APC and Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Why Nigerians Should Loose Sleep By Ogacheko Opaluwa

Finally, President Muhammad Buhari and his northern Nigerian cohorts have unveiled their clan’s clandestine agenda for complete nothernization and Islamization of Nigeria through the recent unveiling of a Muslim-Muslim Presidential/Vice Presidential ticket by their party, the APC. Many politicians and political pundits have spoken for and against the development; providing reasons that in some respects appear logical and plausible, absurd in a few others but out rightly condescending in most that were on offer. For example, most members of the APC would want us to believe that the choice of a
Muslim-Muslim Presidential/Vice-Presidential ticket is in the best interest of Nigeria. According to them, what matters at this point of Nigeria’s challenged evolutionary trajectory is ‘competence’ and not religion or tribe. Are they kidding me? Or do some of these political jobbers masquerading as party men all over the country think that all Nigerians are buffoons? Now tell me, In terms of the much vaunted competence that they are singing about, what manner and quantity of it do both the APC’s Presidential candidate and his anointed Vice possess? Can the socio-economic re-colonization of South West geo-political zone with particular reference to Lagos by an individual or a family under the watchful eyes of a pliable and indulgent crowd of supporters pass for competence? May be we need to remind ourselves here of a few facts. The transformation of Lagos State after many years of neglect by successive military governments began under the watch of the erstwhile Military Administrator of the State, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (RTD). When the current APC Presidential candidate assumed duty as the civilian governor of Lagos State, he used his entire tenure to pour toxic invectives and ‘holy’ vituperations on the military at every turn. Furthermore, his ethno-centric style of governance was in part responsible for the clashes between the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) and Arewa Peoples’ Congress (APC) that almost rendered Lagos State ungovernable before intervention of the same military that he vilified relentlessly. The barrage of insults that he rained down on the military and the person of former President Olusegun Obasanjo directly as he assumed power in 1999 made the Federal Government to initially ignore the governor’s request for military intervention in Lagos State to stop the carnage and wanton destruction of lives and properties by OPC and APC belligerents. It was reported that former President Obasanjo advised the former Governor of Lagos State to employ ‘thugs’ as is his practice, if he liked to solve the security problem of his State since both him (Obasanjo) and the Nigerian military were villains in the eyes of the new Lagos Emperor. It took the intervention of prominent Yoruba personalities; including other well-meaning  Nigerians before the former President finally authorized deployment of troops to the streets of Lagos to assist the Police to restore law and order. I doubt if the former civilian governor and APC’s current Presidential candidate could point to any major achievement throughout his tenure thereafter other than the institutionalization of his colonization agenda. If most Lagosians cannot remember the man’s poor record of governance at the time anymore, at least they should not hurriedly forget  the putrid stench that wafted relentlessly across Lagos landscape from mountains of garbage that were left forlornly on streets as well as many nooks and crannies of Lagos. I therefore wonder what competence can be ascribed to a former Lagos State Governor and now APC’s Presidential candidate that could not manage a simple task as waste disposal. If I must remind us, it took the youthful effort and energies of the current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that succeeded Tinubu as Governor for Lagos State to regain traction of its urban renewal Programme dating back from from Brig-Gen Buba’s days. Equally, former Governor of Lagos State Akinwumi Ambode that succeeded Fashola had begun building on the latter’s efforts before his political adventure was rudely truncated for marching out of steps with their political godfather and the Emperor of Lagos State. This cleared the way for ascension of a ‘yes’ man that kotows willy-nilly to the wishes and caprices of the Emperor as being witnessed currently. Go to Lagos and behold the mess that it has relapsed into currently and you will understand my drift. To the best of my knowledge, former Governor Bola Tinubu was clueless as Governor of Lagos State and therefore cannot lay any claim to competence in governance as far as Nigeria is concerned. I won’t dispute if he is imputed with being an expert in crafting political intrigues, bendalism and advancement of parochial issues in pursuit of selfish and personal political interests. Matter closed or ‘Cike nan’ as his northern political transducers would say. 

