Babachir Lawal and Dogara spoke on the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket at an APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit in Abuja on Friday.
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has restated his objection to the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to run with a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 2023 general election.
He said Christians, including members of the APC, will use their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and prayers to resist the party’s plan ahead of the polls. His stance was echoed by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The duo, who are Christian political leaders from the Northern part of the country, spoke at an APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit in Abuja on Friday.
Their reaction comes amid controversies that have trailed the announcement of a Borno State senator and former governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Many have condemned the move as being insensitive to the need for religious balance in a country with Christian population as overwhelming as the Muslim population.
Although Mr Lawal had protested the announcement earlier, some APC chieftains like the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the party’s national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, rebuked him.
But Mr Lawal has said he would keep protesting against the Muslim-Muslim ticket, describing his “resistance” as a wake-up call.
An anti-Christian agenda
In his speech, Mr Lawal said the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket is proof of its anti-Christian agenda and that the party has completely eliminated northern Christians from its National Working Committee (NWC) and National Executive Committee (NEC).
The Muslim-Muslim ticket, he said, has been a long-term political strategy and not a one-off decision. “Thus, all this talk of competence as the reason for the choice of the Muslim VP is balderdash and diversionary.
This is a calculated anti-Christian exclusion agenda that is being implemented.”
He wondered why the APC is quiet on the opposition of some members and why the party “hired fake Bishops to further embarrass the church.”
“Christians all over the country see this ticket as a deliberate and premeditated attempt to introduce and firmly entrench religion into the politics of the country, which could lead to further disharmony,” he said.
“This is truly a wake-up call for all Nigerian Christians. We didn’t start this religious politics; APC and its candidates did; so, all of us should take note and act as appropriate.
“So, our dear APC colleagues, spare us these sanctimonious lectures on competence and the cliche ‘religion of the candidates does not matter’. The truth is that the 2023 presidential election will be all about religion, and sadly, you started it; religion does matter in this context so be ready for the consequences,” he said.
While he maintained that Christians neither seek to oppress nor dominate any one or religion, he said Christians will resist any one trying to discriminate against them and the religion.
“The PVC and our prayers will be our weapons of choice and we will massively deploy them in 2023. But while we are ready to battle this politics of exclusion and oppression, we are open to discussions with anyone who wants to engage with us in good faith.”
‘A fatal error’
Mr Dogara, who was the guest speaker at the event, said Mr Tinubu has made a fatal error in choosing a running mate.The move, he said, is a rude awakening that happened sooner than later.
He lamented “unhelpful framings” of a debate by pundits that posit that Christians in the North are so small in number that their votes don’t count. This strange argument, he said, seeks to reinforce the satanic agenda of dividing the church in Nigeria into North and South.
The lawmaker further said the Muslim/Muslim ticket is a bad decision because it fuels inequality and breeds division which is counter-productive to the collective aspirations for a united and prosperous nation. He knocked the APC leaders for their inability to distinguish the Nigeria of 1993 from 2022.
“An indispensable attribute of a leader in crisis is to be able to recognise a departure of events from routine to novel. Consequently, anyone who thinks that events in Nigeria in 2022 are not novel but routine as they were in 1993 is totally incapable of finding solutions to challenges currently ravaging our dear nation.”
He also urged Nigerians to “rebuke with love”, the “nodding dogs who have sold themselves to lying spirits by deliberately believing in lies or are refusing to accept the truth.”
“The harder they try to make us bow to the golden image of greed, the more we should chant to their chagrin the answer given by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.