The Catholic Church has cautioned politicians, especially the All Progressive Congress ( APC) against adopting a Muslim- Muslim Presidential ticket, as such action will amount to “ insensitivity” to current efforts at healing and assuaging fears of possible crises across the country.
The Catholic Church, in a statement by the Catholic Secretariat, noted that “ 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”.
The Church, in the statement signed by Zacharia Samjumi, Secretary-General and Michael Umoh, Director, Social Communications, of the Catholic Secretariat, cited the current experience in Kaduna state, where such experiment led to heightened insecurity and killing of innocent citizens.
The church observed that there would have been nothing wrong 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”.
“We cannot help but once again strongly condemn the atrocious attack and murder of our faithful in Owo inside the Church during Holy Mass on Sunday 5 June 2022, as not just an attack on humanity, but also a terrible slap on the sovereignty of Nigeria and an indictment on the Federal Government. May God grant eternal rest to the departed, comfort those who mourn and heal the wounded. Amen.”
The Church said Nigeria can be spared a similar experience by avoiding the Muslim-Muslim ticket, adding that “ 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 agenda 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.”
“In pursuit of peace, it is imperative to remind everyone that all Nigerians, irrespective of creed or region, are equal; as such, there must be sensitivity in the spread of political positions without compromising competence.
The Catholic Secretariat also called on “all Nigerians, individually and collectively, to do everything in their power to seek and work for unity and justice, so that we may attain that peace we all desire. There is no alternative to peace”
The organization, while commending the process for the 2023 General election in Nigeria so far, observed that there are some things to be happy about; especially the “passing of the Electoral Act 2022 which allows the use of electronic devices for accreditation and in the capturing and transmission of results; the prompt release of election timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the renewed confidence in the electoral process by the electorate, as demonstrated in the massive last-minute turn out for voter registration amongst others.”
It noted, however, the “disheartening “ ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries, adding that that “the conduct of most of the politicians seem to be going from bad to worse”
The Church warned against losing sight of the fact that the unity of the 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. 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, Immigrations, Finance, etc.
“Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (Dec 31, 1983 – Aug. 27, 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship.
The Church recalled that the only time a Muslim-Muslim ticket was carried out in the 1993 democratic elections, that featured Abiola-Kingibe, “that government never took off”.
“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 polarized”