As for his controversial Vice designate, the issue of competence does not arise at all as available facts show that Borno State did not fare any better than Lagos under his watch as Governor. If anything, his alleged ‘bromance’ with Boko Haram insurgents and terrorists made insurgency and terrorism to gain ascendancy to its current murderous form under his watch . Also and like his current Principal, he was clueless about ways of securing the State against rising waves of insecurity that was fuelled by Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism. Similarly like his Principal, the Federal Government of Nigeria under former President Goodluck Jonathan was at the butt of his vitriolic and relentless criticism over rising insecurity in Borno State. He is a master of ‘scapegoatism’ and no doubt a grand-master of double-speak; credentials that ostensibly have recommended him easily for his current job. If the  leaked tape of one of his purported conversations with one of his former colleagues from South West geo-political zone is anything to go by, then it aptly revealed a highly divisive character of dubious personage in the VP designate. His words in that audio tape that went viral should have appealed to some saner members of APC that their party’s chosen Vice Presidential
candidate is both an ethnic chauvinist and a pretentious extremists. Given the latent agenda of northern elements of the APC however, one does not need to look far to discern the reasons behind APC’s Presidential cum Vice Presidential candidate choices. I took time to remind us of these few instances in order to debunk the ‘competency’ deceit in a sinister and grand agenda to plunge Nigeria into political and ethno-religious crisis by the thoughtless choices of certain APC stalwarts.
Another response that merits our attention on APC’s choice of a Muslim-Muslim Presidential/VP ticket is that offered by Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah. The cleric had enjoined Nigerians not to lose sleep over APC’s decision to offer the country a Muslim-Muslim Presidential/VP ticket because according to him, it is left for Nigerians to either accept or reject the combination through democratic processes. I know that Bishop Kukah does not voice an opinion on any matter without  careful analysis or scrutiny. Therefore, I am tempted to believe that his opinion on the Muslim-Muslim ticket this time around does not detract from his accustomed ways of expressing an opinion on a burning national discuss. However, I prefer to differ a bit on the opinion that he expressed on this particular matter by saying that Nigerians should lose a lot of sleep over APC’s current choices. I base my difference with the cleric principally on two main premises. First, President Muhammad Buhari’s APC government from all indications does not intend to allow his successor possibly with the Vice to emerge through a transparent, free, fair and credible democratic process despite the hype about efficacy of the  country’s new electoral laws. Rather, the APC party has a grand agenda to win the 2023 genera elections by all means but through transparent and credible democratic process as revealed by the party’s leaked confidential plan for 2023 elections. Nigerians should lose sleep over this sad and unfortunate revelation because it portends a present and grave danger for Nigeria’s shallow democracy that requires a great deal of nurturing to maturity. Secondly and more importantly, I hail from Kogi State where I witnessed the complicity of the Nigerian State (both Kogi State and the Federal Governments) in the massively rigged 2019 gubernatorial election in Kogi State that illegally returned Alhaji Yahaya Bello to Luggard House. In that election, both the Kogi State and Federal Governments’ assets and platforms were employed openly and massively intimidation of voters, murder, arson, snatching of ballot boxes and falsification of election results. The whole world watched in amazement as the political charade unfolded shamefully in Kogi State while the beneficiary of that criminal process still occupies Kogi State Government House till date. To show the funny political circus that Nigeria has degenerated into, Yahaya Bello and many of his ilks unsuccessfully contested for APC’s Presidential ticket recently in attempt to become the President of Nigeria. Therefore, a Federal Government that could condescend to availing its might, assets and platforms to rig a gubernatorial election in Kogi State will stop at nothing to trample on the diverse and oft conflicting interests of Nigerians to achieve its grand politico-religious agenda come 2023. And whether it succeeds or not, this too holds potentials for widening existing ethno-religious fault lines in a manner that may not augur well for our dear country. This also offers enough reason to keep us awake until this evil plan is thwarted and prevented. 
