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Mr. Babachir Lawal
The All Progressives Congress (APC) insistent decision to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential election is a plan to divide the north. Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), expressed this position on Wednesday in an interview with Arise Television.
His comment came hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the final list of presidential and national assembly candidates for the 2023 general elections.
Alhaji Bola Tinubu from the South-West and Alhaji Kashim Shettima from the North-East, both Muslims, are the APC presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively.
Reacting to the development, Lawal said northern Christian politicians remained opposed to the same-faith ticket by the APC.
Said he: “The introduction of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC or same-faith ticket is a wicked plan to further create divisions within the north. We try as leaders of societies to live as brothers and sisters, but out of the blue, this demonic proposition just came out.
“For all lovers of unity in this country, in the north in particular, where we are most affected, this ticket must never succeed. And we will make sure we defeat it in such a resounding manner that nobody in his right senses will ever think about it again, at least in the near future for our political journey in Nigeria.
“So, we are set on it and we are determined to kill it. Our people are mobilised, and our people are ready for the election.
“I and Dogara alone aren’t the only ones involved in this. Indeed, we are leaders of groups of about 40 leading Christian politicians in the north. We started work on this years back when we suspected that if a Muslim emerged from the south as the candidate for any of the political parties, there is a risk of what has happened that will happen.
“Now, there are two issues here. First and foremost, we are politicians and our job is to win elections and form government. Second, when we looked at this ticket and decided principally, it excludes northern Christians from governance. It will not be wise for us to hand ourselves and exclude ourselves from the incoming government.
“So, while we plan that the same faith ticket of APC should fail, we also believe that we should align with one of the leading political parties that has the chance of wining.
“Our strategy is we will not just waste our votes because we want to protest the same faith ticket of APC. We will like to partner with another group that is more sensitive to the Nigerian situation and realises that Nigeria needs harmony, unity and peace”.
Earlier, Lawal had said that the same-faith ticket issue woul be resisted with prayers and Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).