For the first time since the end of military rule, a national party in Nigeria has nominated two Muslims for president and vice president: Gov. Bola Tinubu and Gov. Kashim Shettima. ((Photo credit: Wikipedia, Borno State govt website.))
For the first time since the end of military rule, a national party in Nigeria has nominated two Muslims for president and vice president: Gov. Bola Tinubu and Gov. Kashim Shettima. ((Photo credit: Wikipedia, Borno State govt website.))

The ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket’ and the fears of Nigerian Christians and minorities

by Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, 21 July 2022


As Nigerians prepare to elect a new president in 2023, the country is embroiled in another round of ethnoreligious crisis. The controversy this time centres on the ruling All Progressives Congress party’s (APC) decision to nominate two Muslims as their flagbearers for the offices of the president and vice president:  Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state, and Kashim Shettime, former governor of Borno state. This is in contravention of an unwritten political arrangement in force since Nigeria reverted to civilian democracy in 1999, by which the presidency and vice presidency alternate between the two major religions.


The ethnoreligious fronts are already hardening. The online rhetoric of supporters of the major candidates is increasingly heading into dangerous territory. Online name-calling, as well as the weaponization of tribal prejudices and ethnoreligious stereotypes among party foot-soldiers can be observed in Nigerian cyberspace. And it is not limited to cyberspace. There are disturbing reports of APC thugs using violence to try to stop supporters of the Labour Party candidate from getting their voter registration cards in places like Lagos - a city long considered an APC stronghold. 


The APC’s decision has further increased the fears of Nigerian Christians and minorities of a full-blown Islamization agenda driven by ‘principalities and powers’ of   Islamofascist provenance within the deepest recesses of the Nigerian politico-security establishment.


The Congress of Northern Nigerian Christians (CNNC) articulated their concern in unambiguous terms.  They came out in strong condemnation of the APC move, contending that “equal representation of the two major religions in the presidency” is “sacrosanct”. The CNNC stated that the move championed by some Islamic clerics and politicians from the north portends great danger for the country and should be jettisoned in the interest of peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance.


Even though Christians are roughly equal in number to Muslims in Nigeria, the CNNC pointed out, “we have not been advocating for a Christian/Christian ticket”. They contend that the “Muslim-Christian presidency has been a leadership tradition in Nigeria since the era of the military to date, due to the ethnic and religious heterogeneous nature of our country.” And upsetting that balance would lead to an unforeseeable crisis.


Fears of a government-supervised genocide  


These fears, which are as old as Nigeria itself, are today supported not only by the documented upsurge in Christian persecution in northern Nigeria since 2009, but by the general climate of insecurity which has enveloped Nigeria since 2015 when the retired army general and coup plotter Muhammadu Buhari came to power.


The indiscriminate killing of Christians during worship as witnessed on Pentecost Sunday 2022 in Owo, southwestern Nigeria; the lynching of a Christian university student, Deborah Yakubu, by a Muslim mob in Sokoto on 12 May 2022; and the inability or unwillingness of the security forces to intervene stoke fears in Christians and minorities across the country.


In Kaduna State alone, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union reported that in the last six years 148 communities have been destroyed by Fulani militias and Islamic terrorists, and over 200,000 persons displaced, in an unprecedented campaign of ethnoreligious cleansing. In Plateau and Benue states the numbers are even higher, and the devastation worse.


Worst of all is the situation in northeastern Nigeria, where the terrorist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa have carved out territories and possessions for themselves through a reign of terror. Nearly three million Nigerians are refugees in their own country, due to the ravages of Islamic terrorism.


Many Nigerians believe that President Buhari, who is a northern Muslim of Fulani tribal extraction, is not only going along with, but also supervising the campaign of genocide by Fulani-Islamic militants against Christians and minorities in central and Middle Belt Nigeria. This they see as a part of an agenda to Islamize and “Fulanize” Nigeria, which former President Olusegun Obasanjo raised his voice against.


Why is the Muslim-Muslim ticket generating so much controversy?


To understand the fear and controversy, one needs to understand the complexity that is Nigeria, as well as the fear of domination by one region or religion, which that unwieldy complexity brings with it.


In a situation where the two major religions, with nearly equal demographics, are in a struggle for supremacy, there needed to be an arrangement that would prevent that struggle from degenerating into bloodshed. That was what the unwritten arrangement reached by major Nigerian political parties in 1999 was designed to achieve. The arrangement requires that if a Muslim is running for president, his vice president should be a Christian, and vice versa. It has held until now.


