A priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Rev. Fr. John Oluoma, has said Nigerians that are complaining about the Muslim-Muslim ticket fielded by the All Progressives Congress (APC) are not ready to make an informed choice in the 2023 elections.
The APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had on Sunday, announced former governor of Borno State, Sen. Kashim Shettima, as his running mate.
The unveiling of Shettima who is a Muslim like Tinubu has elicited mixed reactions among Nigerians, with Christian leaders and groups kicking against the decision.
Reacting to the development in a series of tweets, Oluoma said Nigerians should not be agitating over APC’s decision to field two Muslims for the 2023 presidential election because there are other candidates.
“I honestly do understand why some persons feel scared about it, however, I refuse to validate or consolidate that fear for some reasons. APC is just one party, we have other parties in Nigeria. One of the beauties of democracy is the availability of options.
“Crying over APC’s candidates in the midst of other candidates questions our readiness to change the status quo or our capacity to make and accept informed decisions,” he said.
The priest added that the ruling party fielded two Muslims for the sake of “electoral victory.”
“There’s only one major reason behind the Muslim-Muslim ticket by APC — electoral victory. Without a Muslim VP, the APC will lose significant votes from the North and probably lose the entire presidency. This is the fear and the reason for a Muslim VP.
“Don’t let anyone beguile you to make it a religious problem, if you do, you will keep losing the big picture. I’ll never reduce this issue to a religious problem, it’s more of political dexterity. APC chose electoral votes over religious sentiments.
“Of course, APC knows a number of Christians will be offended, but they still went ahead probably knowing that the mathematics of more votes favour them in this issue more than feelings. If you don’t like it, you are right.
“If you don’t like it, you are right crying and bemoaning it? That’s where you and I separate. There’s Labour Party driving a political revolution with Peter Obi, invest in it, be part of it, preach it and convert others if Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and All progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu don’t appeal to you.
“Whether this is a smart move by APC or not depends on voters. If it’s a bad strategy, it’s the APC that should bemoan it, not you an independent voter. Even card-carrying members of a party are not forced to vote for the candidates of their party.
“In the midst of these, I wish to state the following implications: If Tinubu, a Muslim from the South cannot win an election with a Christian VP from the North, northern Muslims, southern Muslims and northern Christians don’t need me to spell it out for them,” Oluoma said.
The clergyman further said that Nigerians should not “relegate religious sentiments only when it’s convenient for your particular goal, let’s get thorough and rigorous about it for the good of our country. Actually, Nigeria and Nigerians stand to gain better when we throw away all these sentiments.”