Plans by Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket has been rejected by a Northern group.
The Northern Nigeria’s Front for Equity and Good Governance frowned at a Muslim-Muslim ticket and went ahead to endorse the Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, as running mate to the APC presidential candidate for the sake of equity and justice.
The Leader of the Group, Zakariya Abdul’aziz, while addressing a press conference in Kaduna on Friday, 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.”
“Northerners have always voted inclusively without reservations,” he added.
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.
He further stated that it was untrue that only Muslim-Muslim ticket could guarantee victory for the ruling APC in the 2023 presidential election, noting that those flying such kite were merely portraying the region as “insensitive” in the current effort to conclude nomination exercise in some political parties.
Going down memory lane, Abdul’aziz said the region had always voted their choice without religious considerations or reservations.
He said, “For instance, in 1979, Northerners across the North voted for the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari without divisive considerations. During the 1993 aborted elections, the North again voted dispassionately with the late MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe as winners. In the same vein, in 1999, the two major candidates were equally massively voted for in the North despite their being Yoruba, Christians and Southerners. This unique pattern ensured the victory of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003 as well as former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 respectively.
“As a group, we are very concerned and disturbed by the utterances of some few voices that have attempted to push out their narratives (using religion and ethnicity) under the guise of speaking for the North over the choice of political candidates and their running mates.
“In particular, we find it very divisive, careless and callous for some persons to say that the choice of a Christian from the North will not guarantee Northern votes for political parties.
“For instance, they have brazenly and openly said that only the choice of a Muslim-Muslim from the the North as running mate to the candidate of the ruling party can guarantee the votes of the North.
“In other words, they are saying that a Muslim-Muslim ticket is the only way to victory for the ruling party. This is misleading and very unfortunate.
“The position is not only incorrect but an attempt to mislead the good choice of the region into thinking that religion or ethnicity is the major determining factor for the voting pattern of the North.
“Again, such very unfortunate voices seem to destroy the foundation of unity, oneness and equity which the founding fathers of the region toiled for.”
While pushing for the Plateau State helmsman as the running mate to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the group noted that Lalong, who chaired the Northern Governors’ Forum and only Christian amidst majority “Muslims,” had received cooperation without “religious dichotomy.”