Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode says that a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket will be a direct challenge to the Christian community in Nigeria.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain stated that the idea may jeopardise the chances of the ruling party in the upcoming 2023 elections.
Several reports emerged last Friday that the APC is looking to pair its Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu with a strong Muslim northerner.
The speculation has generated a barrage of reactions on and off social media as citizens express worries that it would be an unfair move considering the religious status of the country.
In an article on Monday, Fani-Kayode said his view towards a Muslim/Muslim ticket is that the APC should consider the backlash the ticket will bring.
Fani-Kayode said that he would stand by Tinubu if he insists on a Muslim/Muslim ticket, adding that he would attempt to defend the ticket as long as his running mate is not an extremist.
The former minister promised to support a Muslim running mate that has shown love and displayed sensitivity to the Christian community over the years.
He, however, hoped that Tinubu’s choice of a running mate will make or mar the ruling APC’s chances in the 2023 presidential election.
He said: “It is perceived by many in the All Progressives Congress (APC) that a Muslim/Muslim ticket may be the winning formula in the coming election. They believe that it would be politically expedient to take advantage of that and present such a ticket.
“It is perceived by others in the APC that a Muslim/Muslim ticket will be a direct challenge to the Christian community in Nigeria and it may jeopardise the chances of our party in the coming election.
“I hold the latter view but I have said that if our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, insists on a Muslim/Muslim ticket, I and many others shall stand by him and attempt to defend it as long as his running mate is not an extremist who will undermine the interests of the Christian community.
“In this matter, we must not allow ourselves to be guided by emotion but rather by our obligation to support our candidate and party, the quest and desire to win the coming presidential election at all costs, political expediency and by what the British call ‘real politik’.
“And neither is it in any way a betrayal of our values or our Christian faith to take this position because Muslim/Muslim ticket or no Muslim/Muslim ticket we will not sit by idly and allow anyone or any government to undermine our faith or our people.
“If Asiwaju decides on a Muslim/Muslim ticket we shall either swim with him or sink with him and, whichever way, given the experience of Atiku Abubakar and the certainty that the PDP will give its vice presidential ticket to a Christian, it will be a hard fight.
“I say this because there are over 100 million Christians in this country who feel passionately about their faith and who believe that they must be protected and represented at the highest level.
“Those that wish them away, dismiss their concerns and say they do not care about how they feel do so at their own peril.
“No matter what the candidate decides, he must allay their fears and carry them along because the fear and concerns about islamisation, rightly or wrongly, are very real.”
Fani-Kayode promised to oppose a Muslim running mate that secretly despises Christians or that has a track record of treating Christians with contempt in his state or constituency.
He said: “If the APC comes up with Muslim/Muslim ticket, as long as it is a Muslim that has a track record of religious tolerance, kindness and sensitivity towards the Christian community and one that places our nation and the Nigerian people, regardless of their religious affiliation, before his faith, I will gladly support such a candidate and such a ticket.
“However if the Muslim/Muslim ticket produces a Muslim running mate that secretly despises Chritians or that has a track record of treating Christians with contempt in his state or constituency or of endangering and wasting Christian lives, I will oppose that ticket, that candidate and indeed that party.
“We know who is who. We know who the liberals and moderates amongst them are and we know who the extremists and hardliners are.
“I agree that we must do whatever it takes to win but we must also be wary of our choices. You bring the wrong Muslim who is hostile to Christians as your running mate and that will not only be the end of your ambition but will also polarise our country in a very significant and dramatic way.
“Whether Christian or Muslim, if we have a heart filled with light, compassion, kindness, love and the fear of God we give nothing but goodness and love but if we have a heart filled with darkness, prejudice, hate, bitterness, evil and contempt and disdain for God we have nothing to give but evil and hate.
“More important than anything else is the condition of the heart: whether Christian or Muslim that is what counts.
“Again, we must always remember that whether Christian or Muslim or southerner or northerner, we are first and foremost Nigerians and that we are one!“