The Muslim-Muslim political gimmick is dividing Nigerians along religious lines but will only stand if Nigerians vote for it, M. A. Nababa writes
I noted with great trepidation that since 1993, every general election came with a specialty, uniqueness of something awkward that tend to shake the table of the country’s political discourse. I need not to relay them all for this piece.
But suffice to note that in 1993, we were left with a recurring word called “Annulment”, “Muslim-Muslim ticket” culminating into what has come to stay in our national polity as June 12. This date is now even our Democracy Day, a public holiday in honour of the heroes who struggled and died or survived the agitation for the clamour to respect people’s votes.
In 1999, it was all southern affair because the consensus was of power shift to the South. General Olusegun Obasanjo Rtd. was pardoned by a Head of State, General Abubakar Abdulsalami Rtd., a northerner, from life sentence for charges of coup plot by late General Sani Abacha.
He was thereafter enlisted as a card-carrying member of a national party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, formed largely by Northern politicians. And the campaign was funded largely by Northern politicians and given almost all of Northern votes.
Obasanjo was sworn in on May 29, 1999 as Nigeria’s democratically-elected President.
Eight years after, that is after he survived the force of his vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, who swayed almost all state governors and threatened to contest for the presidency in 2003, Obasanjo quickly handpicked a presidential candidate, in the sick governor of Katsina State, late Umaru Musa Yaradua, and his vice-presidential candidate, the then governor of Bayelsa state, Goodluck Jonathan, and cobbled them together. Heaven did not fall! The rest is history.
After sixteen years of PDP, the party was voted out through a merger force of four major political parties (CPC, ANPP, ACN, a part of APGA and a little of the PDP) led by Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Ibrahim Shekarau, Rochas Okorocha, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and a host of other hefty political leaders.
The merger metamorphosed into the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Today, the APC is on course for an eight-year tenure and a general election is due in February 2023.
If there is any addition to the Nigeria’s political lexicon, not new of course, but now cemented, is the Muslim-Muslim ticket experiment. Muslim-Muslim ticket is understood to mean where a Muslim is a Presidential aspirant with a Vice President also a Muslim.
In 1993, late Chief Moshood Abiola, a Muslim and Yoruba from Southwest Nigeria stood alongside Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, a Muslim and Kanuri from Northeast Nigeria as Vice President.
Of course, because of the exigencies of the time, it worked, and the duo won squarely while the election was adjudged in Nigeria as the freest and fairest in our history.
Alas, the Military under General Babangida, Rtd, for reasons best understood to them, annulled the election.
With APC in power today, the presidential primary election held by the party has given room for the idea of Muslim-Muslim ticket to be revisited again.
And while our religious sentiments have rose almost beyond the red line, our hypocrisy when it comes to religious issues are further exposed. Some have started issuing threat that it is a time bomb, while some said “Nigeria will break up!”
But most have forgotten that this is just a political joker! It can only be feasible if votes for it are given, it is not a fait-accompli that by flying the Muslim-Muslim ticket it means the party has won!
And since democracy is a game of numbers, if Nigerians voted for it, there is nothing anyone can do about it.