We Must Respect Our Christian Brothers Over Vice President, Group Tells APC, Tinubu
A group of Muslim youths have urged the All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to respect the Christians in its fold with its Vice Presidential ticket.
The Arewa Youths’ Peace Movement made the call on Monday in a statement signed by its convener, Alhaji Kabiru Kadir.
Tinubu’s choice of former Borno State Governor, Kassim Shettima, as running mate has created a huge crack within the ruling party.
A host of APC leaders and stakeholders have kicked against the same faith ticket with some Christian youths matching to the Aso Villa last week to register their displeasure.
Consequently, the former Lagos State Governor postponed the official unveiling of his running mate.
And the Arewa Youths’ Peace Movement has urged Tinubu to go a step further to correct the anomaly by withdrawing Shettima and announce a Christian cleric as his substantive deputy.
According to Alhaji Kadir, this will improve the party’s chances at the next elections, noting that Christians will vote massively for their own.
The group also said they want to ensure a more inclusive, robust and sensitive governance process.
Describing Nigeria as a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country, Kadir said any attempt by one religion to dominate the political structure could only widen the gap of mistrust and destroy the delicate sense of tolerance cultivated over the years.
According to him, the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket was not only ill-timed but also a total disregard for the diversity of the country, noting that it has undermined efforts of well-meaning Nigerians over the years to bridge the religious differences and promote ethnic harmonious co-existence.
In his words, “What the choice of Muslim-Muslim ticket means is that we are now in a mono-religion status. If you look at the APC, the president is Muslim, the presidential candidate is a Muslim, his running mate is a Muslim, the party chairman is a Muslim, deputy chairman is a Muslim. Head of the legislature and judiciary are Muslims. So, when you look at all these, you don’t need to be told.
“The APC can’t deny knowledge of the anger of the people. The worst mistake we can make as a party is to assume that everybody in the North is a Muslim. Saying that the choice reflects the country’s reality is like saying that those in other religions in the North are irrelevant.
“As we all know, the country is evenly divided among Muslims and Christians. So any government that is Muslim-Muslim will be illegitimate and will never gain the respect of Christians.
”This will set a very wrong precedent; it is totally insensitive and even if we win, it will prove bad for good governance.
“This is indeed a betrayal of the advocates of unity and peaceful co-existence with our Christian brothers including notable Imams who had forewarned the Party and the candidate from travelling this treacherous route.”
Kadir said a respected Christian with wide connections will help the country heal once the government comes on board.
He noted that even the Muslims are also afraid that a Musilm-Muslim ticket will escalate the insecurity in the north.
“Terrorists will be emboldened to kill more Christians,” Kadir added while urging the party to avoid the inevitable.
The Muslim youth leader, therefore, warned that genocide could take place in the years to come.
“The APC has always come under the suspicion of our Christian brothers as pursuing an Islamization agenda. Hence the various labels of the APC as Islamic Movement, Islamic brotherhood, janjaweed party, Boko Haram party etc, etc.
“We are afraid that certain ethnic and religious groups could be wiped away should our party retain Shettima. An impending genocide could happen in Nigeria. Let’s save our nation by replacing Shettima with a Christian”.