A group, Northern States Christian Elders Forum, NOSCEF, has described as insensitive and selfish thoughts of fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the presidency in the 2023 general elections.
The group, comprising such personalities as Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma, retd, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, Prof. Adamu Baikie, Gen. Y Nom, Elder Olaiya Phillips, Prof Emeritus M. Gadzama, and Dr Micheal Ango, among others, warned that such a move would be massively resisted.
The Christian elder's position came on a day the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, warned against the foisting of Muslim/Muslim ticket on the nation by any of the political parties eyeing the presidential seat in 2023, insisting that any political arrangement short of producing a Christian President for Nigeria would be unacceptable to the Christian populace.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, also opposed the alleged plot by political parties to field a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 2023 general elections but noted that that it was still watching the situation.
1993 not 2023
NOSCEF in a statement, signed by its Chairman, Engineer Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu, in Kaduna yesterday, said: "The Northern States Christian Elders Forum, NOSCEF, read with concerns the reported meeting of a frontline politician with some Northern elders advocating a Muslim/Muslim ticket, if given the Presidential ticket and many days after, the report has not been refuted."
"We wonder which Northern elders were in the said meeting. Let us recall the Chief Abiola/ Alhaji Kingibe Muslim-Muslim ticket that won the election in a military imposed two-party system in 1993.
"Majority of Nigerians, including myself, voted for that ticket because a vote for that ticket was a vote for fairness, equity, justice and power rotation between North and South, South East and North East."
Need for power rotation, equity
They submitted that at previous election, Alhaji Shehu Shagari (North West)/Dr. Ekwueme (South East) ruled Nigeria, adding that Abiola/Kingibe, therefore, meant power shifting between North and South and in the North, power shifting from North West to North East and in the South, from South West to South East.
"Remember there were no other alternatives since it was a two party system. Therefore, the same injustice, inequity, marginalization that Nigerians fought against to vote a Muslim-Muslim ticket cannot now be promoted by voting same Muslim-Muslim or Christian- Christian ticket," the group said.
It explained that Nigerians in 1993, bent over backward to vote and affirm with one voice, that the ill of religious and regional differences were more tolerable than injustice, inequity and marginalization.
"Northerners across religious lines voted for Chief Abiola from the south, and expected that thereafter, it would only be fair for power to shift back to North East or North Central.
"The voting pattern re-echoed Fayemi's saying that 'unity cannot endure where injustice, marginalization and inequity thrives'. It was a vote against injustice and marginalization," the group recalled.
While expressing deep concern about this kite being flown again, the Northern Christian said: "When we remember the speculated rift between Senator Bukola Saraki and the clique that had pressed in 2015 for a Buhari/Tinubu Muslim-Muslim ticket, which Saraki and many like-minded patriots had considered insensitive in the Nigerian state.
"Linking it with the North West would remind observing Nigerians, who have seen how a similar insensitivity has deepened the divide and mistrust in the North West state."
The group said it had identified with the President in his call for unity and, therefore, condemned in strong terms any move that will further aggravate the lines of divide for selfish political gains at the expense of a peaceful and united Nigeria.
"We appeal to all Nigerians across party, regional, ethnic and religious divides to rise and mobilize the citizenship against any inconsiderate politician or political grouping seeking to promote exclusion and marginalization of any section of our country. Those that do not wish Nigeria well have no business seeking its leadership," it warned.
The group added that such politicians would make every attempt to manipulate Nigerians as a people, through double talks and deceit but noted that "we trust that God who put us together for a great nation will defeat them in all their antics/craftiness and bring to pass the expectations of true and patriotic Nigerians seeking a truly united and prosperous Nigeria."
It, therefore, tasked Nigerians to pray that anyone who planned to rise to power in Nigeria by fueling the embers of discrimination, using the instrumentation of religious ethnic differences, would fail.
"NOSCEF, being mindful of the various crisis that had bedeviled our nation to date calls on all Nigerians to be vigilante and prepared to defeat the enemies to our peaceful co-existence without regard to party affiliation and persuasion.
"Remember that loyalty to the nation, Nigeria, ranks far above loyalty to any party. The nation is in dire need of a selfless, considerate, sensitive, honest, transparent leader who will unite, bind, heal the wounds that have posed a great danger to our corporate existence as a nation, integrate and foster lasting bonds of unity of our dear country.
"We need politicians across party lines and all peace loving Nigerians across religious, regional and ethnic divides to reject politicians sowing seeds of further polarization and work for/align with inclusiveness, unity, equity, fairness, justice.
