The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria has warned political parties against presenting a Muslim- Muslim ticket in the upcoming 2023 general elections.
In a statement jointly signed on Tuesday by the Secretary – General of the organisation Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi and the Director, Social Communications, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Nsikak Umoh, the CSN noted that while there are some things to be happy about, there are other aspects that are worrisome.
“The process for the 2023 general election in Nigeria has been initiated, and there are some things to be happy about; 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 is, however, disheartening to observe that the conduct of most of our politicians seems to be going from bad to worse as we witnessed a show of shame and heightened ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries.
“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,” the statement said.
The CSN made reference to previous governments in Nigeria’s history, explaining that even in the “despotic military era, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes”.
While noting that a Muslim-Muslim ticket or a Christian-Christian ticket is not entirely bad, the CSN believes that such agenda’s may not work for the current situation of the country.
“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 (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!
“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.
“Ordinarily, 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”.
Political parties last week, produced their flagbearers for the forthcoming 2023 presidential elections.
Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu emerged as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar emerged as the flagbearer for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while Peter Obi will be flying the flag of the Labour Party among other contenders.