As presidential candidates of the dominant political parties narrow down their search for running mates, Rev. Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, the Director-General, Centre for Justice on Religious and Ethnicity in Nigeria has warned against dividing the country with religion.
Speaking to newsmen in an interview, Dikwa lamented the utterances of some Nigerians over who becomes the running mate to the presidential candidates of political parties for the 2023 general elections.
He said, “These days, I have been reading about who will be the running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the 2023 general elections. I also observed that all the prominent Muslim politicians, northern Muslim governors, Muslim traditional rulers, with their Islamic scholars, saying that if a Muslim from the north is not picked as running mate, they’re not going to vote for him.”
He noted that it meant that it was planned a long time ago by the core northern Muslims to cause confusion in the country if Muslims do not rule the country as President and Vice President.
According to Rev. Dikwa, Nigerians have come to a time where they would unite themselves irrespective of religion or tribe by carrying every part of the country along towards ensuring a formidable nation.
He said that a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim ticket does not speak well on the sincerity of Nigerians in ensuring fairness to all for the progress and development of the country.
He said that it was counter-productive for a country like Nigeria to still believe that it is only a particular religion that has those that can direct the affairs of the country.
According to him, “It is very unfortunate that some preachers are inciting and brainwashing their followers that they have the capacity in the country to produce a President and Vice President.
“Both the PDP and the APC have their presidential candidates as Muslims. Is it not enough to also see the sportsmanship of Christians to vote without thinking of the two being Muslims?
“We have the VCDs of the preachers and now they’re trying to test the ground to implement the agenda.”
He asked, “Does it mean in the entire North there is no capable Christian that has the ability and technical know-how to effectively be a running mate to any of the presidential candidates except Muslims? I strongly expect the Muslim clerics and politicians from the North to see it as their duty to preach unity of both Christians and Muslims to their fellow brothers and sisters for a unified country.”
He further explained, “Christians must stop being afraid but be bold and take their position in this country politically, financially materially and spiritually.
“Christians also have the capacity of producing a Christian President at any time. We have an evidence book of that in our hands. Comparative religious statistics of the West African Region gives a good indication of the numerical strength of Islam vis-a-vis other religious. A country by country profile of Islam, Christianity and Traditional religion is presented in items of percentages by American-based organization, Patrick Johntone’s Operation World 2001: Muslims 41.00%, Christians 52.61%.”
He added, “Another book written by the Nigerian government agency in 2009, with 27 committee members, entitled “Nigeria Ethnic Value”, gives religious statistics between Muslims, Christians and Traditional Religion: Muslims 41.3%, Christians 43.55%, Traditionalists 5.23%. We have written 2 letters concerning this matter to the National Population Commission to give us the truth about these figures but they didn’t respond to our letters till date.
“I have watched governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai’s interview with Channels TV, and he said during the 2019 elections in Kaduna State, he picked his running mate Muslim/Muslim and won. But Governor El-Rufai is not telling Nigerians the strategy he used on Southern Kaduna people, that he stopped the people of the area from coming out to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice.”
He asked: “Is Governor El-Rufai telling us that the same strategy he used on Southern Kaduna people, they are going to use it during the forthcoming 2023 general elections? To use Fulani terrorists, ISWAP and Ansaru’s Jihadists to destabilize other parts of the country in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, especially in the Christian communities or what? Nigerians must caution governor El-Rufai. Is the Owo Church attack in Ondo State a sign of the plan to send terrorists on Nigerians?”