A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has again condemned the choice of Kashim Shettima as running mate to the All Progressives Congress standard-bearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Speaking in an interview on Arise TV on Thursday, the former SGF said the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC is a direct attack on Christains, adding that ‘nobody should aspire to be President of this country if he ignores the religious dichotomy’.
Referring to his letter to the APC presidential candidate, where he condemned the Muslim-Muslim ticket, Lawal said anyone vying for the presidency must consider religion as a major factor.
He stated, “First of all, nobody should aspire to be President of this country if he ignores the religious dichotomy in the system. We know that religion is a major factor in this country and it’s a divisive factor. And anybody wishing to lead this country, ought to be concerned that he is going to kickstart his government in a manner that is divisive in a manner that is antagonistic to a certain segment of the society.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is Christianity, whether it is Igbo tribe, or Hausa tribe, or Muslims or so on. You are supposed to, first of all, seek to unite the people you intend to rule. Whatever else you will do, without this unity, nobody will appreciate it.”
Lawal alleged that Tinubu had not reached out to the Christian group within the APC, stating that if he had, he (Lawal), would have been at the meeting.
He justified his statement that the Muslim-Muslim ticket would not play out well for the APC.
He added, “First of all, you would antagonise the Christian majority in this country; it’s a direct attack on them. And even in your own zone, you might put your election in jeopardy. Because when it comes to religion, Nigerians take religion first. Now, you’ll jeopardise the whole of the Christian religion in the North, in the South, in the South East”.
Lawal also said his stand against the Muslim-Muslim ticket is a fight for inclusiveness in the APC.
He said the presentation of a Muslim-Muslim ticket would create agitations among Christians and Muslims, who have always lived peacefully.
“I can tell you that this is not about religion. This is about all-inclusiveness, this is about equity, this is about justice, this is about peaceful co-existence with each other, with our neighbours. No Muslim wants to be in an acrimonious relationship with the Christians. The fight we are fighting, is a fight for everybody, for justice,” he argued.
Regardless of the competence of the vice-presidential candidate, Lawal asserted that there would always be reservations against his nomination by aggrieved parties.
“This is where the danger would come; if you go into a government in which the Christian population feels discriminated against; whatever that government would do, no matter what they do to placate the Christian community, there will be no interest in supporting this government,” he noted.