2023: Catholic church rejects Muslim-Muslim ticket, says its insensitive

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The Catholic church of Nigeria has rejected the idea of having a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket where the presidential candidate and his running mate are both of the same religion.

The church in a statement jointly signed by the secretary-general of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Zacharia Samjumi, and the church’s director of social communications, Michael Umoh.

In the statement, the Catholic church said parties must understand that the unity of Nigeria has over the years been maintained by a ‘delicate’ religious and regional balance.

“While all this is going on, we must not lose sight of the fact that the unity of this country has, over the years, been maintained by a delicate balancing of the religious and the regional. Even in the despotic military era, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes,” the statement reads.

“For instance, we had Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe, Abacha – Diya. This also applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigration and Finance.

“Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (31 Dec. 1983-27 Aug. 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship. Similarly, only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. But that government never took off!”

The Catholic church said the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket would not have been a problem if Nigeria had not become ‘badly polarised’ in the past years.

While citing Kaduna as an example, the church also said with the lack of mutual trust, peaceful co-existence and the growing insecurity bedeviling the country, a Muslim-Muslim ticket will be ‘most insensitive.’

“Fast forward to 2022, 30 years later, some individuals have tried to suggest the Muslim-Muslim ticket for the presidential election in a country like Nigeria that has unfortunately been badly polarised.

“Ordinarily, there would have been nothing with a Muslim- Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good. But one cannot really say so of our country at the moment.

“With the present glaring crisis and division in the nation, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be most insensitive and a tacit endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening this nation’s unity and peaceful coexistence without an arrest.

“Going by the Kaduna experience, we can perceive the havoc the Muslim-Muslim ticket has brought upon the predominantly Christian people of Southern Kaduna.

“We, therefore, strongly advise those political parties toying with divisive agendas to have a rethink by presenting a more inclusive ticket, while calling on all people of goodwill to resist this budding injustice that may be hatched against a cross section of the people,” the statement added.

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