In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo, a southern Christian, chose Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a northern Muslim, as his running mate and vice president. In 2007, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, chose Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, as his running mate and vice president. When Jonathan assumed the presidency on the death of Yar’Adua in 2010, he chose Mohammed Namadi Sambo, a northern Muslim, as his vice president. In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, selected Yemi Osinbajo, a southern Christian, as his running mate and vice president. This arrangement has held the peace among the religions all this while, even though the rank incompetence of Nigerian politicians and the dysfunctionality of Nigerian politics has not curbed Islamic terrorism or solved the security crises in the country.


This Muslim-Muslim ticket move, according to its opponents, is a flagrant violation of that unwritten political arrangement that has worked for two decades. This unwritten code, they insist, was designed to balance and honour the plurality and religious diversity of the country and allay the fears of domination of one religion over the other, and guarantee, if not national cohesion, then stability. 


Proponents, on the other hand, notably Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State, argue that the competence of a candidate is more important than the unwritten arrangement. Opponents counter this by saying that competent Christians can be found to fill the positions.


Designed to reduce religious tension in a dysfunctional federalism


Nigeria practices a federal system of government. But over and above constitutional provisions, which delimit the powers enjoyed by each tier of government, power is so centralized and concentrated in the central government that the presidency has become a institution so powerful that it mocks the concept of federalism. It holds the purse strings. Many Nigerian states are not viable entities but depend on monthly subsidies from the federal government for their survival.


The army and the police are all exclusively under the control of the federal government. All these factors make the central government a very potent weapon. And in a country as badly governed as Nigeria, fractured along ethnoreligious fault lines, and where prebendal politics and a rentier economy nourishes endemic corruption, the central government can quickly degenerate into an agency to collect rent and distribute favours, cultivate nepotism, supress opponents and enemies, or defend friends and ethnoreligious interests, as Nigeria’s history has amply demonstrated.


This is one major reason why this unwritten arrangement of never allowing the president and his vice to have the same religion came into being. It is to reduce religious tensions arising out of the mutual suspicion that the two major religions have nursed against each other since northern Muslim delegates walked out of the 1978 Constituent Assembly over the issue of writing Sharia law into the constitution.


A presidency headed by two Muslims as both president and vice president not only violates the unwritten political arrangement that has held Nigeria together but is seen by many Christians as the last hurdle in effectively Islamizing Nigeria. 


Onyemaechi F.E. Ogbunwezeh, PhD, is Senior Research Fellow at Christian Solidarity International (CSI)

Comments: 36
  • #36

    ELEANYA NDUKWE JR. (Thursday, 15 September 2022 18:22)

    I absolutely love this take by Prof. Ogbunwezeh. It is not just the historical context of this rich exposé which makes the piece timely, but how refining it is to critically analyse the implications of Nigeria’s gentleman agreement regarding its complex geopolitical groupings.

    I believe 2023 is the year to finally get it right or Nigeria—and, indeed Nigerians—could be in for a long, rude awakening with the Islamisation Agenda a prerogative of the Northern Caliphate.

    With the hint of fresh air being Peter Obi’s candidacy, destroying every chance for a Muslim-Muslim ticket—or possible clinching at the polls—should be every Nigerian’s obsessive objective.
    Hopefully, we get it right. For 2023 might just be the last chance to avoid the Islamisation plans several decades hatched by the Northern powers-that-be.

  • #35

    Josephine Ade (Sunday, 28 August 2022 02:13)

    This is deep. Nigeria is apparently working for some people, and they don't seem to understand why there's a youth renaissance pushing for a change of the old order. Don't worry, something "hooge" is coming.

  • #34

    Masara Kim (Tuesday, 16 August 2022 13:17)

    This is deep

  • #33

    Nicole Koeck (Friday, 29 July 2022 07:00)

    One major property of a modern state is the separation of power and religion, as Max Weber pointed out. This is a result of a process of differenciation of value based spheres (Ausdifferenzierung von Wertsphaeren) and was described by Ernst H. Kantorowicz in ‘The King’s Two Bodies’ for Medieval England. Religion - operating with spiritual means (salvation, repentance, bad conscious) - and political power - operating with worldly means (weapons, execution, punishment) - have to free from one another in modernity to become themselves with own structures, knowing though they have the same pre-modern fundament: the Charisma (Max Weber).

    Another major property of a modern state is the separation of person and office. For political purposes everything that belongs to private issues, like sexual orientation (as long as it is in consent and not illegal), family, shoe size, leisure activities, brand of the mobile phone, breakfast habits, and of course religion are completely irrelevant for processes in the political field.

