Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has ahead of the 2023 presidential election, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against playing to the plight of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the All Progressives Congress.
The Rights group berated the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu‘s choice of running mate, saying the decision will further heighten the aggression against the Christians by bandits and other terrorists groups in the country.
HURIWA in a statement signed and released on Sunday by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko argued that the emergence of a Muslim-Muslim ticket presidency will further heighten the aggression against Christians by bandits and terrorists who claim allegiance to Islam.
It was gathered that there are strong indications that Tinubu may in the next few days confirm either Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State or Senator Kashim Shettima as his standard running mate for the 2023 election to beat the July 15 deadline by the INEC.
Despite calls for a Muslim-Christian ticket, the ruling party had refused to bow to the pressure as about 13 Muslim northern governors are said to be pressuring Tinubu to choose them because they backed his candidacy during the fiercely-contested APC primary.
HURIWA has, however, bemoaned the ruling party’s bid saying it is unconstitutional and violates Section 14 (3) and (4) and Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which specifically states that the principle of federal character should be reflected in the composition of the government and that no group, religious or ethnic, should dominate the other.
Onwubiko said, “It is crucial to warn APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, for the umpteenth time to stop his sinister plot to nominate a Muslim running mate. The nomination will endanger national unity and will divide Nigeria irretrievably. If Tinubu goes on with a Muslim running mate, the APC should just forget about Nigeria because religious war will break out and Nigeria’s case will be worse than Somalia’s.
“With President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from Katsina State, who is obviously not concerned about the terrorist attacks on Christians, what will happen when Nigeria has Muslim-Muslim Presidency? It means an Islamic state would be declared and war will kick-off!
“HURIWA urges Nigerians to reject the APC or any party that wants to foist same religion ticket on a heterogeneous and multi-religious people like Nigerians. What happens to a Muslim-Christian ticket? What happens to a Christian-Muslim ticket? If a Christian-Christian ticket can’t work, then, a Muslim-Muslim ticket should never work! Nigerians should reject such parties with their Permanent Voter Cards!
“Section 38 of the 1999 constitution recognizes all religions while Section 318 and Section 14 (3) and (4) succinctly back the principle of federal character and resist the domination of a group in the composition of the government.
”For instance, Section 318 states: “federal character of Nigeria” refers to the distinctive desire of the peoples of Nigeria to promote national unity, foster national loyalty and give every citizen of Nigeria a sense of belonging to the nation as expressed in section 14 (3) and (4) of this constitution;
“Section 14 (3) and (4) states: The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
“(4) The composition of the Government of a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation.”
HURIWA cautioned the electoral body, saying it should not play with fire by pandering to the whims and caprices of the ruling party but to conduct transparent, free, fair elections or else be prepared for war because the 2023 poll is the determinant factor if Nigeria will exist or burn to ashes.
The Rights group stressed that any attempt to manipulate the poll to favour the APC will be actively resisted for a long time to come just as the Rights group expressed doubts if Nigeria would survive any post-election war.