Aggrieved chieftains of the All Progressives Congress operating under the platform, Northern APC Christian Leaders have finally settled for the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal gave the group position in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Checks revealed that the aggrieved APC chieftains led by Babachir Lawan and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara have consistently vowed not to support the single faith ticket of the APC.
Incidentally, the APC standard bearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima are Muslims.
The former SGF in a statement titled, “Why we have chosen to endorse the Obi/ Datti ticket,” dismissed insinuation that the group has since pledged support for the People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. To me the PDP and APC are different sides of the same coin,” the former SGF declared.
Engineer LawaL dismissed the single faith ticket of the APC as “a deliberate, well-calculated plan to sow the seeds of religious and social discord among Nigerians. It is obvious that Northerners, in particular, are the intended targets and victims of this satanic plan. It is an indisputable fact that the whole of Northern Nigeria is currently mired in several intractable socio-economic problems due to the activities of several nebulous criminal groups. Agriculture, the mainstay of the northern economy, is all but abandoned because kidnappers and bandits have prevented people from venturing out of the safety of their homes. Interstate and intercity travel for either business or leisure have all but ceased not only due to un-motorable roads but more so for fear of kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of banditry. Our rural schools have all but closed for fear of kidnappers. Government-owned universities have closed thus depriving the children of the already impoverished Northern masses access to affordable higher education. Thus, our out-of-school and idle children have become easy targets for recruitment by bandits and kidnappers. And there is no solution in sight.”
He further accused the duo of Tinubu-Shettima as ethnic irredentists whom he alleged have no faith in a nation based on justice, equity and fairness to all ethnic groups.
He further maintained that the single-faith ticket of the ruling party would not promote religious balance and harmony in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country like Nigeria.
The statement further read in part:’ This APC ticket goes against the grain of Nigerian politics which in practice (if not in law) has always sought to achieve a religious balance in its politics and governance. It is worth noting that all the other seventeen political parties fielding presidential candidates have gone the way of established conventions and practices by fielding different-faith tickets. Truly except for its incitement to social disharmony, there is no sense at all in APC’s same faith ticket.
“Furthermore, in our quest for justice and equity in the socio-political and religious space of the country, it is obvious that only the Obi/Datti ticket has the potential of speaking to the genuine clamour for power shift to the South-East and at the same time speak to the cry of marginalization by our people of the South-East. Obviously, a Christian/Muslim presidency like the Obi/Datti one will be most appropriate at this stage of our political journey more so since we are now transiting from a Muslim/Christian presidency. It will also achieve the regional shift of the presidency from the current NW/SW to a SE/NW presidency as popularly being canvassed. This is justice; this is equity. This is political engineering at its best and one that engineers peace and harmonious co-existence of the various socio-political and religious classes of our nation.
“Nigerians should also resist the temptation of being ruled by the same set of courtiers who are recycling themselves, their children and their friends in a monarchical fashion, in and out of government to the exclusion of other segments of the society. This trend has resulted in these disastrous consequences in which we now find ourselves – impoverished, unsecured, divided, severely underdeveloped and massively unemployed with a widening gulf between the rich and poor of society. A keen observer will not fail to notice that APC is a transmutation of Action Group/UPN that is dominated by the children or grandchildren of those who once run and ruined the Action Group while the PDP is a transmutation of NPC/NPN is similarly dominated by the children or grandchildren of the people who once run and ruined the NPC. A government of either APC or PDP will only be a recycling of the same class of people who have been running and ruining the country from independence to date. Is it any wonder that Nigeria has remained static?
“The Obi/Datti will give us a breath of fresh air and the greatest opportunity to redeem our country from the quagmire into which we have been plunged by a recurring group of self-centred reactionaries.
“There is also this palpable fear and anxiety over a possible transition of the current presidency from one Fulbe to another – same tribe, same religion, same region, same courtiers. This has given rise to a heightened fear of a possible perpetuation of a Fulbe hegemony in the country. Besides, there is the perception by many Nigerians that the Fulbe are the main actors in the banditry and kidnappings currently ravaging the country. Therefore, there is a widespread perception that another Fulbe-led government will not have the inclination or political will to address the country’s security challenges seeing as a majority of the perpetrators are its kindred.
“There is also this perception that appointments by the current government are driven more by ethnic and religious cronyism than by Nationalistic considerations. This has given rise to a fear of a possible perpetuation of this trend by another Fulbe-led government. Both APC and PDP present us with these horrible options. The Obi/Datti ticket possesses great potential to wean us from these problems.
“Finally, as the political campaigns advance towards the election dates, the tendency to divide the country along regional, tribal and religious affiliations is gradually beginning to manifest. We can see very clearly that the APC has woefully failed in its original plan to instigate a form of jihad which it had sought through its same-faith ticket in order to capture the Muslim votes, and has now resorted to a tribal card. The battle cry is now the “it is our turn” tribal card in the South-West. The PDP on the other hand, seeing new opportunities in APC’s failed jihad strategy is tending towards adapting both the religious and ethnic strategies of APC in the North.
“Nigerians must be awake to these very dangerous campaign trends because any of the political parties that come into government by pandering to ethnic or religious sentiments may not be able to govern successfully and might further accentuate the social cleavages.
“Men of good conscience should therefore look to opportunities that unite rather than divide us. Only the Labor Party presents this opportunity. We, therefore, call on all patriots to labour for our country in this presidential election. Nigeria’s future is at stake in this presidential election. Obi-Datti is the only way to go. All other ways lead to perdition.”
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