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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: CAN, Others Warn Parties As Buhari Meets Govs

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• Muslim-Muslim ticket dangerous, declaration of war, CAN warns parties, vows stiff resistance

 

Groups including the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Catholic Society of Nigeria have warned political parties against fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 presidential election.

They gave the warning as the President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress governors and the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday intensified moves to pick Tinubu’s running mate ahead of Friday’s deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Groups campaigning for Tinubu told The PUNCH that what mattered was a responsive and responsible government, not religion.

Since the emergence of Tinubu, a southern Muslim, there has been controversy over his running mate for the 2023 presidential election with CAN insisting that a Muslim-Muslim ticket was a recipe for crisis.

But the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, in an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, said competence not religion should be considered when picking a running mate.

CAN, in an open letter addressed to all political parties on Tuesday said it would take a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a declaration of war and would mobilise against political parties that adopted it.

The religious body in the letter advised politicians not to sow seeds of religious conflicts among Nigerians.

The letter which was signed by the national secretary of the association, Joseph Daramola was addressed to the chairmen of all political parties in Nigeria.

He stated that although there were reports of corruption at presidential primaries, it was a big relief that generally the activities were largely peaceful.

According to him, although it is the responsibility of political parties to pick their candidates, there is the need to strike a balance,” to guarantee that the nation enjoys peace and security after elections.

“As the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, we call on all the presidential candidates to choose men or women of alternative religion as their running mates. For avoidance of doubt, the CAN will not accept any presidential ticket that is Christian-Christian or Muslim- Muslim.

“This simply means that where the presidential candidate of the party is a Christian, the deputy should be a Muslim; and where the presidential candidate is a Muslim, the deputy should be a Christian.

“There should not situation where the presidential ticket of a political party in Nigeria, whether a major or minor party, will be two Christians as presidential candidate and running mate, or two Muslims as presidential candidate and running mate. All within us as Nigerians must be done to douse religious and ethnic tensions in the land.

“This minimum requirement for a valid presidential ticket in the Nigeria of today is that it is religiously diverse. With the crisis of religious fundamentalism and its mainstreaming into policymaking and administrative actions in Nigeria today, anything short of a Christian-Muslim or Muslim-Christian ticket is an undisguised effort to nurture religious conflicts and destabilize the country.”

Daramola added that in view of growing religiously motivated terrorism, including the recent attack in a church in Owo, Ondo State, “any plot to have both the President and Vice President come from the same religion is a deliberate effort to ignite the fire of religious warfare in Nigeria.

“The weaponisation of religious difference in the recent past as never before is a cause for concern and a sufficient reason for those of us who do not want this nation to go into avoidable crisis to cry out now. It will be plain disrespect for diverse religious communities in Nigeria for any party to go against common sense to foist a single religious ticket in a religious plural country with serious problems of religious extremism and violence on Nigerians. No party in Nigeria can deny the existence of credible men and women from both Islam and Christianity that can be their Presidential and running mate.

“Whereas CAN is not a partisan organisation and does not involve itself with the process of partisan politics, it has a responsibility to defend the religious freedom of Nigerian citizens, whether Christians or not. CAN has a responsibility to speak out and mobilize civic action against threats to the unity, peace and security of the Nigerian state.

“Therefore, we give notice to all political parties that we will protect the religious diversity of the Nigerian state and will “mobilize politically against any political party that sows the seed of religious conflict by presenting to Nigeria a presidential ticket that is Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian.

“We will consider such action as a declaration of war against the freedom of religion, the peace and security of the Nigerian state. We will consider such insensitive action as evidence of a deliberate action to plunge the country further into religious violence and extremism and destroy the foundations of the continuation of the Nigerian state.

“As the presidential candidates prepare to nominate their running mates, we sound the note of warning, through this letter, that only a diversified presidential ticket will be acceptable to Nigeria in line with the constitutional requirement of power sharing and the responsibility of sensitivity to Nigeria’s deep religious diversity.

“We pray that God will give the political elites the wisdom to seek peace and prosperity for the mistreated citizens of Nigeria and avoid the path of provocations that lead to violent conflict. May God guide our leaders to become statesmen and women who are dedicated to the promotion of the common good and not the mindless pursuit of destructive selfishness.”

Also, a group, the Oodua Youth Parliament, called on Tinubu to pick a northern Christian.

It said picking a Christian running mate from the Northern part of the country would give Tinubu and the APC the desired victory.

This was contained in a statement issued by the leader of the group Abdulmojeed Oyeniyi, on Tuesday.

Northern Christians and pastors under the aegis of Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association warned against the imposition of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The group, in a statement by the chairman, Rev. Shehu Luke, stated, “The ACIPA has observed with sadness the hijack of Nigeria’s political process and perhaps our future by a few money bag politicians with the tacit conspiracy of some of our legislatures and the Presidency.

“While the recently concluded primary elections of the major political parties have a public semblance of transparency, it is obvious that there was a covert inducement of delegates through a well orchestrated machinery which influenced.”