    The question is, in what respect can it be of importance to which god a politician is praying? Why are you, Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, are so interested in, in which temple a politician is worshipping? Why do we look at their private life? I can see your point and the danger: if two men being in charge to rule the country belong to the same religious community resp. religion, the principle of checks and balances is canceled.

    I would like to invite you to see it from the other side. That principle you are claiming for, did not mean a story of success for Nigeria. Frankly speaking, checks and balances did not work in Nigeria at all. Your Nigeria has been more and more weakened in the past decades. Checks and balances lead to an obstruction.

    My hope is, the aspect of religion could be neutralized, if there are two Muslims in ruling positions. This would help to milder the concurrence of religions in the political sphere, so that religious struggles would become a quantité negligeable. I can see the APC playing with prejudices, many people could have regarding the Muslim-Muslim-ticket. I can see the APC is trying to provoke by mutual insinuations. I can see a party mocking about these concerns. But I can also see the danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy here.

  • #32

    Chibyke (Tuesday, 26 July 2022 11:08)

    This article encapsulates the disquieting concerns of many a Nigerian as such Muslim/Muslim ticket authenticates the fears of Christians and updates their doubts.
    Unfortunately, Tinubu seems to give a middle finger � to the cacophony which his choice has elicited by ignoring the our fault-line issues which permeates our political system.

    Such choice is quite egregious given the endemic polarization of Nigeria along ethno-religious leanings in contemporary times under PMB. But people like me are less perturbed since we've got a great alternative to reckon with.

    Nigerians should make a statement with the votes to register their disappointments. That's the way to go.

  • #31

    EDEH VICTOR CHIJIOKE (Sunday, 24 July 2022 08:06)

    The present issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket will destabilise the country and is already causing serious havoc in the country. It is now clearer to many that the plans of the All Progressive congress(APC) is to islamize the country and frustrate the youths who are already passing through crucibles. I therefore urge Nigerians to see this evil agenda as a propeller and get there PVC's ready for next year's election. Let's not be discouraged but rather all should be ready and willing to fight this battle once and for all.
    Thanks Beloved elder brother for the work you are doing in CSI. Keep keeping on Prof Emma Ogbunwezeh.
    Daeyo Onyeishi!

  • #30

    Chinedu Nwadike (Saturday, 23 July 2022 01:07)

    To be insensitive to the malignancy of ethno-religious influence in our volatile space is to assert how remote these brutes are far from uniting us a diversified society. When a personal good supersedes the common good then it is no longer a healthy society. The choice of good dividends of democracy does not solely lie in the hand of the leaders but in the freedom to choose rightly that is not a privilege but a right to the citizens.

  • #29

    Anthony Ezekwu (Friday, 22 July 2022 10:54)

    The idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria is not only very controversial, it is one of the misuses of religion in politics. It is also a very insensitive action in an already polarized society like Nigeria in serious need of unity. Tinubu in his desperation to be the President of Nigeria, has shown that he is willing to do anything to succeed even if it means wiping out the Chrians in Nigeria. He has also shown his fragrant disrespect for the unwritten agreement as you rightly pointed out, and his agenda to play the same game Buhari has played in the past eight years. Unfortunately, Tinubu has underestimated the Nigerian Christians in particular and the frustrated millions of Nigerians in general (especially the youths). He is nose diving into failure.
    Dr. Franklin, I really appreciate this your wonderful article. You really nailed the matter in your usual intelligent manner.

  • #28

    TJ (Friday, 22 July 2022 08:57)

    The Muslim - Muslim move will further destabilise and threaten any chance of Nigeria being a united country, irrespective of a person's religion or tribal alliances. This move is in my view aggressive and antogonist. One can only hope that tolerant muslims vote against this seeing it as not in their best interests either.

  • #27

    Gerald Azike (Friday, 22 July 2022 05:21)

    Dr. Emma, your insightful analysis of the ethno-religious/political problem of Nigeria is a one for all Nigerians to pay attention too. For one, any nation that takes religious sensitivity of its citizenry for granted is heading to destruction. APC as a political party has been abetting religious persecution in Nigeria. Their decision to field both candidates of Muslim faith is the culmination of this their lack of sensitivity. While APC has the right to go south, Nigerian citizens have right now to reject their leprous hand that has been holding the country by its jugular. Our PVC is the answer in 2023!

