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2023: Will Tinubu Risk a Muslim/Muslim Ticket?



By Eric Elezuo
When on Monday, June 6, 2022, the former governor of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, won the ticket to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 Presidential Election, the question of will 2023 be the year of Tinubu or the Year of the Yoruba was answered. It proved that a Tinubu, representing the Yoruba race of Nigeria will be on the ballot paper.
Tinubu’s emergence brings to regurgitation the feeling of the last time the presidency berthed at the doorsteps of Yorubaland, which was in 1999, and it stayed till 2007 when President Olusegun Obasanjo relinquished power and handed over to late President Umar Musa Yar’dua. However, the best the Yoruba nation has gone ever since was the vice presidential slot, as presently occupied by Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who lost to Tinubu in the presidential primaries.
But Tinubu’s emergence though against the wish of the south and eastern parts of Nigeria, has since ceased to be news. What is paramount in the minds of the generality of the Nigerian public is the choice of a presidential running mate. Presently, every finger has pointed to Tinubu choosing a Muslim like himself as running mate, an equation that greatly negates the principle of Nigerianism as hitherto practiced in the country. This is to give a sense of belonging to the two most influential religions in Nigeria.
It is never happened that leaders of the same faith occupied the president and vice president positions of the country. In 1979 when the Second Republic took off, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, a Muslim from the north choose, Sir Alex Ekwueme, a Christian from the south. In 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian from the south was president while Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a Muslim from the north was vice president. In 2007, Alhaji Musa Yar’dua, a Muslim from the north settled with Dr Goodluck Jonathan from the south as vice. When Yar’dua died in 2010, and Jonathan became president, he complemented his office with Namadi Sambo as vice president. In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari became president, and chose Osinbajo, a Christian from the south as vice. The trend has been unending, and the country has not experienced same faith presidency.
However, there was an exception, which though never fully materialised in 1993, when the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate, Chief Moshood Abiola, a Muslim from the south, chose Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, another Muslim, but from the north as running mate. Both candidates from winning from the few results announced before General Ibrahim Babangida, the then military president, annulled the entire process. The Muslim/Muslim ticket of Abiola and Kingibe was not allowed to come fruition.
Today, the environment that allowed the Muslin/Muslim ticket of Abiola and Kingibe seem not to be at play presently as Nigerians are more awake to the ethnic and religious diversities in the country. Consequently, voices are rising in protest of any form of acquiescence to Muslim/Muslim ticket as that appears the best option available to the APC and its presidential candidate, Tinubu.
Meanwhile, like his counterparts in the PDP, and the Labour party, who had settled for their running mates, with considerations to the geo-political locations and religion, Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, is still held up in the confusion of who to choose as presidential candidate to replace the place holder, Alhaji Masari, also a Muslim. The permutations coming out of his camp, and the APC family, have noted that there seems to be no suitable Christian candidate to take up the slot.
Shortly after his election as the flag bearer, Tinubu began the search for his running mate with a meeting with northern governors, where observers said he was expected to make a pick his running mate from.

However, Christian politicians have warned against running on a Muslim-Muslim ticket. The fear was raised by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and directed particularly to the APC flag bearer.

Among the likely persons Tinubu would consider are the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai and Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje. While these two have shown character in the emergence of Tinubu as the presidential candidate, they may however, not be considered as a result of their religion, which corresponds with the presidential candidate. The choice of any of the two governors, would veritably augur well for the party as they have a firm grip on their states, especially Ganduje, whose state unofficially accounts for the highest number of voters.

But should the APC and Tinubu decide to look the Christian way, which is the ideal thing to do, given the situation, for a running mate, the likes of Simon Lalong of Plateau State, who happens to be the only Christian governor under the APC in the north, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who observers have credited as the ‘most visible functionary in the presidency’, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, a man touted as replica of discipline, deligence and performance given his pedigree of public service, and his meritorious four years as the number four citizen of the country.

