Reports have emerged that the leadership of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is plotting to field a Christian as it’s candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
It was gathered that in a bid to ensure cohesion the APC is considering giving it’s ticket to a southern Christian.
However, this has not gone down well with loyalist of the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, who is a Muslim.
According to Daily Independent, Tinubu loyalist have insisted that religion should not be a criterion for picking the APC candidate.
Recall that the National Secretary, APC, CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, had said the party would come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate to represent the party in 2023.
A source in the APC revealed that the party believes the zoning agreement between the north and south must be honoured to foster unity and togetherness.
“That position is very true. There is a strong belief in the APC now that the next pres¬idential candidate must be from the South. We can’t afford to gamble with another Northerner after President Buhari has served for eight years. However, there are also others who are of the view that if the candidate must come from the South, the person must be a Christian,” the source said.
“That is how it has always been since 1999. Obasanjo, a Christian, and Atiku Abu¬bakar, a Muslim, ruled from 1999 to 2007. The late Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim from the Northern part of the country became president in 2007 and Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the South was the vice president.
“When Yar’Adua died, Jonathan became president and he chose Namadi Sam¬bo, a Muslim from the North, who was former governor of Kaduna as his vice. When President Buhari became APC presidential candidate in 2014, he almost settled for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Muslim from the South, but even within the APC, there was uproar against a Muslim-Muslim ticket and he had to settle for Prof Yemi Osinbajo, a Christian.
“I don’t think the situation will change in 2023. There are some people who are already grumbling that will another Muslim take over from Presi¬dent Buhari in 2023 even if the ticket is zoned to the South? These are issues we are con¬sidering and it is important it is given utmost attention because all indices matter in politics, especially for a country like Nigeria.”
But speaking on the development, Hon. Bosun Oladele, a former member of the House of Representatives, who is the Secretary of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) 2023, stated that the zoning agreement between the North and South should be respected, and not religion.
He said, “Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world but how far has our claim to being religious tak¬en us? We close down ware¬houses, shut down factories because of churches that are not promoting businesses, and because of beliefs that are not leading to developmental strides.
“In the same warehouses turned churches, we gather and start praying so that we can have jobs. Is that not an irony? So, if we keep empha¬sising religion all the time, we will be sacrificing develop¬mental politics. So, my take is that religion shouldn’t be a criterion.”