  • #26

    Chidi Igbokwe (Friday, 22 July 2022 04:17)

    A well written article by one of our finest brains in diaspora, Dr. Ogbunwezeh.
    The APC as a party has presented to Nigerians their plan of Muslim-Muslim ticket for the forthcoming presidential election. It is left for us as Nigerians especially Christians, to respond with our PVCs. If no single Christian votes for them, I don't see them coming near second position in the election.
    This is not the time to complain, it is time to act by getting our PVCs and going out to vote.

  • #25

    Ugochukwu (Friday, 22 July 2022 01:13)

    A well argued piece. The Muslim-Muslim ticket represents the insensitivity of a section of the polite elite to the feelings and fears of many Nigerians. Efforts ought to be deployed to allay the fears and concerns of Christians on the much trumpeted Islamisation Agenda instead of accentuating them.

  • #24

    Joseph ILORAH (Thursday, 21 July 2022 20:36)

    From the standpoint that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended), both in spirit and in letters, advocates for and envisages a cohesive Nigerian State built on secularity and inclusivity rather than on exclusivity or "religious fanaticism", same-faith presidential ticket is antithetical to the intents and purposes of the 1999 Constitution. And being that every pattern of democratic governance in Nigeria finds its origin and orientation in and through political party formation, orientation, and expression, the mannerisms and body languages of political parties speak much to the psyche of the Nigerian masses and electorates, even before elections.

    APC as a political party appears to have lost sight of the fact that COMPETENCE and CONFIDENCE are not mutually exclusive in politics. While competence speaks of the aspirant's capacity to achieve or deliver, confidence speaks of the electorates' capacity to follow an aspirant, as well as their credence on the capacity of the aspirant to achieve or deliver. Confidence (especially for security of lives of the people themselves) can never be sacrificed for any projected or purported competence because the electorates themselves believe that they must first be alive before they can follow or witness any aspirant achieve or deliver. "Esse sequitur Agree"= Being is followed by Doing.

    The fears currently greeting the APC same-faith ticket is fundamentally anchored on the fecundity of its antithetical pinions against inclusivity and mutuality of good neighborliness Nigerians wish to see, develope, and enjoy. NIGERIANS FIRST WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER, irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations. And they first want a SEEMING guarantee for this life assurance through inter-faith ticket than otherwise.

    APC same-faith ticket endorsement is already dividing Nigerians farther apart along religious lines. The regions are further drifting apart even as campaigns are yet to formally commence. The widening divisiveness further aggravated by President Muhammadu Buhari of APC is seeing no gap-closing future with the APC same-faith ticket endorsement.

    The opulent renting of "fake bishops" to the APC same-ticket unveiling of two days ago speaks to the reality that APC is trying hard without success to save itself from the political miscalculation it allowed itself into by the self-inflicted "bullion van" vote buying influenza of its primaries.

    It is my take that it was in fact the 'bullion van" vote buying influenza of APC primaries that pushed APC into the birth of a Muslim presidential candidate from a more- Christians-populated Southern Nigeria, making it unavoidable for it to allow a Muslim vice-presidential candidate from a more- Muslims-populated Northern Nigeria, if it must smell a winning chance in the upcoming 2023 presidential election.

    It is therefore 'Monetary Inducement' that pushed APC to the 'Political Miscalculation' that is currently forcing it to foist the difficult-to-market same-faith ticket on Nigerians. And, not even the trumped up 'competence' of Shettima can wedge the eroding popular confidence against APC.

    I must conclude by saying that it is indeed very unfair of APC to be trying to resolve its political fears of losing out of the 2023 presidential election by converting its said fears to tensions, and trans-loading same on Nigerians via its same-faith ticket imposition attempts.

    Nigerians, especially Christians, will definitely prefer to lose APC than lose their lives to unwarranted possible national faith crisis or jihad.

    This Nigerians now believe they can do with their PVCs.

    - Joseph ILORAH, Esq

  • #23

    Luka Binniyat (Thursday, 21 July 2022 18:29)

    This is a marvelous article. It has made a rational of why Nigerians must seek a balance between their number one and two citizens.
    This is a reference material.

  • #22

    Charles Ogbu (Thursday, 21 July 2022 17:30)

    The view expressed in this piece represents the views of every Nigerian - whether Christian or Muslim - to which justice, fairness and equity hold meaning. By insisting on the Muslim-Muslim ticket despite protests from all quarters, the APC and its flagbearer are simply demonstrating that they are willing to set the whole country ablaze if only they could rule over the ashes. A shame, is it not?

