Divergent reactions have continued to trail the controversial Muslim-Muslim Presidential and Vice-President candidacy of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
In an interview with us in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, some viewed the move as a misnomer, while others argued that there was nothing wrong with the ticket, arguing that what matters is performance and good governance.
A retired Permanent Secretary in the Kwara State civil service, Prince Ayo Fagbemi said, “time to end this nonsense is now,” adding that Tinubu donated to churches, sponsored pastors and contributed millions of dollars to the welfare of Christians and they never rejected him because of his religion as a Muslim.
Fagbemi said, “he helped several Christians and empowered them financially and politically, CAN and PFN did not call him a Muslim when he nominated Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a Pentecostal pastor as Vice-President, the Christians did not call him by his religion, but sang his praises.
“CAN is playing religious cards because two pastors contested and lost to Tinubu in the just concluded APC presidential primary election.
“By God’s grace, we will massively vote for Tinubu in 2023.”
A Professor of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Hassan Salihu, raised two issues.
According to him, “One, conventionally, the pairing of persons of the same faith is a misnomer in view of our political trajectory. Two, realistically and based on geo-political consideration, there is nothing untoward about it.”
Professor Salihu, however, explained that “peeping into the other big party, PDP, one would like to caution the ruling APC not to be insensitive.”
“Of course, the problems of Nigeria, no doubt, were caused by Muslims and Christians and I do not see how faith considerations alone could be a solution to our problems,” he contended.
Also reacting, A Professor of Criminology and Security Studies, Joseph Odekunle Fayeye of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, described Nigeria as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-party and heterogeneous country.
“The APC governors who agreed on power shift from the North to the South would be a group of bigots if they permit a mono-religious Presidential and Vice-Presidential ticket.
“It is an invitation to anarchy that is worse than Boko Haram terrorists’ syndrome. Nigeria should remain a nation where no people or group is oppressed in any guise whatsoever,” he warned.
Professor Yomi Omotoso, of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, simply said, “I am indifferent to the ticket. All of us are Nigerians, that is what matters.”
In his own view, a patent medicine dealer and estate agent, Yusuf Olasunkanmi Hakeem, said, “there is nothing bad in the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
“Christians will not support or vote for him in the South East and even in some parts of the North dominated by Christians, hence the decision by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to pick a Muslim Vice President candidate is in order.
“His running mate is well loved in the North and will make the difference,” he added.