Though seasoned technocrats, who can hold their own any day, observers however, do not reckon with Lalong as a potential vote influencer, more so he is seen as a strong ally of a former presidential aspirant, Chibuike Amaechi, and that may work for or against him as he did not support Tinubu’s emergence. Dogara, on his part, remains the option ever since he returned to the APC from the PDP.

But a source has hinted that the Muslim-Muslim agenda is the preference of the North as they do not see any potential Christian with the charisma to galvanise voters, and guarantee victory for the APC.

Some arguments deduced in favour of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is escapulated in this statement from a northern stakeholder:

“There’s no Christian who can match Kashim Shettima in the entire North. Dogara can’t win more than Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in Bauchi State. The SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, is neither Hausa nor Fulani and can’t win in multi-ethnic Adamawa State.

“Lalong is neither Hausa nor Fulani stock, so the majority Hausa Fulani may not accept him. Let’s look at the turn of events, something tells me it will be a Muslim/ Muslim ticket.

Tinubu, since 2007 when he left office as the Governor of Lagos State, has remained unlike many of his contemporaries, in the corridors of power. Though he has not held any political position since then, but he has remained a powerful force to reckon with, especially in the Southwest region, with extra special emphasis to his immediate jurisdiction, Lagos.
Tinubu, many has reasoned, has a hand in the electoral victory or political appointment of many south-westerners; many of the political elites have stood on his shoulders to stardom, that is why he is touted as one of the deftest political leaders today in Nigeria.
Those in the know say that it was his political sagacity that helped to ensure that his former party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) formed an alliance with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which led to the birth of the current ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Tinubu is one of the founders of the APC, and a force behind the ousting of a sitting president in 2015, and the installation of Buhari. He is reputed to have practically seen all the colours and intrigues of political maneuvers, and one wonders why it is still difficult choosing a running mate suitable to balance the geo-political equation of Nigeria..

He served as governor of Lagos State after the return of civil rule in 1999 following the death of General Sani Abacha in 1998. He ruled Lagos for two terms of eight years, establishing political and infrastructural landmarks that have stood the test of time. In fact, Lagos, as a state, is striving and functioning with the blue print he created.

Prior to becoming the Governor of Lagos in 1999, Tinubu, who celebrated his 70th birthday March 29, 2022, had a short spell in the National Assembly as Senator representing Lagos West before the Abacha junta took over the reins of power in November, 1993. He subsequently went into exile from where he joined in the fight for the restoration of the June 12, 1993 mandate of Chief Moshood Abiola.

He is said to be highly experienced in political matters, and can rightly be addressed as a political juggernaut. Most stakeholders believe like Tinubu himself that it is his turn to be president as compensation for having worked very hard to bring about the APC as a party and the Buhari presidency.

But, like he is fit and qualified, the same way he has backlogs that will definitely drag him back, and may eventually cost him the opportunity and the presidency, especially if he risks the controversial Muslim/Muslim ticket.

But according to the President of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima, Muslim/Muslim ticket is inevitable for the APC under the current circumstance though he agreed that Muslim-Muslim ticket is not ideal.

He noted that “As it is today, considering the numerical strength of Muslim North, it will amount to a big risk and gamble for Tinubu to pick a non-Muslim from the North as his running mate. It is not because it is what I want but nobody can afford to gamble with a non-Muslim and expect a typical Northern Muslim to support that. It will be difficult, not because some of us want it that way, but that is the reality. I am sure if the APC had their way, they could have put a Christian from the North but considering the fact that there is mutual suspicion between Muslims and Christians in the North, it will be difficult for that to happen.”

Meanwhile, groups are rising in protest of the Muslim/Muslim ticket. The National Coalition for Democracy Peace and Unity (NCDPU) is one of the groups that has the idea of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu picking a Muslim as running mate .

According to the group ,there was no need for the palpable tension caused by the Muslim-Muslim ticket rumours at this critical period. It also urged Tinubu to avoid being put under by few selfish persons to pick a running Mate against the wish of Nigerians .

