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APC at quandary over Muslim-Muslim ticket – 2023 Presidentials!

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According to Vanguard, All Progressives Congress, APC, leaders have raised concern that the possibility of running a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2023 has turned into a sore spot for the organisation.

This is despite the fact that Sheikh Haliru Maraya, a former special adviser to the governor of Kaduna State on Islamic matters and the Hajj, indicated yesterday that people endorsing the notion of a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential ticket do not desire the nation well.

It happened on the same day that the Tinubu Support Organization, TSO, recommended Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna State as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s running mate after consulting with important APC North-West stakeholders.

The Issue

A source with access to meetings regarding the selection of Tinubu’s running mate stated that the APC’s stance on a Muslim-Muslim ticket remained contentious and revealed that members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, or PGF, are fervently advocating for one of their own to be chosen as Tinubu’s running mate.

Given the function of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, the source stated: “As for the governors insisting that Tinubu choose one of them, it is give and take. It’s not out of the question that one of the governors will acquire it.

“The candidate is not solely responsible for selecting their running mate. He will consider some of the variables after considering his choices. He might have to listen to the governors if they declare they want it because he is aware of their function. Wisdom requires that so many inclinations be maintained.

“Remember that the governors wanted one of them to run for president, but it was their influence that brought about the candidate,” the speaker said.

“According to the source, the Muslim-Muslim ticket has a monumental task ahead of it given the controversy surrounding it.

A Muslim-Muslim ticket is a significant problem. Due to the fact that it would be like plotting to remove them from power, the northerners will not allow a northern Christian to be the running mate. They insist on giving it to a northern Muslim rather than a northern Christian. Once you choose a northern Christian, you can forget about them since that is how northerners operate. Tinubu will suffer a significant blow if he selects a Northern Christian because he will lose the support of the Northern Muslims. Everyone will embrace whoever wins, but it is clear that it will be a Muslim-Muslim ticket, and even then, the winner needs to be a strong person,” the source furthered.

Muslim-Muslim ticket promoters don’t wish Nigeria well — Sheikh

Sheikh Maraya, a preacher from Kaduna, also criticised people who were endorsing a Muslim-Muslim ticket, calling it a depressing commentary.

“I worry what the country would be if the numerous agitations in the land gain a religious dimension,” the Islamic expert stated in a statement titled “Islamic View On Same-faith Presidential Ticket in Today’s Nigeria.”

If merit is to be the criterion for the nomination of running mates, no religion has a monopoly on qualified individuals who are able to serve in that position.

The statement read: “I don’t think there is a Muslim who will support a Christian-Christian presidential ticket. Undoubtedly, the Muslims would cry out for the perpetration of injustice against them.”

“Nigeria is a multi-religious country of more than 200 million people who are Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, one can say that the country is owned by more than 200million citizens who are of diverse religious background. In order to be just to all the citizens of the country, and also to balance the apparent religious sentiments prevalent in the country, Nigeria’s politicians and its major political parties have avoided fielding same-faith presidential candidates since the present political dispensation from 1999.

“In any event, the combination of people of different religious background, on a presidential ticket, appears to give vent to the constitutional requirement that the composition of the Federal Government and its agencies should reflect the federal character of the country, and the need to promote national unity, thereby ensuring that there is no predominance of sectional groups in the government, as enshrined in Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.

“The combination of a Muslim and non-Muslim, in a presidential ticket, in Nigeria of today, also gives vent to the spirit of justice, fairness and equity as enshrined in the religion of Islam. Remember, the country is for the Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The religion of Islam orders the sincere administration of justice, on all, regardless of any distinction, be it religious, ethnic, geographical, tribal, inter alia.

The religion enjoins its adherents to always stand for justice as a matter of principle, whether for Muslims or non-Muslims, even if justice should side against them.

“I don’t think there is a Muslim who will support a Christian-Christian presidential ticket. Undoubtedly, the Muslims would cry out for the perpetration of injustice against them. Hence, it’s wrong for a Muslim to support a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as it is at variance with the spirit of justice which the religion of Islam promotes and defends at all times.”

Besides, he said: “Those promoting the idea of a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential ticket, in today’s Nigeria, do not wish the country well especially now that it is divided along religious fault lines. I wonder what the country would be should the various agitations in the land assume a religious dimension. No religion has the monopoly of qualified people who have the capacity to serve as running mates to presidential candidates if merit should be the parameter for the nomination of running mates.

Undoubtedly, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in Nigeria of today, are endowed with capable and qualified persons for the offices of the President and Vice-President alike. Consequently, justice, fairness and equity, as enjoined by the religion of Islam, demand that a Muslim presidential candidate should nominate a non-Muslim as their running mate, and a non-Muslim presidential candidate should nominate a Muslim as their running mate, in Nigeria of today, for the sake of the promotion of national unity and cohesion.

“To balance the geographical and ethnic sentiments in the country, our politicians and major political parties have never contemplated fielding candidates of the same geographical and ethnic leanings. In other words, they have never fielded a north-north or a south-south presidential ticket. It is common sense and the appreciation of Nigeria’s religious diversity to abhor and discourage a same-faith presidential ticket. The unity of our beloved country, Nigeria, should be the priority of all Nigerians, not winning elections at all costs. It is a very disheartening commentary on our politics that some of our politicians are thinking of strategy and stratagem to win elections, even if they lose the country in the end.

