. they all come from the same village, they have the same religion, they belong to the same tribe.
“If, however, it is transparently, absolutely, indisputably, it is a kind of genius breed that has been given to the nation and to the world. As long as the capacity of the individuals who participate in governance is proven, and that it is clear that there is no alternative, that is my position.
He said the controversy generated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket in the APC would not have arisen in a normal society.
“Now we are talking about a society that is normal, what institutions are normal… Is Nigeria normal?” he asked.
He stressed that those arguing for a same-religion ticket should be “very sensitive to the very particular circumstances of Nigeria”, saying it would have been better to explore the alternative the country is used to.