  • #21

    Uche Ugwu (Thursday, 21 July 2022 17:16)

    What do I think? There is a master strategist in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has weighed his options. He is not likely to win with a Muslim-Christian ticket. The unwritten rule has always been about strategy to win the other side if the other is the contender. It was not based on equity. If Tinubu picks a Christian running mate he may as well not run because he is likely to lose the election. I would do the same. Now, Christians who are worried have options. It should not be an issue. My two pennies' worth.

  • #20

    Marx Bayour (Thursday, 21 July 2022 15:17)

    If one considers the gross misgovernance (or non-governance, as I prefer to call it), orchestrated by the lethal combination of incompetence and corruption, under the APC-led federal government, I don't think it is worth it, dissipating energy on the issue of their ill-informed and ill-conceived decision to go for a Muslim/Muslim ticket. The major problem lies in the fact that, most Nigerians appear to be too entrapped by the notion that, a Nigerian president must Emerge, either from the ruling APC or the opposition PDP. Meanwhile, we have a "Labour Party" parading a candidate (Peter Obi) who many young Nigerians perceive as a breath of fresh air.

    Like the APC had violated the unwritten code of ethno-religious balancing, PDP too, through its choice of Atiku, a northern Fulani Muslim, to succeed another Northern Fulani Muslim, in the shape of the incumbent, president Muhammad Buhari, has done same.

    The only popular party with a semblance of sensitivity to this delicate arrangement of religious balance, is the Labour Party, parading Obi, a Christian from the South, with a running mate, Ahmed Datti, a Muslim from the North.

    My grouse with the Obi ticket, is its lack of regional balance. The part of the North, from where he chose is deputy, to me, is an injustice to the two other zones in the North - North Central and North East. Methinks, he should have looked in the direction of the North East or North Central, as the North West has since 1999, produced two president's, a Vice president, and 4 speakers of the House of Reps, among other occupants of some strategic offices.

    Nevertheless, the snag in Obi's choice one that would not be too hard to overlook.

    So, Nigerians need to make APC pay for such insolence of choosing a running mate for its presidential candidate, without recourse to the unwritten agreement of ethno-religious balancing that serves as an in-built mechanism that still holds the country together.

  • #19

    Melvin Maris Ucheime (Thursday, 21 July 2022 15:13)

    Well rendered...Your views are in line with every right thinking person towards the happenings of these days. But there's hope if we are able to make good use of our PVC. Well done Prof.

  • #18

    Dr. Ike Odigbo (Thursday, 21 July 2022 14:14)

    The article is a balanced and fair representation of the implications of a muslim-muslim ticket is a multi-religious and already volatile country like Nigeria. There's no doubt that same-faith ticket advances an Islamic agenda, whether of domination, islamization or both. Now add this to the fact that almost all the security chiefs like head of the police, head of the security service, head of the army , air Force, navy etc are Muslim. Quite apart from the fact that these institutions do not defend endangered or terrorized christians, it is being feared that should the APC win under such bigoted ticket, the audacity of Islamic terrorists will double and they will unleash unhindered terror on the Christian population. The only thing that will save the situation is the massive loss of electoral value, and therefore subsequent inability to win the 2023 presidential elections.

  • #17

    Iyke Ekeocha (Thursday, 21 July 2022 13:26)

    I would have been glad if I could fault any of the positions and conclusions in this essay, but that is not possible, evidence to back them are just too overwhelming.

    Personally I would not have minded Tinubu and his decision for a Muslim as his running mate, he will not win, but for them to talk about competence as there reason is not only an insult, but also an attempt at rubbing it in. They are saying to christians that there's nothing going to happen. Tinubu and his goon squad have shown that they know nothing about the country they want to rule

  • #16

    Marx Bayour (Thursday, 21 July 2022 13:23)

    If one considers the gross misgovernance (or non-governance, as I prefer to call it), orchestrated by the lethal combination of incompetence and corruption, under the APC-led federal government, I don't think it is worth it, dissipating energy on the issue of their ill-informed and ill-conceived decision to go for a Muslim/Muslim ticket. The major problem lies in the fact that, most Nigerians appear to be too entrapped by the notion that, a Nigerian president must Emerge, either from the ruling APC or the opposition PDP. Meanwhile, we have a "Labour Party" parading a candidate (Peter Obi) who many young Nigerians perceive as a breath of fresh air.

    Like the APC had violated the unwritten code of ethno-religious balancing, PDP too, through its choice Atiku, a northern Fulani Muslim, to succeed another Fulani Muslim in the shape of the incumbent, president Muhammad Buhari, has done same.

