Amid rumoured attempts by major political parties in the country to present a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Rev. Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, Director-General, Centre for Justice on Religious and Ethnicity in Nigeria, has warned that such moves will further threaten the unity of Nigeria.
Dikwa, in an interview with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, said political parties, particularly the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party have to be very cautious in selecting vice-presidential candidates and not allow religion to divide the country.
He said: “These days, I have been reading about who will be the running mate for the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the 2023 general elections.
“I have also observed that prominent Muslim politicians, northern Muslim governors, Muslim traditional rulers with their Islamic scholars including other Muslims on the streets and their petty traders are saying that if a Muslim from the north is not selected as running mate to Tinubu, they’re not going to vote for him. This is an issue of great concern to us because this means two Islamic adherents are at the helm of affairs.”
The cleric alleged that the Muslim-Muslim ticket has been a long-term agenda of core Northern Muslims.
He said, “It has been planned by the core northern Muslims to cause confusion in this country; they want Muslims to rule the country as President and Vice President.
“We have the VCDs of the preachers on how they are teaching and now they’re trying to test the ground to implement the agenda.”
However, Dikwa said Nigeria is on a precipice and this is the time to unite irrespective of religion or tribe by ensuring equal representation of every part of the country in leadership.
He added that a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim ticket does not speak well of the sincerity of Nigerians in ensuring fairness to all for the progress and development of the country.
He lamented that it is counterproductive for some sets of persons, to believe that only people of a particular religion can pilot the affairs of a country like Nigeria with its diversity and peculiarities.
He said, “It is very unfortunate that some preachers are inciting and brainwashing their followers that they have the capacity in the country to produce President and Vice President.
“We should not at this time start thinking that if a Muslim or Christian is not selected as the running mate to presidential candidate, we will not vote. Meanwhile, both the PDP and APC have the presidential candidates as Muslims.
“Does it mean in the entire North there is no capable Christian that has the ability and technical know-how to effectively be a running mate to any of the presidential candidates except Muslims?
“I strongly expect the Muslim clerics and politicians from the North to see it as their duty to preach unity of both Christians and Muslims to their fellow brothers and sisters for a unified country.”
He, however, urged Christians to stop being afraid but be bold and courageous to take key political positions in the country.
“Christians have the capacity of producing a Christian President at any time. We have the numerical strength, we have strong candidates too.”