The noise over perceived Muslim-Muslim ticket is a ploy to distract the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mallam Salihu Lukman, the party’s National Vice Chairman (North-West), has said.
Lukman said this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja.
He said he was not surprised to find party members among those demonising Tinubu over fear that he could settle for a Muslim running mate.
He said, “As usual, conservative and reactionary ethno-religious considerations are colouring the debate. Question of Muslim–Muslim ticket, implying that another Muslim from the North will most likely be Asiwaju’s running mate.
“Leading party members are already becoming strong advocates for or against a so-called Muslim–Muslim ticket. This debate is reproducing the old pre-convention reactionary and conservative campaign.
“Given the cheap and reactionary campaign in APC aimed at pushing delegates at the National Convention to copy the PDP by electing a presidential candidate from among Northern leaders, the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu demonstrated the superiority of the APC in providing level playing field to party members to compete and win internal party contests.”
Lukman said given the manner the contest for the presidential primary went, the challenge of uniting APC leaders to defeat all opposition parties, including PDP, will form an important precondition for winning the 2023 elections.
Lukman emphasised that with Tinubu’s victory, the debate has now shifted to the choice of running mate, noting, “If choices of leaders are dictated by ethno-religious factors, Nigerian politics will continue to be disadvantageous to many sections of the country.”
“Most of those trying to use religious arguments to influence the choice of running mate for Asiwaju Tinubu are impliedly arguing that a Christian Northerner can only win a presidential election if his/her running mate is a Muslim from Southern Nigeria.
“In the same way, this will be politically disadvantageous, if not impossible for any Christian from the North or Muslim from the South to win presidential election. Such a backward national mindset must be changed,” he added.