"This might even entail going against regional and party affiliations to drive home the point that power is giving in trust for the good of the people not for self centered ambition.
"Anyone that is seeking the highest political office of the land at the expense of the peace the nation and building of tolerance amongst the diversity of our country, cannot lay claim to being a patriot and would therefore have no business being encouraged or voted to such a position.
"NOSCEF enjoins Nigerians to continue to pray for our country," the group stated.
It's Christian presi-dent or nothing--PFN
Reacting in a similar manner, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, warned against the foisting of Muslim/Muslim ticket on the nation by any of the political parties eyeing the presidential seat in 2023, insisting that any political arrangement short of producing a Christian President for Nigeria, would be unacceptable to the christian populace.
The PFN President, Bishop Wale Oke, who is also the President of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, gave the warnings at the grand finale of a 5-day Zoe World Congress, tagged Zoe Worship Extravaganza, at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
Speaking at the event organized by his ministry, the PFN leader described, as evil and selfish, those behind the agenda of having a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket at the coming polls.
Though he said PFN was not routing for any party, the cleric, however, maintained that any of the parties that does not factor in the interest of the Christian community in the country, would fail.
He said: "It is disturbing that with the 2023 general elections fast approaching, some politicians who are hell-bent in further scuttling the fragile peace in the country, are desperately seeking to foist a Muslim/Muslim political agenda on us, a development that will further throw unsavory spanner into the works, fiber and the tenuous peace of the nation.
"Nigeria is a nation predominantly populated by Christians and Muslims. In fact, the PFN which by the grace of God I head today, has a membership strength of over 65 million adherents of Jesus Christ.
"So, we vehemently say no to Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket; we say no to arrangement that will relegate the Christians to obscurity. This we shall resist by all available lawful means.
"We urge that we follow the routes already taken by the previous administrations of Obasanjo, Yar'adua, Jonat-han and Buhari, so as to avoid the pitiable paths some are trying to tread for selfish reasons and aggrandizement.
"Anyone who is flying a Muslim/Muslim Presidential ticket is satanic and from the pit of hell. The Lord, God of hosts, will crush that satanic agenda.Any party that flies a Muslim/Muslim Presidential ticket has failed completely. In fact, it will not only fail, it will scatter."
While praying that those behind the plot would not succeed, the PFN leader said: "It is only the will of God for Nigeria that shall prevail, not the satanic agenda of any corrupt, selfish, self-centered, unpatriotic, evil politician who thinks he has enough money to buy up the South West of Nigeria, and the whole of the nation.
"Nigeria belongs to all of us and it will only thrive when there's fairness, equity and justice. This we are calling for in all our engagements in the country.
"If the two major political parties in the country field Muslim/Muslim candidates, they will both fail. What we want is a Christian President. Buhari must hand over to a Christian. Let everybody know that any arrangement short of that will be totally unacceptable to us.
"The 65 million strong members of PFN are vehemently opposed to any arrangement of that nature."
He, however, prayed for peace in the country, imploring those itching to destroy it through their selfish pursuits and primordial sentiments to have a rethink.
Christians, Muslims deserve fair treat-ment -- CAN
On its part, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, also opposed the alleged plot, saying adherents of the two major religions had the right to be treated fairly in the political affairs of the nation.
In a telephone chat with Vanguard in Abuja yesterday, CAN's Director of National Issues and Social Welfare, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, said the apex Christian body would most likely reject a Muslim-Muslim ticket in any circumstance.
Adegbite said: "First, let me clear the air about the Northern Christian Elders Forum and their relationship to CAN. They are no longer part of us. As such, they cannot speak for Christians in Nigeria. They are a rebel group of CAN and have been suspended from CAN activities.
"Although it is too early to make a final comment on this issue of Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in 2023 because of the sensitivity of such a narrative, the Body of Christ will most likely not accept a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
"Such a presidential ticket could be construed in some quarters to mean that Christians are either non-existent in the country or cannot play politics.
"But CAN will continue to let people know that there must be fair play between the adherents of Christian and Muslim religions, we will have a better environment where no one will unduly heat up the polity.
"For this reason, we will keep our fingers crossed and monitor the situation closely until the major political parties unveil their 2023 flagbearers and tell Nigerians who their presidential candidates really are, as well as their religions.
"That is exactly when we can take a final stand. For now, the alleged plot of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is not official and we consider it to merely exists in the realm of rumour."