An empty church
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria has berated politicians who are clamouring for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, calling it “most insensitive and tacit endorsement of negative voices of non-state actors threatening the country’s unity.”
This is as it strongly advised the political parties toying with the possibility of flying same-religion presidential ticket to have a rethink and present a more inclusive alternative.
Its position was made known in a statement co-signed by the CSN Secretary-General, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi, and Director, Social Communications, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Umoh, which was made available to Vanguard in Abuja.
The Catholic Secretariat also said those mulling a Muslim-Muslim ticket were merely playing the ostrich with the apparent religious crisis and polarisation in the country.
The statement reads in part, “Ordinarily, there would have been nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good. But one cannot really say so of our country at the moment.
“With the present glaring crisis and division in the nation, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be most insensitive and a tacit endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening this nation’s unity and peaceful coexistence without an arrest.
“It is disheartening to observe that the conduct of most of our politicians seem to be going from bad to worse as we witnessed a show of shame and heightened ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries.
“While all this is going on, we must not lose sight of the fact that the unity of this country has, over the years, been maintained by a delicate balancing of the religious and the regional.”
The CSN noted that even in the despotic military regimes, most juntas ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes.
It said, “For instance, we had Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe, Abacha – Diya. This also applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigrations, Finance, etc.
“Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (Dec 31, 1983 – Aug. 27, 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship.
“Similarly, only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. But that government never took off.
“We therefore strongly advise those political parties toying with divisive agenda to have a rethink by presenting a more inclusive ticket, while calling on all people of goodwill to resist this budding injustice that may be hatched against a cross section of the people.”
“There must be sensitivity in the spread of political positions without compromising competence,” the statement added.