    The only popular party with a semblance of sensitivity to this delicate arrangement of religious balance, is the Labour Party, parading Obi, a Christian from the South, running with Ahmed Datti, a Muslim from the North. My grouse with the Obi ticket, the lack of regional balance. The part of the North where he chose is deputy, to me, is an injustice to the two other zones in the North - North Central and North East. Methinks, he should have looked in the direction of the North East or North Central, as the North West has since 1999, produced two president's, a Vice president, 4 speakers of the House of Reps.
    Nevertheless, the snag in Obi's choice one that would not be too hard to overlook.

    So Nigerians need to make APC pay for such indolence of choosing a running mate for its presidential candidate without recourse to the unwritten agreement of ethno-religious balancing that serves as an in-built mechanism that still holds the country together.

  • #15

    Matthew Ụzọma Opoke (Thursday, 21 July 2022 12:59)

    Your views are in consonance with those of every right thinking person on this matter. They are as expository as they are didactic.

  • #14

    Uchenna Henry Okwo (Thursday, 21 July 2022 12:02)

    Excellent write-up.

    As expected, anyway.

    Prof., for the first time, I fear for Nigeria. Indeed, Nigeria has never made me proud, but I had hope. I had hope that Nigeria was going to be better. I had hope that someday these political hawks were going to give way to technocrats and leaders who love this country, but Prof., in the last few months, this hope of mine has dissipated.

    If you remember Prof., last year, when you visited Nigeria, I told you that I wasn’t going to leave Nigeria because I believed that Nigeria was just at a stage in its developmental curve. I said Nigeria was still south of the curve and while it could get steeper, I wondered how steep it would get, being that the country seemed despoiled to its limit. “What else could happen?”, I asked myself. Our economy was in the gutters, infrastructure was no longer a thing and most importantly, the security of lives and property was in a state where those who came out to protest police brutality became the victims of those they blubbered to. I remembered saying, “Prof., Nigeria cannot get worse. We die hia.”; with a simper. You laughed and said like a fortune teller, naa! Fortune kwa? Soothsayer? No! Your words were that of a sage. You knew what you were saying. I didn’t. You said, “Henry, listen. While Caesar and Pompey tore down the Roman Empire from within, the masses kept on with the sport, thinking tomorrow was going to be better. Look around, just look. The rats are jumping ship. These guys sending their kids abroad are the keepers of the dark corners in Nigeria, if there was hope, they would not cast their own to risk the sea. Henry, the rats are jumping ship” (Extracted verbatim from a WhatsApp chat I had with a friend on 19/04/2021)

    Prof., you were right. I think I was partly right too. Nigeria is on a curve. I think I was right about that, but it is a curve with a concave down function, and we have passed the peak. The only way to go now is downwards. Prof., I came to this realization, not because of the religious polarization that you alluded to, nor the barefaced jettison of zoning, which emboldens the ethnoreligious fault lines and would inevitably lead to unsettling degrees of perpetual “mutual suspicion” you took a hint at in your penultimate paragraph. It is not these things that seem existential to our national climb. It is in what Nigerians have come to accept. It is a fact that Nigerians are not ready to build a fair country. It is in reading extremely impoverished Yorubas/Muslims obsequiously groveling to a bullionVan-DrugLord-Tinubu solely because he is Yoruba/flying a Muslim-Muslim ticket, and saying “Politics is not fair. It is about winning”. It is in seeing pauperized Hausa-Fulani/Muslims who express servile support for HaliburtonAtiku solely because he is a Northern Muslim. It is also in reading Southern Christians write things like “If na Christian-Christian ticket sef, we for understand. This people wan Islamize us oo”; forgetting that a Christian-Christian ticket in a near 50-50 society is also “Christianizing” others. Prof., we are not serious. Nigerians are not ready to build this country. We are on our way down.

    Finally, when I read your take on these national issues, I take it seriously because I am sure you have always been fair-minded in your assessment. I am confident you would have spoken out against impartiality wherever it reared its head, irrespective of whose ox is gored, but that is not how most Nigerians think. They are some Igbos crying "woof" now until they see how Tinubu's government would benefit them. Do you remember the thing called Reno Omokri? That's a Nigerian. Typical. These were the same folks who supported Trump’s Muslim ban and his anti-Palestinian rhetoric. Now, they cry foul when “might is right” doesn’t favor them.

    Prof., I pray Peter Obi wins, but if he doesn’t, may those who want to leave Nigeria still be able to do so.