The group stated this in a Communique issued at the end on a one-day political summit held on Sunday at Epitome Hotel, Barnawa, Kaduna State, with the theme “The 2023 Presidential Elections; Need for a United and Peaceful Nigeria”. They resolved to work with only political parties and candidates with considerations for the diversity and regional interests of Nigeria.

The Communique jointly signed by the National Coordinator and Secretary; Comrade Ibrahim Ringim and Comrade Peter Emmanuel further reads: “As concerned democrats, we are deeply worried about the potential threats and political crisis that would be created if the ruling party resolved to consider a Muslim-Muslim ticket during the forthcoming 2023 Presidential elections.

“The need for the political summit was informed by the palpable tension stirred up by regional agitations and the impending crisis the idea of Muslim-Muslim ticket could cause. Thus, we are asking all political parties to strike a balance along religious and ethnic for a united and peaceful Coexistence.”

Other political parties have toed this line except the APC and its flag bearer, Tinubu. The combination may likely work against him if he risk the attempt.

“If APC goes otherwise, it will not only discourage Christians in the party and electorate that are willing to vote the party during the election, but might also create a disharmony that will force them to vote other parties with balanced candidates.

“At this critical moment where the corporate existence of Nigeria is threatened, the emphasis on the unity and progress should be paramount importance to all political parties and Presidential Candidate,” the group insisted.

Opposition to the Muslim/Muslim ticket intention of the APC and Tinubu is not only from the south and Christians, but also from Muslims in the north. A group, the Northern Nigeria’s Front for Equity and Good Governance, has also rejected the proposed Muslim/Muslim ticket as running mate to the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The Leader  of the Group, Zakariya Abdul’aziz, while addressing a press conference in Kaduna, noted that religion had never been the voting pattern of the North.

According to him, the North has always participated in national politics as a diverse but united entity with common goals, adding that the voting pattern had been nationalistic without regard to “sectional, ethnic and religious considerations.”.

He explained that it was disturbing that “some few voices” were  attempting to speak for the North using religion and ethnicity over the choice of political parties’ candidates and their running mates.

Specifically, Abdul’aziz noted that the ongoing debate on Muslim-Muslim tickets was not only divisive but unfortunate, urging Tinubu not to risk the intention.

Again, Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, who is a former special adviser to the late Kaduna State Governor, Ibrahim Yakowa on Islamic Matters and Hajj, Sheik Haliru Maraya, said it was wrong for any Muslim to support a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He said a one faith joint ticket was at variance with the spirit of justice entrenched in Islam, stressing those promoting the Muslim-Muslim ticket do not wish the country well.

“I don’t think there is a Muslim who will support a Christian-Christian presidential ticket. Undoubtedly, the Muslims would cry out for the perpetration of injustice against them. Hence, it is wrong for a Muslim to support a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as it is at variance with the spirit of justice which the religion of Islam promotes and defends at all times.

“Those promoting the idea of a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential ticket, in today’s Nigeria, do not wish the country well, especially now that it is divided along religious fault lines. I wonder what the country would be should the various agitations in the land assume

“For a political party to have Muslims as its national chairman, presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate, such a party is indeed not in a position to say it promotes and defends the spirit of justice, fairness and equity…” the cleric said.

The Nigeria Democracy Defence Watch, on its part, warned that a Muslim/Muslim ticket would adversely affect its fortune. 

Speaking through its National Coordinator and National Secretary, Ahmed Adamu and Adeniji Adegoke, in a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the group said the plan would portray Nigeria as an Islamic and sectarian nation.

Again, President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said anybody contemplating that alternative was not thinking about the sensitivity of Nigerians and the situation at hand. He noted that Nigeria is currently polarised so much that such a move is capable of inflaming the country beyond anybody’s control.

The coming days will revealed the state of mind of Tinubu, who just returned from medical vacation in France, and his party, APC in choosing the presidential running mate.

It is obvious Nigerians do not believe that the scenario that enabled the 1993 situation is no longer at work, and so a Muslim/Muslim ticket  for Tinubu or anyone else may be the beginning of doom for the party.

Time will surely tell.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu




Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

The Punch

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje




The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday




A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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