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2023: Tinubu’s Loyalists Registers Displasure Over APC Consideration Of Christian Candidate

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Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress, is reportedly considering filing a Christian candidate from the Southern region as its 2023 election presidential flag bearer.

This consideration is already to the displeasure of the loyalists of former Lagos State Governor and APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, who have insisted that a Christian candidacy cannot work.

According to Daily Independent, the Christian-Muslim ticket proposal has not gone down well with loyalists of Tinubu, who are insisting that religion should not be a criterion in selecting the presidential candidate of the APC.

A few days ago, it had been reported that in a bid to ensure cohesion within the party, the presidency has enlisted fact-finding group to carry out background checks on those seeking to become the party’s presidential flagbearer ahead of the 2023 elections.

Also, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, National Secretary, APC CECPC, had said the party would come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate that would fly its flag in 2023.

A reliable credible source in the party stated that the general be¬lief in APC at the moment is that in a bid to foster unity and togetherness in the party, the zoning between the North and South must be honoured.

He said if President Buhari, a Northerner and Mus¬lim, can settle for a Christian vice president from the South in 2015, then it is imperative that a Christian presidential candidate from the South will emerge in 2023 as the APC candidate and that person will choose a Muslim running mate from the North.

“That position is very true. There is a strong belief in the APC now that the next pres¬idential candidate must be from the South. We can’t afford to gamble with another Northerner after President Buhari has served for eight years. However, there are also others who are of the view that if the candidate must come from the South, the person must be a Christian.

“That is how it has always been since 1999. Obasanjo, a Christian, and Atiku Abu¬bakar, a Muslim, ruled from 1999 to 2007. The late Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim from the Northern part of the country became president in 2007 and Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the South was the vice president.

“When Yar’Adua died, Jonathan became president and he chose Namadi Sam¬bo, a Muslim from the North, who was former governor of Kaduna as his vice. When President Buhari became APC presidential candidate in 2014, he almost settled for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Muslim from the South, but even within the APC, there was uproar against a Muslim-Muslim ticket and he had to settle for Prof Yemi Osinbajo, a Christian.

“I don’t think the situation will change in 2023. There are some people who are already grumbling that will another Muslim take over from Presi¬dent Buhari in 2023 even if the ticket is zoned to the South? These are issues we are con¬sidering and it is important it is given utmost attention because all indices matter in politics, especially for a country like Nigeria.”

However, it was gathered that the devel¬opment is already causing ripples as loyalists of Tinubu have vowed to resist it, saying what the party stakeholders are canvassing is that the zoning agreement between the North and South should be respected, and not religion.

When contacted, Hon. Bo¬sun Oladele, a former mem¬ber of the House of Represen¬tatives, who is the Secretary of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) 2023, said reli¬gion should not be a criterion in determining who becomes the next president of Nigeria.

He said, “Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world but how far has our claim to being religious tak¬en us? We close down ware¬houses, shut down factories because of churches that are not promoting businesses, and because of beliefs that are not leading to developmental strides.

“In the same warehouses turned churches, we gather and start praying so that we can have jobs. Is that not an irony? So, if we keep empha¬sising religion all the time, we will be sacrificing develop¬mental politics. So, my take is that religion shouldn’t be a criterion.”

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