Southern presidency shift despite religion, insists Akeredolu — Nigeria — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Lalong: Pope did not oppose my appointment as CEO, proud to lead APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket campaign as a Catholic
• Resign as VP candidate to save APC from embarrassing defeat, says M’Belt Congress in Shettima
• Lalong’s appointment as CEO of Tinubu campaign is a political miscalculation, group says

Yesterday, the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, insisted that Nigeria’s presidency must come to the South next year lest it thwart the arrangement of rotation of power in the country.

He also condemned the incursion of religion into politics, urging citizens not to be distracted by religion in their choices in the 2023 general election.

Speaking at the one-year commemoration of Professor Bankole Oke of the University of Ibadan Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, while delivering a lecture entitled “Nigeria: The Politics of Religion in a Society in Transition”, Akeredolu said the rotation of power had been an unwritten process. agreement in the country since the return to civilian rule in 1999, and this arrangement must not be changed now.

He advised Nigerians to ensure that power does not revert to the North in what he described as the guise of a party choosing a southerner as their running mate.

Recall that Southern Governors had met last year in Delta State in what has been labeled the ‘Asaba Accord’ to agree to ensure, across party lines, that the next president after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure originated from the southern part of the country.

Speaking yesterday, the ‘Power Shift’ champion said: ‘A party that has chosen someone from the North as its candidate for president is not doing so in the interest of the country. (Peter) Obi has the right to challenge because he is from the South.

“We are ready to give him whatever it takes to see power return to the South in 2023. There seems to be an understanding that power must rotate between North and South. This agreement saw the competition of two candidates from the South West for the presidency. It was part of the unwritten agreement that the power equation must be balanced to assuage the fear of domination harbored by the peoples of the South.

“There is a conscious attempt not to disrupt the existing arrangement. There has been a smooth transition from one civilian rule to another since 1999, the longest in the country’s political history.

“The current political permutations raise strong suspicions over an unstated motive to thwart the arrangement that has worked for the country. The rotation of the president’s office has been between North and South since the advent of the Fourth Republic.

Furthermore, the Governor warned Nigerians to beware of the tricks of desperate politicians using religion to divide the people. Akeredolu said First Republic politicians achieved so much because they were people of enormous ability, and religion was not an issue in determining who was elected and appointed to office, but the ability to deliver. .

“The unnecessary lamentation of a section of the political class over the recent choice of the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a Muslim, to choose Senator Kashim Ibrahim Shettima, another Muslim, as his running mate -presidency, is the most regrettable. This choice generated unnecessary controversy.

“Those directing this apparent mischief are unaware or oblivious to the fact that the office of Vice President, as provided for in the 1999 Constitution, as amended, is harmless. The occupant of this office can only act under the directives of the president who holds the real executive power. It appears that these demonstrations are symptomatic of the level of distrust of members of the political class who are ready to do anything to seize power.

He said Nigeria’s pre-independence leaders had worked hard to wrest power from colonial masters while urging Nigerians to be optimistic that the country would become great again. However, he admitted that it was taking too long.

He further stressed that Nigeria needs to be restructured and the state police must be created to deal with the insecurity raging in the country.

“Religion is currently deployed, shamelessly, by the elite to gain undeserved advantage. The sooner we stop this dangerous and divisive campaign, the better for everyone. Any war waged to establish the supremacy of faith over others can only end in tears. The manipulative skills of politicians now being put to use will make an already bad situation worse.

“The solution to the challenges facing the country will not be found in the religion of individuals. A person’s religious conviction is based on his personal conviction. It is essentially private. The public space must remain secular.

“Therefore, the current agitations for sectarian political representation are rooted in a certain misunderstanding of the demands of leadership in a multi-ethnic state like Nigeria.

“It is on the verge of mischief to impose the people on themselves in order to gain political power. Any so-called religious leader, who ignores knowledge and skills as necessary criteria to measure leadership capacity, is an apostate,” he added.

AS he was beleaguered by stakeholders within his party, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong yesterday harshly criticized Christians who oppose his acceptance of the offer to serve as chief executive of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign organization, saying Pope Francis did not tell him the decision was wrong.

Lalong spoke to reporters after a closed meeting with President Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

He said that as a Nigerian Catholic with the highest papal honor (Knight of Saint Gregory), he remains a staunch adherent, despite his new job of selling a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket to voters.

