The Extraordinary Convention/Congress to elect the Presidential Flag-bearers of all political parties has come and gone with all its attendant intrigues, suspense and commentaries and Presidential Candidates have emerged.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has given all the political parties until June 17th to nominate their Vice Presidential candidates.
What has now made the nomination of running mates a subject of debate and controversy is the possibility of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to pick a Northern Muslim as running mate to its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who’s also a Muslim from the Southwest.
Ordinarily, the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket or a Christian-Christian ticket or an Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba president succeeding another Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba president wouldn’t have been an issue in a country where the leaders and the citizens are mature, truthful, just, fair, patriotic and truly united.
Sadly, Nigeria is not a country with such characteristics yet. I say this with all humility, sincerity and a sense of responsibility.
In the APC, some of the party chieftains have ruled out religion as a factor while choosing its VP candidate but rather look for competence and capacity, look for loyalty and commitment to nation-building, look for someone that can deliver his or her polling units.
The people on the other side that have ruled against the possibility of a Muslim as running mate to Asiwaju Tinubu. They are saying the emergence would further widen current divisions in the country along religious lines.
Both are right in their contexts, the protagonists are of the opinion that picking a Muslim from the North means Tinubu would be getting a block vote from the region as against picking a Northern Christian which presumably may make the northern Muslim consider an Atiku Abubakar Presidency being a Muslim from the North.
It is perceived by many in the All Progressives Congress (APC) that a Muslim/Muslim ticket may be the winning formula in the coming election. They believe that it would be politically expedient to take advantage of that and present such a ticket.
The protagonists are also right that considering the ethnic and religious tension in the country, every tribe, religion and sentiment must be accommodated moving forward.
While some have cited the Abiola-Kingibe ticket, but have forgotten that the Nigeria of 1993, during the time of Abiola and Kingibe, was completely different from the Nigeria of today, heading into the 2023 elections.
It’s difficult to take a stance on such contentious issues and not appear as a bigot nay fanatic but I am not against a Christian-Christain ticket, Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Traditionalist-Traditionalist ticket or Atheist-Atheist ticket.
It is an open secret that the major problems of the country today border on lack of adequate knowledge, right policies and directions.
Thus, to solve the problems, Nigeria needs a person with adequate knowledge about Nigeria, her challenges and its prospects.
The country needs that person that knows Nigeria inside out and without any pretence or any primordial baggage.
If such person(s) are Muslims or Christians shouldn’t matter, what should matter is the capacity to deliver excellently and creditably.