  • #13

    Mr Dominic Ugwu (Thursday, 21 July 2022 11:59)

    Words well worded in truth. If their political arrangements of Moslem Moslem ticket should scale through then the third party alternative becomes the only unavoidable option left for the Christians in the country irrespective of their geopolitical zone. However many rational minds are not surprised at these going by the antecedents of the APC govt......

  • #12

    Kerstin Kampe, Frankfurt Germany (Thursday, 21 July 2022 11:49)

    Very interesting article Doctor Ogbunwezeh. I have been following the situation in Nigeria for some time. You have captured the fears and concerns of the Christian Nigerian population very well. This is also what I read on social media, in posts / tweets from Nigerians, (probably mostly Christians).

    They do not feel adequately protected and supported by the current government, and are often even threatened and harassed. For me, as a non-Nigerian; someone with only superficial knowledge of the situation, the picture has been painted of a government that doesn't care about their people or their safety; a government that only looks after its own interests.

    Shouldn't a government primarily look after the interests of its people? I share the opinion that a government with a Muslim President and a Muslim Vice President would no longer represent the Christian population at all and would therefore, in my opinion, not be recommended. Although I don't think religion is the only problem. I find centralization in a country with more than 250 different ethnic groups, some of which seem to have very different needs, to be extremely difficult. We in Hessen Germany, also have different needs than Bavarians or Saxony; although we belong to the same country. And federalism means that the German constitution and all arms of the German government at every level, recognizes that.

  • #11

    BenCollins Okwesili (Thursday, 21 July 2022 11:44)

    The choice of a running mate is part of the impression expressed by a candidate who has a firm grip and determined disposition for good governance. To fly a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a country poisoned by ethnic-religious rivalry reveals the emptiness and ill-disposition of the candidate of APC. The plan is evil in itself and it is dead on arrival. Our problem is that we are not good students on history.

  • #10

    Gabriel Ad'Ofikwu (Thursday, 21 July 2022 10:52)

    As much as I totally agree with you on your analysis and consequential disposition, I wish to make the following observations:
    1. The North-South Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 was devoid of any consideration for Nigerian people. It was profitable to the British Colonial Master and the then most recent Fulanis Invaders of the geographical environment now known as Nigeria. That illusion has been sustained for too long and now assumed as normal!
    2. The political class from beginning either ignorantly mistook Rulership for Leadership or mischievously cashed in on the vestiges of the misinterpretation to advance their ethnic chauvinism and or religious bigotry. The Fulanis had this foresight and the Yoruba of South West predicated on their historical awareness hoped to one-day benefit from the confusion. The East and Middle Belt were late starters on this Enterprise!
    With this background, permit me to also correct the spurious assumption that Muslim Christians are 50/50 in % demography Nationwide or Muslims being majority in the old Northern Region. This has no valid statistical or physical demographic proof. This explains the long tacit objections to proper census since Independence, and the streaming euphoria and desperation showing forth in the new awareness by the younger generation wishing all over to register to vote and insisting their votes will count! The long suspected demographic secret will be out and the demand for structural redefinition in the the Restructuring long since the 2014 National Conference will become evident and absolutely become the obvious! The end, islamizatoin of Nigeria will not only become a no issue, but more so the Fulanisation drive will be halted and the Danfodio Enterprise in Nigeria killed for ever!
    Caution: The Fulanis seemingly dug in in Nigeria will fight back and hard! The Atiku scheming in PDP, Kwankwaso's adventure picking an obscure Bishop in Lagos for VP, and the tacit support to Tinubu for self destruction in the Muslim-Muslim ticket will end up advantages to Atiku the last Man Standing Fulani in the game by decimating Christian votes and securing the space for themselves!
    The game now is either we halt the elections process and program which seems impossible or get all Christians and None-Muslims in Nigeria to come out register and vote and protect our votes! The latter may mean war! I hope you know every machinery legitimate, legal, fraudulent, and manipulative has been on to bloat up Fulanis population in Nigeria. This is the reason for the open-gates border in the North and the hasty railway line to Niger Republic among other selfish economic rape of the nation Nigeria if the now known hidden interests are curbed. The plan A & B are therefore clear!
    Solution: The Chinese principle and old adage, "if you want lasting peace, prepare for war"! The Fulanis are on ground for war. No doubt my brother. What is our option? I warned on one of my experiences in the East 5years ago that their forest had been taken, they ignored and thought it was the ranting of a northern minority. Today, the game is up! Without sounding partisan which I am not, Peter Obi is the feasible option, other than Restructuring now! Again Franklin, thanks for your very exhaustive expose!

