Reasons Why Tinubu's Candidacy Could Result In Polarising The Country Further Between The Two Major Religious Groups.

The article describes how Bola Tinubu's candidacy could further create division along a religious line in Nigeria.

As the 2023 general election is approaching, eyes are wide open to see the individual that will clinch the APC presidential ticket. However, the popularity of APC has declined greatly considering the fact that they have failed to fulfill most of their campaign promises in both 2015 and 2019, where they promised to provide security, a good economy, and fight corruption. Hence, the tendency for APC to win the election in a free and fair election could be very low.

However, the candidate that would clinch the APC presidential ticket, and other candidates that would do the same across their various political parties - particularly PDP, which is the major opposition party, could determine whether APC could win the election or not.

In a usual Nigerian primary election: consensus or indirect primaries, Tinubu seems to be the most favored candidate to clinch the APC presidential ticket, considering his influence in the party as well as his financial buoyancy. 

However, if he eventually got elected as the party's candidate, the challenge that might come with his candidacy would be in his choice of a running mate.

Nigerians are so sensitive to religion and ethnic balancing when it comes to elections and appointments in government parastatals. Could Tinubu, as a Muslim (although liberal Muslim), resolve to choose a Northern Christian as his running mate, or would he go for a Northern Muslim?

This is a critical choice that he would have to make. If he and his strategists are so power-drunk and wish to retain power, by all means, he could resolve to choose a Northern Muslim as his running mate; in order to secure the votes of Northern Muslims- who are the Northern majority, and as a way of neutralizing the votes of his major opponent in the North.

This decision could result in Christian groups developing the feeling of intimidation, as for a long time have been suspecting Buhari's formed APC as a party with a goal of promoting Islam over other religions, as can evidently be seen in his unbalanced appointments and some of his utterances; which could lead to their active engagement in mobilizing votes against Tinubu in favor of a candidate that has their representation.

The active engagement of Christian groups could also trigger Muslim groups to do the same, making the election look like a religious battle between Christians and Muslims. This polarity could extend beyond the election period regardless of the person who wins the election, if not into a religious crisis.

At this critical moment, Nigeria needs a candidate that will reduce the existing polarity in the country and set her on the path of building bridges and creating unity. Such a candidate must be someone with a deep sense and understanding of inclusive government and must understand the need for unity of the country and demonstrate practical steps that should be taken towards attaining a United Nigeria. 

Just like across all religious and ethnic groups can be found some bad eggs, likewise across all religious and ethnic groups can also be found competent, honest, and trustworthy individuals who are qualified to serve as leaders. It takes an individual who is competent and determined to make a conscious effort to create an inclusive government for all. 

In conclusion, a united Nigeria is possible only when we start to have not sentimental leaders; that are not religious or ethnic bigots; that are not regionalists but nationalists; that is not power-drunk or desperate for power. Those who see every Nigerian as their fellow countryman or woman and those versed with the knowledge of inclusive government.

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