The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria ( CSN) has condemned the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election, saying it is most insensitive.
The Catholic Church disclosed this on Tuesday in a statement signed by the Secretary-General of CSN, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi and the Director, Social Communications of the Secretariat, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Umoh.
According to the church a Muslim- Muslim ticket would be an endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening the unity and peaceful coexistence of the country without an arrest.
The Roman Catholic Church added that there would have been nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there was mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office was the fostering of the common good.
The statement reads, “the process for the 2023 General election in Nigeria has been initiated and there are some things to be happy about: the passing of the Electoral Act 2022 which allows the use of electronic devices for accreditation and in the capturing and transmission of results; the prompt release of election timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the renewed confidence in the electoral process by the electorate, as demonstrated in the massive last minute turn out for voter registration amongst others.
“It is however disheartening to observe that the conduct of most of our politicians seem to be going from bad to worse as we witnessed a show of shame and heightened ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries. While all this is going on, we must not lose sight of the fact that the unity of this country has, over the years, been maintained by a delicate balancing of the religious and the regional. Even in the despotic military era, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes.
“For instance, we had Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe, Abacha – Diya. This also applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigrations, Finance, etc. Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (Dec 31, 1983 – Aug. 27, 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship.
“Similarly, only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. But that government never took off! Fast forward to 2022, 30 years later, some individuals have tried to suggest the Muslim-Muslim ticket for the Presidential election in a country like Nigeria that has unfortunately been badly polarized.
“Ordinarily, there would have been nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good. But one cannot really say so of our country at the moment.
“With the present glaring crisis and division in the nation, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be most insensitive and a tacit endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening this nation’s unity and peaceful coexistence without an arrest.
“Going by the Kaduna experience, we can perceive the havoc the Muslim-Muslim ticket has brought upon the predominantly Christian people of Southern Kaduna.
“We therefore strongly advise those political parties toying with divisive agenda to have a rethink by presenting a more inclusive ticket, while calling on all people of goodwill to resist this budding injustice that may be hatched against a cross section of the people.In pursuit of peace, it is imperative to remind everyone that all Nigerians, irrespective of creed or region, are equal; as such, there must be sensitivity in the spread of political positions without compromising competence.
“Finally, we call on all Nigerians, individually and collectively, to do everything in their power to seek and work for unity and justice, so that we may attain that peace we all desire. There is no alternative to peace,” the statement said.