A Nigerian cleric in the Philippines, Rev. Tony Marioghae, on Thursday faulted the decision of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to pick a Muslim, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate for the 2023 election, describing it as “foolish” and a slap on Christians of Northern extraction.
He also warned that Nigeria must get it right in 2023, because “we have moved dangerously closer to the precipice of disaster due to our poor political choices.”
According to him, although Tinubu’s argument of competence as the reason for the choice of Shettima was plausible, there he reasoned that there were also capable Christian political leaders from the Northern region who could have complimented him as well.
Marioghae, Presiding Bishop of The Evangelical Ark Mission International, Philippines, raised the objections in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
He said the APC standard bearer should have paid attention to the sensitivities of the different faiths in the country before making his final decision.
The cleric cautioned that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket would not promote trust between the people of the different faiths, stressing that there was so much disunity in the country already.
Marioghae said, “There’s a lot of distrust among people of the various faiths, especially Christians doubting the sincerity of others.
“Under the prevailing circumstances, it is foolish to bring a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket though it may be politically right. It is foolish to pursue that course of action.
“If I were in that situation, I would have looked at the sensitivity of the subject matter so as to calm people down.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket does not promote trust. When you have two major dominant religions in this country. The proper thing to do is to, for the sake of peace, carry everyone along.
“If you talk about competence, we have many Christians that are capable of playing the role of Vice President just as we have Muslims.
“It is simply a slap on the faces of Christians to say that in the whole North, we don’t have competent Christians.”
Speaking on why Nigeria must get it right in 2023, Marioghae said, “We can no longer condone the culture of impunity, corruption, division and religious violence unleashed by the internal and external forces of retrogression to undermine the purpose and destiny of Nigeria.
“We have moved dangerously closer to the precipice of disaster due to our poor political choices. If we do not get it right this time, we will face the calamities and ignoble fate of failed nations.
“We must develop the moral will power to overcome our challenges and ugly past to achieve prosperity for all.
“Therefore, we must promote ideas and principles that enhance our potentials and discourage conspiracy theories and falsehood which promotes division.”
The Bishop further explained that for the nation to achieve its development ideals come 2023 and beyond, the people must use the supreme power of democracy to fire bad leaders and hire competent ones through the ballot box.
“Your vote is your power to steer Nigeria towards greatness, success and development with a new paradigm shift.
“Nigerians should reject politicians who appeal to their worst instincts and embrace the ones with godly character and principles, with patriotic zeal to build the nation and restore hope to our people.
“The rise of Nigeria is the glory of the black race. Sadly, despite our vast mineral and human resources, Africa is at the mercy of exploitative international economic institutions due to the fiscal indiscipline and short sightedness of our political leaders.”