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2023: Dymistifying The APC’s Muslim/Muslim Ticket

The political calculations towards the 2023 general elections in Nigeria gathers momentum. In advanced democracies the concern of voters by now would have been what happens to the economy, inflation, inequality, unemployment rate, poverty level, and the security situation.

The political atmosphere is charged in Nigeria with the choice of running mate for the Presidential Flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu that attracts sharp criticism from Nigerians.

What most Nigerians expect is a balanced ticket of Muslim/Christian which Tinubu and APC did the opposite. The question is why the choice?

Before answering the why and how. We must be adequately informed on the political strategy of the political parties which can easily be framed in three ways. First, is the Winning formula which looks at how a political party can win election as the ultimate aim of the political strategy.

Second, the Unity formula which looks at what will bring unity to the ticket. This implies having a Muslim/Christian or Muslim/Atheist, Christian/Atheist ticket to carry everybody along.

Third, is the Competency formula which would require a team that can deliver without minding religion, tribe, and region which Nigerians do not talk much about. It can strongly be argued that it is relegated to the background.

Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with religion as the main division between the South and the North. Presently, this division makes even government appointments to be done or expected to be balanced based on quotas for religious representation in cabinet affairs.

The political culture of Nigeria has been mixed but largely parochial has undermined shift to civic culture to the present modern Nigeria with effort to state-building against ethnic nationalism or “we” against “them”

Hence, the how question is that the Tinubu’s ticket is seen as a Southern question of power shift as demonstrated by the APC Northern Governors Forum than a religious or tribal agitations. The why of Muslim/Muslim ticket is designed by Tinubu and APC to ensure victory by appealing to northern voters who will ask what is our stake in it.

On the political aspect of the ticket Tinubu score two goals by chosing a minority (Kanuri) and from the Northeast where Atiku Abubakar is so as break his support base. This has temper with Southwest/Northwest political alliance by extension the Hausa/Fulani. The expectation is that the Muslim/Muslim ticket will be forced on the Muslims.

Expectedly, on the other hand, the Christian community will feel shortchanged with this arrangement. The backlash will be loud, clear and divisive. It will heighten tension and mutual distrust.

Fortunately, there are alternatives political parties and candidates. The APC’s choice of Muslim/Muslim ticket as political strategy may have given advantage to the main opposition party the PDP in its campaign strategy.

The outcome of the election will be very historical. In the sense that the crux of the matter is, if Tinubu wins it would be seen as religious dominance and if he lost it would be seen as a religious defeat. This outcome will be a continuum for a foreseeable future in Nigeria.

Since 1999, five factors affects Inter-group relations. The introduction of Shariah Law in 2001, Boko Haram insurgency 2002, the incessants ethno-religious crisis, farmer/herder conflicts and some of APC’s government policies.

The die is cast, my concern is the perception that what APC did as a party represents Islam or Muslims far from that politicians always aim at what makes them survive or capture power.

The utterances and intolerance of both Muslims and Christians in Nigeria is the major problem not the politicians. Let’s work towards our choice and make the change we want realized. The weaponization of social media is another area of concern that breeds hatred.

It would be a reductionist view to perceive the APC choice of political strategy for 2023 as a collective religious decision than a political party team decision.

The 2023 general elections should not be seen as a contest between Muslims and Christians rather it is an opportunity to express freedom of choice in civic duty. God bless Nigeria.

Isa Mohammed,
12th July, 2022.

The Reporter News
The Reporter Newshttp://www.thereportersnews.Ng
My name is Fatima muhammed Halidu
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