“Competence matters’

In its reaction, the Director of Publicity, Tinubu Support Organisation, Ekiti State, Abiodun Alonge, in an interview with The PUNCH, said what mattered to Nigerians was a government that could deliver the greatest good for the greatest number of the people and not whether the president and vice president belonged to same religion or not.

Alonge said, “The issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket for Nigerians as of now is a non-issue. Hunger has no religion, poverty has no religion. If a Muslim is the President of Nigeria and a Muslim is the Vice President, as long as there is good healthcare, good education, jobs and our students are in the school uninterrupted by strikes for four years, no one will say it because Muslims are in power. The same thing if a Christian is President and a Christian is vice president.”

When asked for his take on Muslim-Muslim, the leader of the Grassroots Network for Asiwaju Tinubu group, Mr Abiodun Mafe, said he was concerned about the competence and capability of the person who will fill the vice president slot of the party.

On its part, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in a statement on Tuesday warned political parties against the imposition of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The statement which was signed by the Secretary General of the CSN, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi​​, said, “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.

“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.”

Also, youths in the APC, under the aegis, of the APC Youth Progressive Forum, at a press conference in Bauchi on Tuesday rejected the Muslim/Muslim.

They therefore, called on the presidential candidate of the APC to pick a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara as his running mate.

The National Chairman of the group, Ukkasha Hamza Rahama, said the choice of Dogara, would douse tensions in the country.

Buhari, govs

Meanwhile, Buhari on Tuesday met behind closed doors with the APC governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Although the governors declined to speak with the media after the meeting, it is believed to be in connection with last-minute hunting for a running mate for the party’s standard bearer, Bola Tinubu.

Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, led the governors to the meeting.

Attending the Villa meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; governors Babagana Zulum of Borno, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Mohammed Abubakar of Jigawa, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, and Hope Uzodinma of Imo.

Constitution doesn’t stipulate religion as a criterion for choosing VP, says Gov Uzodimma

 

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Rivers Assembly: Pro-Wike Lawmakers Know Fate Today As Appeal Court Delivers Judgement

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An Appeal Court in Port Harcourt has scheduled a ruling for (today) Friday, June 14, 2024, regarding a case filed by Martin Amaewhule, on behalf of twenty-six others, challenging the decision of the Rivers State High Court, which favored Victor Oko-Jumbo, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

Previously, Justice Dagogo Jack of the State High Court ruled in favor of Oko-Jumbo in a suit that restrained Amaewhule and twenty-six others from performing any legislative functions and vacated their seats as Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly.

An interlocutory injunction was also granted against Amaewhule and the twenty-six others, which has now been consolidated in the appeal.

The three-judge panel of the Appeal Court, led by Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada, after hearing arguments from both parties on Thursday, announced their readiness to deliver a ruling on the matter and instructed all counsels to be present in court by 9 a.m. on Friday, June 14, 2024.

Should the Appeal Court rule in favor of Amaewhule, all laws and bills passed by him and the other members will be validated, and they will resume their legislative functions.

The affected lawmakers are loyal to the FCT Mninister, Nyesom Wike.

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APC Begins E-Membership Registration Wednesday

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The ruling All Progressives Congress said the electronic registration of its members nationwide will start on Wednesday and the exercise will be inaugurated by its National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje.

This was disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka.

Morka noted that Ganduje will be accompanied by two serving ministers in President Bola Tinubu’s administration and party leaders to the opening of the ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshop slated for Abuja.

He identified the two dignitaries as the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji, and his counterpart in Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani.

The statement partly read, “In furtherance of the All Progressives Congress’ trailblazing commitment to digitalise its membership register in all its chapters in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, the National Chairman of our great party, His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje cordially invites party leaders, members, and the general public to the opening ceremony of the ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshop.”

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Bill To Create New State In South-East Pass First Reading In House Of Reps

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A bill seeking the creation of an additional state in the South-East geo-political zone has passed first reading at the House of Representatives.

The state if created will be known as ‘Orlu State’, with its capital in Orlu.

The bill, seeking to alter the 1999 Constitution (as amended) was sponsored by the member representing Ideato North/ Ideato South Federal Constituency, Ikenga Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, and 15 others, is currently awaiting second reading.

If passed, the bill would bring the number of states in the South-East to six, and the country to 37.

The proposed legislation, which was availed to newsmen on Thursday, indicated that the proposed state will be carved out from Imo, Abia and Anambra.

According to the proposed legislation, Local Government Areas that will form part of the proposed state include Orlu, Orsu, Oru West, Oru East, Ideato North, Ideato South, Njaba, Nkwerre, Nwangele and Isu. Others are Oguta, Ohaji Egbema, Onuimo, Ihiala, Uga, Ihiala, Uli, Ozubulu, Akokwa, Arondizuogu, Umuchu, Umunze, Umuaku.

Others are New Ideato North, Nwabosi West, Nwabosi East, Owerre Nkworji, Alaoma, Amaifeke, Owerrebiri Umuowa.

The sponsor of the bill told newsmen that if the proposed state is created, Ideato would become a senatorial district.

He begged his colleagues in the National Assembly for support to ensure that the bill scales through second reading.

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