There should be no desperation to use sophistry to win an election and lose the only country we have. Presently, the level of distrust and suspicion between the Muslims and non-Muslims, in Nigeria, has become very high as to make it implausible, unrealistic and unwise for any political party and presidential candidate to field a same-faith presidential joint ticket.”

El-Rufai is desired by TSO as a running mate.

Also yesterday, Mr. Aminu Suleiman, Director-General of the Tinubu Support Organization, warned journalists that Tinubu’s choice of running mate would determine whether or not he would win.

Suleiman stated: “The APC has many exceptional leaders who can serve as Tinubu’s running mate, but the North-West should be allowed to produce the next Vice-President as it is the single largest voting bloc in Nigeria.”

El-Rufai is Asiwaju’s first option for vice president after consulting with important stakeholders, particularly those in the North-West.

“Tinubu Support Organisation is working tirelessly for the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next President of Nigeria and believes that the choice of running mate is a critical success factor for the victory of Asiwaju.

“We are glad that the APC has many outstanding individuals among its leaders. But having assessed all the options, it is the view of TSO that the APC’s candidate for VP should be chosen from the North-West, the single largest voting bloc in Nigeria.

“It is our view that the person that can best compliment Asiwaju as Vice President is Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and we recommend that he should be chosen as the running mate.

“El-Rufai is a very experienced person. He has held office at the federal level and at the state level, and he has done well in every office. He has always stood for progressive policies. He is not afraid of difficult decisions. This is a man that is running a state government with appointees from all over Nigeria.”

2023: APC faces further difficulties as a group accuses Tinubu of lying in a perjury case.

In the meantime, the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday approved a new lawsuit that aimed to persuade Usman Baba, the IGP, to file a perjury charge against Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate for president of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC.

A civil society organisation, the Incorporated Trustees of the Center for Reform and Public Advocacy, filed the lawsuit with the court with the case number FHC/ABJ/CS/1058/2022.

The IGP and the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, are named as respondents in the lawsuit.

Specifically, the applicant is praying the court for “an order of mandamus, compelling the Respondents to comply with Sections 31 and 32 of the Police Act and Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in respect of alleged crime laid out in complaint of the Applicant encapsulated in the letter of June 16, 2022, received by the Respondents on the same date and titled: Demand for Criminal Prosecution of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu under Sections 191,192 and 463 of the Criminal Code Act, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 Consequent upon the Findings of the Lagos State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee, 1999”.

The group informed the court through its attorney, Mr. Mike Nwankwo, that the IGP’s refusal to act on its petition against the APC’s presidential candidate over an offence it claimed was established by the findings of an investigation carried out by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999 was what prompted the suit. The organisation informed the court that it had previously petitioned the police to take additional action on the aforementioned investigative report.

According to the document, the Police are mandated by law to “prevent, detect, and investigate criminal allegations whether brought to their notice by individuals, person or persons, corporate bodies, institutions, etc.” Sections 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and Section 4 of the Nigerian Police Act, 2020 were also cited.

It further asserted that the Respondents are required by Section 31 of the Nigerian Police Act to look into any allegations of criminal activity and then submit their findings for legal counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation or of the relevant state.

The applicant further stated that pursuant to Section 32(1) of the Police Act, “a suspect or defendant shall be arrested, investigated, and tried or dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Act, except as otherwise provided under this Act, with respect to any offence established by an Act of the National Assembly or under any other laws.”

It argued that it has the legal authority to use the court’s jurisdiction to compel the respondents to carry out their legal, constitutional, and public obligations in accordance with the law.

Furthermore, the applicant complained that the Respondents had so far ignored its two letters, dated June 16 and 27, in which it urged the prosecution of the APC candidate for suspected perjury.

The Respondents have “not advised the Applicant of any action taken on the abovementioned letter,” according to the statement.

The Applicant testified before the court that, in response to a letter written by the late legal luminary Chief Gani Fawehinmi in 1999, the Lagos State House of Assembly established an Ad-hoc Committee to look into the alleged act of perjury. The Committee’s report, which was presented to the court, stated on page 13 that, “However, on question of providing false information on oath (sections 191 and 197) we are satisfied that the statement of the governor’s educational

In its plea to the IGP, the applicant said that the APC presidential candidate had lied under oath on form CF 001, which he had given to INEC to help him qualify for the governorship election in Lagos State in 1999.

Additional allegations made by the applicant were that Tinubu “forged all the educational certificates he indicated in his INEC Form CF 001, which he admitted he did not possess in annexure C.”

To be clear, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu falsely claimed to have attended the University of Chicago in the United States and Government College in Ibadan on the aforementioned INEC Form.

The document went on to say, “On the strength of the foregoing, we urge that you begin criminal proceedings against Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a result of the express conclusions of the Lagos State House of Assembly as reflected above.”

The hearing date for the lawsuit has not yet been set.

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