Atiku, Kwankwaso, Obi scramble for North’s christian votes

Leadership

Opposition parties are lining up to reap from the misfortunes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as top northern Christian leaders of the party have asked their constituents not to vote for the presidential candidate of their party, Bola Tinubu, in the 2023 general elections over his choice of a Muslim running mate.

Presidential candidate of main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; his counterpart in the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, and in the Nigerian National Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, are all positioning themselves as better options to protect the interest of northern Christians and win their votes in the upcoming election as they all have both faiths represented on their presidential tickets.

LEADERHIP Weekend reports that NNPP’s Kwankwaso has Bishop Isaac Idahosa from Edo State as his running mate; LP’s Peter Obi has Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, a Muslim from Kaduna State, as his running mate while PDP’s Atiku Abubakar has Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as his vice-presidential candidate. Conversely, APC’s Tinubu, a  Southern Muslim, has Senator Kashim Shettima, another Muslim from the northeast, as his running mate, a decision that has not gone down well with many in the party, and outside.

Consequently, APC northern Christian leaders yesterday called on Nigerians not to vote for any tickets that are not mixed between Christians and Muslims, a direct attack on the candidacy of Tinubu and Shettima.

According to the APC northern Christian leaders, a Muslim-Muslim tickets is divisive and must be rejected by all patriotic Nigerians.

Speaking at the APC Northern Christian Leaders Summit yesterday in Abuja, with the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal; former Speaker Yakubu Dogara; former minister of sports, Solomon Dalung, Sen Ishaku Abbo and several other Christian leaders from the North, they declared that the insinuation that northern Muslims will not support a Christian running mate was untrue and divisive.

Former SGF, Babachir Lawal, who was the chairman of the occasion, said colleagues within and even outside the APC expressed shock and even disbelief over their reaction to the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 general elections, adding that it is a grand conspiracy against the Northern Christians.

“Our opposition has some historical basis,” Lawal said. “There were times in the past when Christians produced the deputy governors in Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna states. Now they are wholly Muslim-Muslim tickets.

“It is worth noting that all these are happening in APC-controlled states. They are threatening to do likewise in Gombe, Kogi and Adamawa states.

“It is also now a recurring practice in the north whereby any Christian traditional ruler that dies is replaced with a Muslim prince albeit from the ruling family even if the most qualified and preferred prince is a Christian. The recent case of Billiri Chiefdom in Gombe State is still fresh in our minds.

“Proof of its anti-Christian agenda is that our party itself has completely…

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