Christian Elders Blast PDP, APC over Insurgency

The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, 13 years into the country’s insurgency, have been criticised by the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) for presenting Muslim presidential candidates.

The group criticised the present discussion surrounding the same-faith ticket and asserted that the election process for the following year was about defining democracy, not imposing sharia law.

It called the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential election “unconscionable.”

But in a swift response last night, Mr Yakubu Ajaka, the deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, expressed regret that Nigerians appeared to have regrettably thrown away competence, capacity, and qualification in the wake of the sentiments that had accompanied the announcement of the party’s candidates for the upcoming presidential election.

This occurred on the same day that Nigerians’ choice of the candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 was not influenced by political party, according to His Eminence Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, or CAN.

The horse-trading by the political class is an unsettling indication that those in power in Nigeria have not learned from their mistakes, according to a statement from the NCEF’s Secretary-General, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel.

The nation cannot keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results, the group claims.

Members of NCEF include Elder Solomon Asemota, SAN, who is the chairman, Lt.-General T.Y. Danjuma, retd; General Zamani Lekwot, retd; Dr Kate Okpareke; Hon Justice Kalajine Anigbogu, retd;  Elder Shyngle Wigwe; DIG P. L. Dabup; Sir John W. Bagu; Dr Saleh Hussaini; Elder Michael Orobator, Hon. Justice James Ogebe, retd; Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife; and Dame Priscilla Kuye, among others. Late General Joshua Dongoyaro was a member of the forum in his lifetime.

The statement read: “Of more concern is the resurgence of Muslim-Muslim ticket proposed by the All Progressive Congress, APC. While it is true that Nigerians voted for MKO Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe under a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 1993, the situation in the country is no longer the same.

“It is insensitive and unconscionable for APC to re-enact Muslim-Muslim ticket after 13 years of Islamist insurgency in Nigeria.

“The tongue-in-cheek argument that religion should not be brought into politics stands reason on its head. It is absurd that the architects and sponsors of politics of religion in Nigeria could suddenly become advocates of no religion in politics to further their agenda of turning Nigeria into an Islamic theocratic state.

“NCEF has stated in many publications that the problem of Nigeria is the conflict between Democracy and Sharia ideology in the 1999 Constitution. Sharia in the constitution is the real politics of religion. The illegal and unwarranted incursion of Sharia into the 1999 Constitution is at the root of the Islamist insurgency and insecurity that has plagued Nigeria since 2009.

“The least the APC could do is to resolve the conflict of ideologies in Nigeria by enacting a new constitution having democracy as the sole national ideology and not attempt to worsen an already bad situation by giving political preference to a particular religion.

“If a Muslim-Muslim ticket should be permitted to stand, under whatever guise, it implies that after eight years of President Buhari, a Muslim from the North, there will be another eight years of a Muslim from the South, after which the North will insist that power should rotate back for eight years of another Muslim President.

‘’By the time Nigeria completes the cycle of 24 years of Muslim presidents, the Islamization agenda would be complete. Both PDP and APC have demonstrated callous insensitivity to the problems caused by religious intolerance in Nigeria. By floating two Muslim presidential candidates, both PDP and APC have confirmed their commitment to politics of religion.

“Consequently, Nigerians are urged to realise that the issue playing out is a deliberate attempt to destroy democracy in Nigeria and supplant it with Sharia as the national ideology and source of legislation. This issue does not concern Christians only, but it concerns Nigerians who love liberty, justice, equality, and fairness.

‘’The rejection of the Muslim-Muslim ticket should not be seen as a  Christian objection but an objection by every Nigerian in favour of democracy which guarantees freedom of choice, expression, and worship.

“If Nigerians should open their eyes and permit the Muslim-Muslim ticket to stand, or the election of a Muslim presidential candidate in 2023, then Nigerians would have voted for a sectional national ideology to replace the liberty upon which Nigeria was established as a country.

“Nigerians are fiercely independent people and would suffer a lot if their liberty is curtailed under a discriminatory religious ideology.

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