Muslim-Muslim Ticket Dead On Arrival, Says Ex-SGF Babachir Lawal

Babachir Lawal

The immediate-past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir David Lawal, has declared that the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is dead on arrival.

According to BD Lawal, President Muhammadu Buhari must prevail on the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to drop Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate, if the APC must survive.

In a statement he personally signed on Tuesday, BD Lawal described the choice of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as a disastrous error.

The immediate-past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir David Lawal, has declared that the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is dead on arrival.

According to BD Lawal, President Muhammadu Buhari must prevail on the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to drop Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate, if the APC must survive.

In a statement he personally signed on Tuesday, BD Lawal described the choice of a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as a disastrous error.

“I will  be the very last person to stand in the way of my very good friend, Tinubu’s path to the presidency.

“This is because since 2011 my consuming passion has been for him to succeed Buhari as President of Nigeria. It will not be true if I say that I did not see it coming.

“I have often read his body language, picked up snippets from several discussions with his lapdogs (some of whom, sadly are Christians but most of whom are Moslems) and I have conveyed my reservations to them against the pitfalls of a  moslem-moslem ticket towards which I sensed they were drifting.

“And why Kashim Shetima? He is an overambitious man who has a Machiavellian bent and has lots of money with which to procure a preferred-candidate status among Tinubu’s lapdogs.

“And as we are beginning to see, to also procure bogus supporters especially from among the Christian community to help launder his no-so-good image.

“But as  a popular proverb goes: ‘Those whom the gods want to destroy they first make mad’. It appears that the gods want to destroy the APC and its presidential candidate and have chosen the instrumentality of the northern Moslem governors and their super ambitious tool and Kashim Shettima for this purpose.

“Alhaji Kashim Shetima is a Greek gift from the Northern governors to Tinubu. I advise Bola to make sure Kashima’s two hands are always in his plain sight and empty. True, based on the advice of his new friends, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made his choice. And I am sure he thinks he is ready for the outcome of that choice.

“He has chosen to bring religion to the front burner of Nigerian politics. And being a Muslim, he has chosen to take sides with his own religion. For all he cares, Christians can go to blazes with their votes.

“But he must also be told  that there will be consequences for this choice. Some of them are that Christians all over the country will revolt against the APC to put the chances of his election in serious jeopardy. It will also put the election of all Christians standing for elections in Christian dominated areas in jeopardy,” Lawal said.

According to the former SGF, this could result in APC being a minority party in both the National and State Assemblies.

“Now tell me which Christian will vote for APC with the following contraption: Moslem Presidential Candidate (Lagos), Moslem Vice Presidential Candidate (Borno), Moslem National Chairman (Nasarawa), Moslem Deputy National Chairman (Borno), Moslem President (Katsina); Moslem Senate President (Yobe); Moslem Speaker (Lagos); Moslem Deputy Speaker (Plateau)?

“The northern governors and some northern moslem elite must have persuaded him that they will never vote for a ticket that has a northern Christian on it. And he has agreed with them. But if he thinks a Moslem-Moslem ticket will win him the northern Muslim votes, he should have a rethink.

“They will massively vote for one of their sons because it is in their nature to do so. Buhari, their first son will not be on the ballot in 2023. Atiku their second son will be.

“Proof of a possible Islamic agenda was leaked when Governor Ganduje, the “Kadimul Islam”, gave advance notice that Tinubu had assured them he would be nominating a moslem as his running mate. For those who might not know, Governor Ganduje has a foundation called “Ganduje Foundation” which purpose according to its website is to “provide selfless service to humanity and Islam” but whose primary purpose it appears is the conversion of Christians to Islam.

“So if my very good friend Tinubu, in a desperate bid to become President, allows himself to be made into a religious bigot or even a mujahideen, he is welcome. But it is a risk that will not play out positively for his presidential bid. But, we’re to win and become President of Nigeria, it will be as a sectional President; an Islamic President. And he will surely face massive discontent and opposition even before taking off.

“Expecting Nigerians  to ignore this crass insensitivity to the country’s diversity amounts to acceding to the perpetration of very grave injustice and discrimination against a huge segment of the society. No one who seeks to be president of Nigeria should ever deploy the tool of religious extremism and exclusivism as a tool to win elections. This is very very dangerous. And this is very sad.

“But, barring any last minute change of mind, Bola has made his choice. He should be bluntly told that in this choice Nigerian Christians clearly see  a pending Islamic Republic of Nigeria in its infancy and are right to be severely anxious. There is gloom among the Christian community all over the country since Tinubu announced Kashim Shetima as his running mate. Are the generality of the moslem ummah happy with this? The answer is a resounding No.

“How then do we respond? The decision as to how to respond to this deliberately senseless act of provocation is both corporate to each religious group and also personal to each voter  that love peace, and hate injustice. Christians want to continue to leave peacefully with their moslem neighbors at home, at school, at the workplace, in the markets and on the streets as we have always done or desired to do. And I am sure Moslems share this view too. No one person’s ambition to rule over us should be allowed to set us apart and at war with one another.

“Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should be compelled upon by whoever can do so to rescind this decision. President Mohammed Buhari should exercise his powers as the Commander-in-Chief and as the APC Leader to revoke this nomination of a VP by Tinubu. The APC National Chairman should refuse to sign the nomination forms if not rescinded,” Lawal added.

Lawal said as part of his obligation to Tinubu, a close friend, he had on many occasions argued the merits and demerits of the ticket permutations to him.

“I have done so in both verbal and written form and I have likewise done so with some of his close respectable associates and friends. In all instances I had left him with the sole responsibility for his final decision arguing that in the end the consequences of the outcome of any bad decision will be his to bear. There might be some collateral damages though. I have also on several occasions passed on to him counsels and messages from some well meaning Nigerians intended to alert him on the possible outcomes of the Presidential ticket permutations.

“Tinubu is a very good man. He is a great listener. He has a very humble and friendly disposition to everyone. He is very generous in both cash and kind, especially where it could advance his political interests. But I have realized that it is in the nature of power that sycophants and lapdogs have the most influence on leaders with such character traits. They will lie to him, malign and disparage others and generally do anything to curry his favor and to also put well-meaning associates in a bad light. I suspect this is what has happened to my friend. He has been cornered by self-serving, hero-worshiping, lapdogs.

“It never used to be like this. While in his hey-days in Lagos, he surrounded himself with smart, street-wise guys that could tell the truth to power. He had Rauf Aregbesola, Yemi Osinbajo, Babatunde Fashola, Dele Alake, Muiz Banire, etc.The Lagos days were the days of think-tank, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, principles and ideologies. But these people have since grown-up and moved up to establish their own systems leaving  my friend stranded. Nature, they say, abhors vacuum,” he added.

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