Several Christians in buses from the 19 northern states, on Friday, stormed Abuja to protest the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The demonstrators, under the aegis of the All Christians Community of Northern Nigeria, were seen chanting solidarity songs while marching to the Presidential Villa to submit a protest letter.
The development was coming two days after a coalition of Northern Christian Youths had kicked against the party’s decision to opt for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the 2023 general election.
The coalition, which was an amalgamation of the APC Christian youths in the 19 northern states, vowed that its members would not go against their conscience and faith by campaigning for a joint Muslim ticket.
While accusing the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of betraying the trust of Nigerians by selecting former Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, as running mate. The group described the development as a slap on Northern Christians.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Friday, the leader of the northern demonstrators, Moses Adams, expressed concerns that Christians were being relegated into oblivion by politicians entrusted with public trust.
He said, “Our sensibilities have been insulted by the ambition of a selected few that have elected to throw caution in the wind.
“As you may be aware, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. The two major religions in the country are Islam and Christianity. And these have defined our way of life since the country attained independence in 1960. Successive governments in the country have respected the multi-religious nature of the country, especially during elections, to create a balance in the leadership of the country.
“We are, therefore, alarmed by the decision of the APC to disregard the Christian community in the choice of its vice-presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election. Without mincing words, this is unacceptable and a recipe for creating sharp divides between the Muslims and the Christians in the country.”
Moses also made available the protest letter which his group directed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.),
According to him, Tinubu’s decision to run with Shettima is not in the best interest of the country in this critical period of our existence.
The statement partly read, “Mr. President, since the return of democracy in 1999 to Nigeria, the tradition has been a Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim pairing by all political parties. And this has, to a large extent, ensured religious harmony in the country.
“However, the move by our party to adopt a Muslim-Muslim ticket is most insensitive and the height of discrimination against Christians in our country. This is on the heels that other political parties indeed reflected the religious balance in the composition of their presidential team,” he added.
“Your Excellency, sir, we, the Christians in northern Nigeria, are displeased and angered by this insensitivity. By their action, the APC sent a strong message that Christians are not relevant in the scheme of things in the country.
“The APC has also displayed religious intolerance that would eventually bring about religious tension in the country if not reversed in the overarching objective of entrenching peace and tranquility.
“As stakeholders in the APC, we know that there are credible Christians in the APC from northern Nigeria and other parts of the country who are dedicated and have outstanding credentials that could make the vice-presidential slot.
“We are using this medium to appeal to your good office to intervene in reversing this ignoble move by the party’s presidential candidate. We demand that you invite the presidential candidate of the party to quickly retrace his steps immediately.”