Asiwaju Ahmed BolaTinubu, the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), appears to have reopened the Muslim-Muslim ticket debate for the presidency in 2023.
Tinubu is attempting to persuade party members to support a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the upcoming 2023 presidential election as a viable alternative to his candidacy.
For the past few weeks, the question of who will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari has dominated public discourse and dominated the media.
Also, the main topic in the APC has been who gets the party’s ticket, and this is becoming a more prominent issue on a daily basis, despite the fact that the party has not resolved the issue of its National convention, where the executive that will lead the party to the general elections in 2023 will be elected.
Though the party was said to have zoned the presidency to the South, preferably the South West, where there are three known presidential contenders whose ambitions are becoming very loud, with posters, banners, billboards, and various groups declaring their interests in the presidential race.
The candidates are Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC National Leader, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the current Vice President, and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State.
Only Tinubu, whose structures have been solid on the ground and dispersed throughout the country, particularly in the North and South West, with pockets of support in the South South and South East, is a Muslim.
Tinubu is also the only one of the three who has publicly declared his intention to run, whereas Osinbajo and Fayemi have yet to do so, but a slew of their supporters have erected banners, posters, and held open rallies in anticipation of their open declarations and intentions to run.
Before now, he has been consulting widely, spreading his tentacles across the country and meeting people, particularly in Nigeria’s northern regions, who he believes will support his ambition.
His political and presidential ambitions reportedly drew him to restore the Sir. Ahmadu Bello Library at Arewa House in Kaduna.
This Library has been a massive structure that has served as the Pride of the North to a large extent.
Read Also: Over a N50 billion debt, Access Bank is attempting to seize late Sonny Odogwu’s properties.
This action was noted and applauded, but it was done for a reason and at a cost to the North, which is Tinubu’s presidential target.
Following this remarkable achievement, Tinubu shifted his Birthday colloquium to Kano State for the first time, fueling speculation that he was planning to name the state’s incumbent governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, as his running mate.
Tinubu’s drag net has grown so wide that when some members of the National Assembly went to see him in London for knee surgery, they addressed him as Mr. President.
Though Tinubu is ready to go all out for his Presidential bid on all fronts, the only snag he has is the question of who will be his running mate, which has now become a religious issue, which cannot be ruled out in the current context of who governs Nigeria.
Either a Christian president and a Muslim vice president, or a Muslim president and a Christian vice president, has been the standard. This has been going on since Nigeria’s second Republic, when the country switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system.
Despite this, Tinubu has been working nonstop to change the perception of the Northern cabals in his party, and has made every effort to persuade them that a Muslim-Muslim ticket could work.
The APC leaders’ argument for ruling out Tinubu’s idea was that, because Nigeria is a secular state where the issue of religion cannot be ignored, Muslim-Muslim at the Presidency might not work.
They allegedly argued that they were not comfortable with a Muslim Muslim ticket because they did not want the APC to be seen as a Muslim-only party, given that President Buhari, who will leave in 2023, is a Muslim, and common sense dictated that whoever would succeed him should be a Christian with a Muslim running mate.
The leaders, it was reported, argued that Nigeria is such a delicate country when it comes to religious issues, reminding those calling for Muslim Muslim ticks that when the idea was floated in 2015 that Tinubu should be paired with President Buhari, the issue generated so much heat that it nearly cost the APC the presidency, as many Nigerians, including Muslims, protested.
Although it was argued that the idea worked in 1992 with Chief MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, the circumstances at the time were no longer tenable, given the country’s deep religious polarization.
Tinubu, who has yet to be persuaded by such arguments, is persisting in his belief that the Muslim-Muslim ticket can still win.
This was discussed at his most recent meeting with a new group of Northern elders assembled by his friend, Senator Abu Ibrahim. The elders maintained the APC cabals’ earlier position of not being able to find a sellable Christian in the North to run with him at the parley.
Senator Ibrahim’s gathering of Northern elders for Tinubu was even more strident, as they stated emphatically that they would not accept a Northern Christian to run with him.
They also made Tinubu realize that the South, particularly those in the South West where he is from, should consider whether or not to accept his idea.
Tinubu, on the other hand, assured them that he would choose a Muslim politician from Nigeria’s northwestern region as his running mate. He suggested that they leave the South West to him because he knows how to deal with it, and that the Yoruba would not vote against a Muslim-Muslim ticket if the President is their son.
With what is said to have happened at the most recent meeting with the North, Tinubu is said to have told the elders that the South East and South South don’t matter to him; what matters to him is getting votes from the North East, North West, North Central, and South West, which he believes will be enough to win the presidency.
Despite the fact that it is widely assumed that Tinubu is working hard to achieve these outcomes, a number of prominent politicians and religious leaders have expressed reservations. When called on the phone to comment on Tinubu’s proposed Muslim-Muslim ticket, former PDP chairman in Ogun State, Chief Bayo Dayo, said that in today’s Nigeria, nothing is impossible because there is no longer any moral justification for what people are doing.
“As far as I’m concerned, a Muslim-Muslim ticket is not good for Nigeria,” he said. Neither the Christian-Christian ticket nor the Christian-Christian ticket is valid.
Nigeria has not progressed to that point, and we now live in a country where religion is a major issue; as a result, it will be in the country’s best interests to maintain the current system, in which both religions are represented at the presidency.”
Dr. Yemi Farounbi, a former Ambassador to the Philippines, is also on the list. The Muslim-Muslim ticet would not work in Nigeria, according to BusinessHallmark in a phone conversation. He pointed out that the argument between Abiola and Kingibe, which was always brought up, never came to fruition and never worked.
He argued that, just as the Muslim-Muslim ticket would not work in Nigeria, neither would the Christian-Christian ticket.
“The reason for this is that the differences between Christians and Muslims are more pronounced now than they were previously. There is no longer any tolerance between Muslims and Christians, and there is a lack of trust between those who practice the religions.”
“At this time in Nigeria, all parts of the country would want to be on the Presidential platform to feel secure and protect their people.”
Prophet Titus Oladele, the founder of the Christ is the Light Ministry in Ede Osun State, stated that as far as he is concerned, there is nothing wrong with the President and his Vice-President being of the same religion, as long as they are good, not selfish, and willing to work for Nigeria’s unity and progress.
“However, the problem in Nigeria is that our leaders are insincere and self-centered. As a result, citizens have lost faith in them. Again, we are too sentimental about religion in Nigeria, and such arrangements would not work.”
The issue of religion, according to Dr. Taufeek Ibrahim Alhassan, a renowned Islamic scholar in Ibadan, is what is killing Nigeria and why the country is not progressing.
Based on what is happening in Nigeria, he claims that we no longer trust one another, claiming that “corrupt leaders and politicians are using religion to divide the people against themselves for their own benefit.”