The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has described the Muslim-Muslim ticket fielded by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as totally reprehensible and unacceptable.
Naija News reports that the decision of Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, to pick Kashim Shettima, who is also a Muslim, as his running mate elicited criticism from critical stakeholders, some APC members, and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Speaking on Thursday in an interview on Channels Television, Kukah said the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party is a setback to the country’s progress on national integration.
He wondered if Northern Muslims would accept a Christian-Christian ticket if such were field for any presidential election.
According to the popular cleric, the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the 1993 election has been “exaggerated” to mean Nigerians don’t care about religion.
Kukah said: “In 1983 when general Buhari came in as head of state, he took Idiagbon. Sadly, Nigerians were very excited. Maybe that is where we should have returned to as a scene of crime.
“It broke tradition, completely. The whole issue was that two Muslims from the north of the same religion would govern Nigeria, but Nigerians gave them that concession.
“I think we over-exaggerated our interpretation of what happened in 1993 because we always have this dubious assumption that it is evident that Nigerians don’t care about religion.
“But moving forward, the question I have asked my friends who are Muslims, especially those who are from northern Nigeria, is a simple question: ‘Would Muslims in Nigeria or northern Nigeria be ready to make the same concession that Christians made in 1984 and 1993?’
“And they have now been asked to make the same concession.
“You have to then understand this against the backdrop of what has happened in the last seven years.
“When you look at the squandered opportunity; when you look at the way power has been distributed; when you look at the way this government has allocated opportunities to broad spectrum of Nigeria against the wide backdrop of the crisis that we are in now, ordinarily the least we should be talking about is whether our next president should be a Christian or Muslim.
“But as a Christian, I can tell you very frankly that the decision of the APC, naturally, I felt astonished.
“I think that as a Christian, this is totally reprehensible. It is not acceptable to me, but that is the decision of the APC as a party. Perhaps, when the campaign starts, we will hear what people have to say.”