He also denied the allegation that he lobbied to become the APC vice-presidential candidate in the 2023 elections, Tinubu.

Arguing that he respects his faith as a Christian, Lalong noted, however, that he was elected governor for all the people, regardless of their faith, adding that since politics was a matter of interest, it is a bona fide member of the APC and therefore will not engage in anti-party activities.

He says he also wonders where all those who call themselves Christians and oppose his appointment as CEO are coming from.

The governor said he was at the presidential villa to thank the president for approving a number of infrastructure projects and granting a presidential pardon to former state governor Senator Joshua Dariye , as well as a former Governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame, who were convicted on corruption charges.

MEANWHILE, the Nigerian Youth Coalition (NYC) has described Lalong’s appointment as CEO of a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a political miscalculation, which could sink the party’s political ship into oblivion .

NYC President Aare Oladotun Hassan, who said this yesterday in Abuja, called on well-meaning lovers of democracy within the APC to see the urgent need to read the minds and body language of Nigerians , especially of the Christian faith when appointing the DG without full and adequate consultation with the Christian members of APC as a unanimous decision to appoint and choose what is best to represent their interests.

Hassan urged the APC to rethink its decision to pacify Christians across the country and if indeed the 2023 presidency is a must win.

According to him, Lalong does not have the capacity to carry Tinubu and Shettima’s ticket to victory in the upcoming presidential election.

He said, “Governor Lalong is not the best person to be appointed CEO of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, noting his chameleon track record in preparing for the presidential primary.

“We disapproved of anyone who recommended Lalong for the job as they do not mean well for both the party and the Tinubu/Shettima presidential ticket.

“Unfortunately, it was common knowledge that Lalong worked against Tinubu’s presidential ambition during the primary, as he worked for former transport minister Rotimi Amaechi.

“APC must be aware that religion is a serious factor, which must be taken into account in balancing political interest due to the sensitivity attached to religion in Nigeria, hence the need to reverse and d ‘Turn off the search engines for wisdom to choose the best from APC Christian members.

“Since the return of democracy in 1999, the practice has always been that of the Christian-Muslim or Muslim-Christian presidential ticket and the introduction of the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket is a strange development which has left Christians mentally harmed and assaulted; and they are ready to vent their anger at the ballot box.

In another development, opposition to Shettima’s emergence as Tinubu’s running mate took a new turn yesterday as a social and cultural organization, the Middle Belt Congress, called on the former state governor of Borno to step down from his role as vice-presidential. party candidate.

The organization noted that the move would potentially save the party from impending electoral doom in 2023.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the group’s organizer, Bilal Abdullahi, said the national acceptance of the party had declined after Shettima’s nomination, adding that by choosing a Muslim to stand with Tinubu, the APC has shown a religious insensitivity to the plurality of the nation. .

“The Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC is indeed accompanied by its political baggage. Suppose the APC as a party wishes to have a significant impact on the presidential election, in which case it is incumbent on the party to retrace its steps in the composition of its presidential ticket.

Describing Shettima as a friend of the Christian community in Nigeria, Abdullahi said it was disappointing that the former governor decided to be part of a Muslim-Muslim ticket amid religious and ethnic tensions.

“We are forced to believe that Shettima’s self-confession to the Christian community could be a ruse as his recent actions do not indicate those of a religiously tolerant individual,” Bilal said.

“It remains morally unjustifiable for Shettima to retain the post of Vice President of the APC, as such an action has heated the political system in ways too numerous to mention.

“The incomprehensible fact remains that the APC leadership is aware of the threats to its electoral success with the Muslim-Muslim ticket, but it has remained adamant about the uproar its choice of Muslim-Muslim ticket has caused in the system. Politics.

“Shettima must, in good conscience, admit that his appointment has indeed caused ethnic and religious tensions in the country, which remains unacceptable at this critical time in our existence when there are concerted efforts to unify the country along ethnic and religious,” the statement added.

“The fact that a Muslim-Muslim ticket cannot unite the country is enough for Shettima to reconsider his candidacy for the vice-presidency. And as a former governor who witnessed one of Nigeria’s bloodiest conflicts, he should know better the cost of conflict in society.

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