Let me add clearly here that the plot by the Hausa/Fulani northern hegemony to islamize Nigeria has been in the works since independence. It began with incipient evasion of institutions of governance in as many States of the Federation as possibly and the center. As of today, the hegemony has succeeded largely in ensconcing Christians mainly and people of other faiths outside theirs from occupying prominent positions in key public institutions of governance in Nigeria. If any one reading this article thinks that this assertion is false or is an exaggeration, I challenge such to take a cursory look at the ethno-religious profile of the Nigerians that are currently occupying key positions in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government like the Federal Ministries of Finance, Works & Housing, Power, Transport, Defence, Petroleum Reaources, Humanitarian Affairs (that has transmuted to a conduit for funneling public resources into funding APC’s political activities)etc. Let him or her also peep at the top echelons of the Nigerian Ports Authorities (NPA), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the re-organized Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR-under whatever new nomenclature it is currently known), the NNPC,PENCOM etc and see for yourself what I meant. Even the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Police and Para-military agencies that ought to be neutral and apolitical institutions have been deeply sucked into the grand scheme of northernization and Islamization of public institutions in Nigeria. For example, key appointments in Command positions as well as administration and finance appointments are reserved mostly for northern Muslim officers and their drooling acolytes. Officers of more proven competencies, qualifications and experience that are either non-Muslims or not from core northern Nigeria are mostly by-passed during promotions and sidelined subsequently to atrophy into resentful retirements. Meanwhile, mediocre and inexperienced officers whose only qualifications are ‘rightful’ ethnicity and creed are perpetuated in key positions and offices at the pleasure of Service Chiefs and their political masters. Little wonder corruption  is rife in Nigeria’s military and other security agencies currently such that only those that can and are willing to do dirty jobs for the ‘Ogas’ are considered fit for certain appointments. How can any discerning mind beholding all the injustices being perpetrated currently under President Muhammad Buhari and his APC government or the unfolding of a hitherto sinister plan by Hausa/Fulani to hijack Nigeria go to sleep with his or her eyes closed? Let me remind us that the Tinubu/Shettima Muslim-Muslim ticket is not the first under current political dispensation as Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State had against all advices and decorum picked a Muslim woman from Kaduna’s Southern zone as his running mate since 2015. As if to add insult to injury, he has recommended the same woman to his hand-picked successor to continue as Deputy Governor possibly for another 8 years. How else does one define political arrogance, impudence and insensitivity? As it were this type of insensitive action is fast becoming a character of APC governments and the icing of a grand scheme to exclude Nigerian Christians from governance in Nigeria. I can’t blame them for this because for far too long, Nigerian Christians and people of other faiths outside Islam have remained docile and silent in the face of an emergent scheme that some of them have knowingly approved and supported in return for a plate of porridge. Currently, the scheme has gained both form and ascendancy under President Muhammad Buhari who barring any last minute change of heart will  go down as the most divisive President in the annals of Nigeria. Let Nigerians take the assertion by his aides that he did not interfere in the choice of Presidential and VP candidates for APC with a pinch of salt. When some sane and aggrieved members of his party approached President Buhari to draw his attention to potential damages that a Muslim-Muslim ticket could inflict on their party, rather than intervene by persuading the APC Presidential candidate to reconsider his choice in the interest of the nation and their party, he simply endorsed the choice. APC’s concerned stalwarts have no choice but queue behind their party’s candidates while they keep other plans in their chest. The choice no doubt aligns with our taciturn President’s hidden Hausa/Fulani agenda. However, as seen thus far through the lens of the APC, the petulant and selfish political agitation cum agenda of one man provided the opportunity for certain ethno-religious chauvinists in the party to go for the kill by ensuring that one of them emerged as APC’s Vice Presidential candidate. The pity in the whole saga is that the egoistic and self-centered protagonist at the center of it all is a mere political pawn in the hands of his northern cheerleaders. They cunningly threw the noise to him to hang himself politically by allowing him a somewhat goaded choice of a VP. The die is cast and as far as certain northern politicians are concerned, there is no going back neither are they bothered by how others outside their fold feel nor by what they will say. But because Nigeria belongs to all of us and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees fundamental human rights of all citizens equally, Nigerians must collectively resist and prevent any evil plot from any quarters that is capable of throwing the nation into chaos and ultimate ruin. This we must do by insisting that the 2023 elections should be conducted peacefully, fairly and credibly without intrigues or interference by the government or any of its institutions or agencies. Let Nigerians and indeed the world focus their attention on activities of INEC and Nigeria’s security agencies which as we have witnessed repeatedly, have become willing tools in the hands of the government for frustrating democratic wishes of the Nigerian electorate. Let’s tell mischief makers and ‘troublers of Nigeria’ that ‘enough is enough’ and enjoin them to allow Nigerians live peacefully and progressively together as free people destined to achieve greatness irrespective of differences in tribes and creeds. I for one, I promise to abide by the outcomes of 2023 elections provided those that will emerge as winners eventually win through a free, fair and credible election process; including a Muslim President and a Muslim Vice President or a Christian President and a Christian Vice President as the case may be. Let the current APC led government be advised that anything short of this will be unacceptable to majority of Nigerians please.
Ogacheko Opaluwa is a social critic and a freelance journalist. He contributed this piece from Addis Ababa.


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