The National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, says the debate over a purported Muslim-Muslim ticket is a ploy to distract the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
It has been reported that there has been debate over an alleged move by Tinubu to choose a Muslim running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
The Muslim-Muslim ticket bid has generated a barrage of reactions on and off social media as citizens express worries that it would be an unfair move considering the religious status of the country.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, Lukman said he was not surprised to see APC members demonising Tinubu over fear that he could choose a Muslim running mate.
He stated that after the emergence of Tinubu as APC flagbearer for the 2023 elections, the debate regarding the Muslim/Muslim ticket is reproducing the old pre-convention reactionary and conservative campaign.
He said, “As usual, conservative and reactionary ethno-religious considerations are colouring the debate. Question of Muslim–Muslim ticket, implying that another Muslim from the North will most likely be Asiwaju’s running mate.
Leading party members are already becoming strong advocates for or against a so-called Muslim–Muslim ticket. This debate is reproducing the old pre-convention reactionary and conservative campaign.
Given the cheap and reactionary campaign in APC aimed at pushing delegates at the National Convention to copy the PDP by electing a presidential candidate from among Northern leaders, the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu demonstrated the superiority of the APC in providing level playing field to party members to compete and win internal party contests.
If choices of leaders are dictated by ethnoreligious factors, Nigerian politics will continue to be disadvantageous to many sections of the country.
Most of those trying to use religious arguments to influence the choice of running mate for Asiwaju Tinubu are impliedly arguing that a Christian Northerner can only win a presidential election if his/her running mate is a Muslim from Southern Nigeria.
In the same way, this will be politically disadvantageous, if not impossible for any Christian from the North or Muslim from the South to win the presidential election. Such a backward national mindset must be changed.”