Christian leaders of the APC in the North have endorsed their presidential candidate Labor Party (LP), Peter Obi.
The group, which has opposed the same faith ticket as Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, issued a statement on Thursday to announce Mr. Obi as its candidate.
The group, in a statement by the former Secretary General of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, denied endorsement to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
Mr. Lawal stated that APC and PDP are more or less the same thing.
He has therefore highlighted seven reasons why the group decided to back the former governor of Anambra State for the 2023 general election.
He said, among other things, that an APC or PDP government will be nothing more than a recycling of the same class of people who have been running and ruining the country since independence till date, and thus it has remained static.
“Obi/Datti will give us a breath of fresh air and the greatest opportunity to free our country from the ground into which we have been plunged by a recurring group of reactionaries,” the statement said.
Mr. Lawal and other APC leaders from the North supported Mr. Tinubu in the APC primaries but changed their position when he chose Mr. Shettima, a Muslim and former governor of Borno State, as his running mate.
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and Adamawa State Senator Elisha Abbo, also Christians, have openly criticized the same faith card.
Mr. Tinubu said the choice of the former governor of Borno State is purely on competence and not based on religious persuasion.
Statement in full
WHY WE CHOOSE TO ACCEPT OBI/DATTI ADMISSION
As one of the foremost critics of the one-faith presidential ticket of the APC, and also for those who have waited patiently to know where to pitch our tent, after careful study and analysis of alternative presidential tickets, we now want them. To recommend the Obi/Datti presidential ticket.
Among many, we would like to briefly narrate some of the reasons why we support this card and recommend it to all Nigerians of good conscience who desire justice, equity and harmonious coexistence among all Nigerians across tribes, religions and geopolitical regions.
More so, today they are spreading fake news that I have thrown in the towel with PDP. Nothing is further from the truth. To me PDP and APC are different sides of the same coin.
1 The APC faith itself is a deliberate and well calculated plan to sow the seeds of religious and social discord among Nigerians. It is obvious that the northerners, in particular, are the targets and victims of this satanic plan. It is an indisputable fact that the whole of Northern Nigeria is currently mired in various intractable socio-economic problems as a result of the activities of various nebulous criminal gangs. Agriculture, the mainstay of the northern economy, has been abandoned as kidnappers and bandits have prevented people from leaving the safety of their homes. Interstate and intercity travel for business or pleasure has come to a standstill not only because of non-motorized roads, but also because of the fear of kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of banditry. Our rural schools have been closed for fear of kidnappers. Government-owned universities have been closed, depriving the already impoverished masses of the North of access to affordable higher education for their children. Thus, our out-of-school and idle children have become easy targets for recruitment by bandits and kidnappers. And there is no solution in sight.
Then out of nowhere this man Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the famous Yoruba-hegemonist, the man who advocated the establishment of the Ministry of Regional Integration in each state-government of the South West geopolitical region, who walks like an emperor, and a man. He who said “I don’t believe in one Nigeria” (TODAY, The Sunday Newspaper, April 13, 1997, page 9) pulls a Muslim-Muslim card, knowing full well that religion is beneath Northern Nigeria. APC’s same-faith ticket is a ploy to sow more discord among Northerners using the most powerful weapon of social discord – religion. As Karl Max once said, “religion is the opium of the people.” Nigerians from all shades of society must see this Tinubu/Kashim same-faith card as a hell-hole proposition that can only be concocted by the most Machiavellian minds known to man and should therefore be sanely rejected by all lovers of our country. and its nascent democracy.
On the other hand, Alhaji Kashim Shetima, Tinubu’s running mate, is a man who once said “by restructuring our feet, let us restructure our minds”. He presided over Borno State for eight years at a time when Boko Haram was overrunning the state almost at will, and reshaping the minds of its victims against Christianity and Western education. The kidnapped Chibok and Dapchi girls and many others are now slowly coming out of Captivity completely Islamized in Boko Haram’s indoctrination camps and their children born into Islam are being taken into captivity, a true example of “mind restructuring” if ever there was one. There is also an allegation of a very close relationship or otherwise between the APC vice presidential candidate and Boko Haram! And, what Christian can forget an alleged Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto, accused of complicity in the Christmas bombing of St. Teresa Catholic Church in Madallah, which left 44 dead and 77 Christian worshipers injured? Or that the said Kabiru Sokoto was finally arrested at the Borno State Government hideout in Abuja? Are Christians not justified in fearing a government led by these couples?
