2023: What Tinubu Failed To Factor Into His Equation And The Concerns Of The Christians

An analysis on the APC's Muslim-Muslim ticket and the concerns of the Christians; and how it will affect Tinubu's political career.

It is a fact that Nigerian political history has certain scenarios where the same faith tickets were used in presidential elections, which have not generated as many controversies as it does now. Apart from the famous Abiola-Kingibe ticket, there were other instances where top political parties fielded the same faith ticket and have not generated uproar. For instance, In the 1979 presidential elections, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of NPP chose Dr. Ishaya Audu as running mate ( both were Christians). Similarly, UPN fielded Obafemi Awolowo as a presidential candidate and Philip Umeadi as a Vice presidential candidate- and both were Christians too. More recently, in the 2011 general elections, ACN, arguably the 2nd strongest party at the time- in terms of existing structures, fielded Nuhu Ribadu and Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola (and both were Muslims).

Moreover, even in the famous referenced same faith ticket of 1993 elections, where Abiola picked Babagana Kingibe as running mate, both of whom were Muslims. Yet, they received massive votes from both Northern and southern Christians. That was why they won in many states with a Christian majority like Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Anambra, etc. If the Christians were clouded with religious bigotry, they could have boycotted Abiola and voted for Bashir Tofa, who picked a Christian (Sylvester Ugoh) as running mate.

Meanwhile, one can say that the current Christian uproar against APC's Muslim-Muslim ticket is not so much about the Muslim-Muslim ticket itself (even though the Constitution has made provisions for equal representation in government among the diverse groups in the country in order to promote national unity, sense of belonging and loyalty to the Federation), rather it's about the injustices meted against the Christians community by the ruling party in terms of poor representation of Christians in the government, and the dominance of Muslims in key and strategic positions; making Christians feel neglected and their existence and freedom of faith at risk. More so, the APC keep on claiming that they make their selection based on competence- indirectly insulting the Christian community that they are not competent. This, of course, will suggest to any right-thinking Christian that there's a conspiracy against the Christians, coupled with the fact that President Buhari, before his election, has vowed on several occasions to support the implementation of Sharia law across the country if elected. 

Secondly, the obvious failure of the ruling party that has subjected millions of Nigerians to abject poverty, hunger, and insecurity is another reason for the uproar and anger. Having damaged the economy, peace, and unity of the country, they still opted- for an option that'll divide the country further just to get back to power by hook or by crook. Tinubu believes that the spirit of 1993 is going to play out in his own favor; as such, he chose to replicate the Abiola strategy, but this time around, to divide the country along religious lines with the hope that it will work out for him to win his presidential ambition. There's also a concern that they may likely use the power of incumbency to rig the election.

However, Tinubu and his strategists have failed to factor into their equation the fact that the Nigeria of 30 years back (1993) is not the same as the Nigeria of today. Nigeria today is divided so much along the religious line already. So, a little thing can set her up on fire! But he neglected that fact and went ahead.

Moreover, Nigerians today are more informed than they were in 1993; not all of them, of course, but many are. They have more understanding of the principles of good governance and the tricks and strategies of incompetent and desperate politicians in order to get power by hook and by crook. As such, they can make a well-informed decision on choosing the right candidate except for those beclouded with religion or tribal bigotry and those who are more concerned about their belly than they are about good governance, their freedom, and security.

In 1993, Abiola's strategy inarguably worked out for him because, at the time, people- especially the Southerners were not so much conscious about religion in politics. They were majorly concerned about competency and regional/ tribal representation. At the same time, their Northern counterparts were majorly concerned about religion and regional representation. So, Abiola leveraged that reality. With the Muslim- Muslim ticket, he won even in the Christian majority states, as shown by the unofficial results.

But today, can APC boast of winning the states mentioned above with their Muslim-Muslim ticket? And after failing woefully in their nearly eight years in power? Certainly not! Except if they'll rig the election, which will be a very dangerous attempt to do at this time! Similarly, the failure of Buhari's government has opened the eyes of many Northern Muslims; and they have realized how APC used religion to deceive them in 2015. As such, they could not make such an Ill-informed choice again.  

Meanwhile, the decision of Tinubu and his strategists at a time when Nigeria is polarised shows his desperation to just become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I had foreseen his trick since April 2022, even before the APC's primary elections, which made me write an article titled: " Reasons why Tinubu's candidacy could further polarise this country along the religious line,"; which I also published on this platform. I didn't write it simply because I wanted to write or because I was afraid that He would win, but because of the chaos I saw created in the country before, during, and after the elections; in order to send a warning to avert it, so as to promote the peace, unity, and stability of the country. Moreover, the chaos and heated arguments that are currently going on are nothing compared to the chaos that could happen peradventure; the ruling party's attempt to use her incumbency might rig the election or cause electoral irregularities, as is commonly the case in Nigeria's elections.  

Nevertheless, in a free and fair election, Tinubu's strategy this time would not work out for him. It will lead to his straight defeat. Therefore, well-meaning Nigerians should not lose their focus on championing their credible candidates. Keep moving forward, sensitizing, get your PVC ready and make Nigeria great again by voting in credible, competent, and nonpower- drunk leaders. Most importantly, let's continue to pray for Nigeria's stability. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Y. A. WAKAWA

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