  • #9

    M M Okorie (Thursday, 21 July 2022 10:19)

    Perhaps nothing evidences the desperation of APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket than the insult launched on Christians in the form of hiring street urchins to dorn vests of Catholic priests and Bishops. It shows not only disdain for their Christian countrymen but a clear statement by the ruling party that Nigerian Christians do not matter.

  • #8

    Sr. Dr. Mary Rose-Claret Ogbuehi (Thursday, 21 July 2022 10:14)

    Nigeria is a circular state. The Muslim/ Muslim ticket propagated by the APC ruling party shows an unspoken agenda towards the Islamization of Nigeria. The lack of consideration of Christians in making this choice is the height of religious intolerance. This is a clarion call on Christians to wake up . We pray that votes will count in 2023 and surprises will abound.

  • #7

    Dr. Emmanuel Njoku (Thursday, 21 July 2022 10:10)

    Thank you Prof for continuing on this topic of the dicey situation of a Muslim/Muslim ticket of the ruling APC government.
    The agendum, to say the least, has heightened the existing tensions in the Nigerian society, ranging from insecurity, religious intolerance cum suppression to the insensitivity of a particular tribe to the rights, dignity and privileges of the other major/minor tribes within the State. This has also further divided the country into two major blocks of faith profession.
    The worst scenario is their reason for routing a Muslim/Muslim ticket. If it were actually based on competence, as Tinubu purports, then why not prove their proficiency in their just concluded VP unveiling rather than their parade of impersonators in religious regalia?
    I think that having built their foundation with lies their structure will definitely crumble.
    Of course, being the ruling party, they might not be defeated with ease, but the resilience and determination of the present-day impoverished nigerian youth will prove to them at the polls how the mighty shall have fallen.

  • #6

    kenechukwu Ogbodo (Thursday, 21 July 2022 09:45)

    Some Nigerian politicians assume that the Country belongs to them, the impunity with which Tinubu goes about his Politics is baffling, it appears he is walking on water with the aid of his northern collaborators. To nurse the idea of a Muslim Muslim ticket in Nigeria is the height of religious intolerance, in a Country whose constitution says is circular state. In 2023 for sure votes will count and those who see Nigeria as their patch of earth will be in for a surprise.

  • #5

    Steven Kefas (Thursday, 21 July 2022 09:37)

    Well done for this very insightful article Doc.

    You have highlighted the issues and fears of Christians in Nigeria especially in Northern Nigeria where religious freedom has continued to be a mirage.
    If with a Muslim-Christian President and Vice President religious persecution is prevalent in the country, only God know what it will be like if peradventure a Muslim Muslim president, Vice president is enthroned in Aso Rock (Presidential palace).

  • #4

    Egenti N T, PhD (Thursday, 21 July 2022 09:34)

    The religious tension in Nigeria at this time calls for Muslim/Christian ticket. Not less than eight Catholic priests were kidnapped and killed. Yet some politicians sees nothing wrong in this. Anyway, that is APC . We have gotten our PVC to vote them out.

  • #3

    Chimkalifa (Thursday, 21 July 2022 09:18)

    To any good observer of the goings-on in Nigeria body politic for the almost 8 years APC has been in power, Tinubu's choice wouldn't be a surprise by the very fact that he's at the core of the alliance that gave birth to the APC. Add to the mix his vacuous statements of condemnation against fulani Islamic terrorists wreaking havoc in his own neck of the woods in Yorubaland as well as the entire South and it'll be all too clear that he's only after power and whatever he considers advantageous, after his every cold and hard calculation, he'll go on to carry out . Having seen himself as a fake Muslim, he feels the Islamic North will queue behind him if he picks one of them. However, the good news is that the dynamics has changed and the power brokers in the North aren't sold to his candidacy because of the numerous scandals he's been involved in in the past and the facticity of his desperation for Presidency!
    On your part, you aptly captured the mood of the country and established premises that disapproved of the Muslim-muslim ticket. However, BAT is ready for the consequences because choices come bearing same!

  • #2

    Emeka Ani (Thursday, 21 July 2022 09:04)

    A clear illustration of APC- daytime disregard of public sentiment. APC has so positioned herself as an anti-christian party.

    The idea of impersonifying individuals as christian leaders is an added taste of the criminality of this bunch of robbers, and a slight on christianity.

    Beautiful article as usual Dr Franklyne. Thanks for your articulated boldness.

  • #1

    Chisara Agoha (Thursday, 21 July 2022 08:58)

    Representation matter in all spheres, including politics. Anyone going against that in a volatile country as Nigeria doesn’t have her interest at heart.