2. Surely, APC’s same-faith ticket seeks to shame Christians and give them and their religion a secondary socio-political status in their country. In particular, it is a validation of the ongoing discrimination and oppression of Christians in Northern Nigeria, where they are now denied employment, promotion, contracts and admission to read prestigious and marketable courses in government-owned schools because of their religion. No wonder then that Alhaji Bola Tinubu thinks the Bible is a joke book from which he can freely build his “jokes” like his “Poisoned Holly Communion” and “Speaking in Tongues” jokes. If he is man enough, I challenge him to mock the Holy Quran even as he freely does the Holy Bible. This guy has absolutely no respect for Christians and Christianity.
3 This APC ticket goes against the politics of Nigeria, which in practice (if not in law) has sought to achieve a religious balance in its politics and government. It is worth noting that all the other seventeen political parties presenting presidential candidates have followed the established conventions and practices by presenting cards of different faiths. Really, except to encourage social disharmony, there is no point in APC’s same faith card.
Also, when we are looking for justice and equity in the socio-political and religious space of the country, it is obvious that only the Obi/Datti card has the power to speak with a genuine claim to shift power to the South-East and the South-East. at the same time, talk about the cry of marginalization of our people in the Southeast. Obviously, a Christian/Muslim presidency like Obi/Datti will be best at this stage of our political journey, even more so now that we are going through a Muslim/Christian presidency. He will also achieve a regional change of the presidency from the current NW/SW to SE/NW presidency as a grassroots worker. This is justice; this is equity. It is political engineering at its best and what promotes peace and harmonious co-existence of the various socio-political and religious classes in our nation.
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5 Nigerians should also resist the temptation to rule themselves, their children and friends by the same court groups that are recycling themselves into the monarchy, in and out of government, to the exclusion of other segments of society. This trend has led to the disastrous consequences we find today: impoverished, insecure, divided, highly underdeveloped and mass unemployment, as the gap between the rich and the poor in society widens. A keen observer will not notice that the APC is a transmutation of the Action Group/UPN dominated by the children or grandchildren of those who once led and ruined the Action Group while the PDP is a transmutation of the NPC/NPN. Children or grandchildren of people who once ran and ruined the NPC. APC or PDP government will be nothing but recycling of the same class of people who have been running and ruining the country since independence till date. Is it any wonder Nigeria is stagnant?
Obi/Datti will give us a breath of fresh air and the greatest opportunity to recover our country from the ground into which we have been sunk by a repetitive group of reactionaries.
6 There is also this palpable fear and anxiety about a possible transition of the current presidency from one Fulbe to another: same tribe, same religion, same region, same courts. This has created a greater fear of perpetuating a Fulbe hegemony in the country. Also, many Nigerians believe that the Fulbes are the main actors in the banditry and kidnappings that are destroying the country today. Therefore, it is widely believed that another government led by Fulbe will not have the inclination or the political will to tackle the country’s security challenges, given that the majority of the perpetrators are his relatives.
There is also this perception that the appointments of the current government are motivated by ethnic and religious friendships rather than nationalist considerations. This has created fears that another government led by Fulbe will perpetuate this trend. Both APC and PDP present us with these formidable opportunities. Obi/Datti card has great power to get rid of these problems.
7 Finally, as the political campaign progresses towards the election dates, the tendency to divide the country along regional, tribal and religious affiliations gradually begins to appear. We can see very clearly that APC having failed in its original plan to capture Muslim votes to promote a kind of jihad which it sought through its same-faith ticket, has now resorted to a tribal ticket. The battle cry is now “it’s our turn” is the southwest tribal card. PDP, on the other hand, seeing new opportunities in the failure of APC’s jihad strategy tends to adapt APC’s religious and ethnic strategies in the North.
Nigerians must be alert to these very dangerous campaigning trends because any political party that comes to government by catering to ethnic or religious sentiments may not be able to govern successfully and may increase social divisions.
Men of good conscience should therefore consider the possibilities that unite us rather than divide us. Only the Labor Party presents this option. Therefore, we call on all patriots to work for our country in this presidential election. The future of Nigeria is at stake in this presidential election. Obi-Datti is the only way. All other paths lead to perdition.
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