The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has described the same faith presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as reprehensible and a setback for national integration.
The ticket features two Muslims, former Lagos and Borno governors, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as president and vice presidential candidates respectively, for the 2023 elections.
He said: “As a Christian, this is totally reprehensible and not acceptable to me, “It has just laid the foundation and taken us back after the tide of progress we thought we have made in terms of national integration.”
“In 1993 that you were talking about, I think Nigerians have gotten to a point like we have under Abacha, where we do whatever is required to get the military out. We’re going to do it. I think we have exaggerated our interpretation of what happened in 1993. Because we always have this dubious interpretation that this is evidence that Nigerians don’t care about religion.
“Maybe that was what was illustrated, but moving forward, the question I’m asking my friends who are Muslims and it’s a very simple question, especially those of us who are from northern Nigeria. Will Muslims in Nigeria or northern Nigeria be ready to make the same concession that Christians made in 1984, in 1993, and they have now been asked to make the same constitution.
“You have to understand this against the backdrop of what has happened to this country in the last seven years. You know, when you look at the squandered opportunities when you look at the way power has been distributed, when you look at the way this government has allocated opportunities in the broad spectrum of Nigeria against the wider backdrop of the crisis that we’re in now, ordinarily, the least we should be talking about is whether our next president is going to be a Christian or a Muslim.
“But as a Christian, I can tell you very frankly that the decision that the APC took, naturally, I felt astonished. The candidates in question and I might also say without sounding arrogant that I know all the presidential candidates, at least the prominent presidential candidates that are out there, it is unfortunate that two illustrious people like Asiwaju Tinubu and my friend, Kashim Shettima, should have to face this whole dilemma because it’s not their own making. But I feel that the sheer insensitivity that brought us to this point speaks to the fact that somehow our people are not aware of the volatility they have created in the system.
“I think that as a Christian, this is totally reprehensible and is not acceptable to me because of the sort of the decision the APC has made. When the campaign started, we’ll hear what people have to say, but it has just laid the foundation for what has taken us back after the kind of progress that we made in terms of national integration.”