CAN can float a political party

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As Nigeria marches towards the 2023 general elections the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and some individuals appear to have become religious bigots. I am sure using religious or tribal sentiments had not benefited anybody and the country at large. In the past seven years. The election pattern in the country held along ethnic and religious lines has taken the country to the brink of a failed state, so to speak.

There was no time the country has ever been polarised like now as no one feels safe because of our collective failure in electing competent people to lead and propel the social, political and economic development of the country. The mistake of voting along religious or tribal lines has reawakened the consciousness of Nigerians to shun tribal and religious sentiments. Nigerians have now resorted to seeking Allah’s guardian to vote. What are the benefits for voting our present crop of leaders along ethnicity and religious lines?

Today, northern states and the country in general have turned into scared zones with bandits, kidnappers and terrorists killing, kidnapping and raping innocent unarmed civilians without any challenge from the security agencies. One finds it difficult to juxtapose the constitutional and primary responsibility of the government with the prevailing situation in the country under the watchful eyes of Mr President and state governors given the situation in which scores of people are being killed on a daily basis while hundreds of others have abandoned their homes. Vividly as result of this wrong voting, the country’s economy is in bad shape as the country got to the present dreaded moment as cost of servicing debts surpassed the federal government’s retained revenue by N310 billion in the first four months of 2022. The federal government’s total revenue for the period was N1.63 trillion, while debt servicing gulped N1.94 trillion.

As the country heads towards the 2023 general elections there is the need for Nigerians to learn how to put the interests of the country first before our parochial, tribal, ethnic or religious interests because the country is for all of us. Since the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, settled for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket there has been no end in sight to the public spat on the ticket in spite of the fact that the spat has nothing to do with either the interest of Muslims or Christians but just political interest.

Why should religion should be the yardstick to determine who governs Nigeria? Why should the religion of presidential and vice-presidential candidates matter? And what has religion, in this case, Christianity and Islam, got to do with the ability and capability of a person to effectively govern a country such as Nigeria?

I mean, Nigeria is not only a country of Christians and Muslims. There are millions of Nigerians who do not identify with Christianity or as Islam. There are Nigerians who are atheists/humanists, traditional and religionists. And like their Christian and Muslim compatriots, they are also entitled to participate in politics and governance. They are entitled to vote and be voted for. Discussions over Muslim-Muslim, Muslim-Christian, Christian-Christian, and Christian-Muslim tickets have made religion, especially Christianity and Islam, the main parameters for the choice of president and vice president.

For this reason CAN and its foot soldiers should know that neither noise making nor intimidation can force the electorate to succumb to their ego and selfish interest for their political survival. Why should the former secretary to the federal government Babachir Lawal and his co-travellers that fumbled on Muslim-Muslim ticket feel aggrieved by the action and instigate Christians to stand against the choice.

Babachir Lawal and his ilk across the country should remember Nigerians are now wiser and will not allow religious bigotry to add to our sufferings while they swim in dollars and Naira in their comfort zone. Moreover, these people are morally corrupt to speak on behalf of Christians. They are doing it for their own good, not for poor Christians and Christianity. For anybody to fight on behalf of his religion he must be morally upright because religion is about righting the wrongs.

ÇAN and other selfish groups should not allow political office seekers to misuse religion as a tool to get to power and just get personal gain from those who are in authority. CAN and other religious bigots should understand that Nigerian constitution guarantees every Nigerian freedom of religion. CAN should float a Christian political party that will concentrate on party politics rather than making unnecessary noises.

Dukawa writes from Kano via [email protected]

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