A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, has opened up on why he and a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, met with former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Lawal and Dogara, who are top chieftains of the APC, had kicked against the selection of a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, by the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as his running mate.
Recently, a summit of the APC Northern Christian Forum was held in Abuja, where representatives and delegates from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), rejected the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
Daily Trust reports that Lawal and Dogara have been engaging in high-powered consultations against the same-faith presidential ticket of the ruling party.
On Monday, they were in Minna, Niger State, where they met Babangida and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar.
The meeting, according to Dogara’s media aide, Turaki Hassan, was also attended by a former deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba.
In a phone interview with Daily Trust, Babachir, said though they were in Minna to greet retired General Abdulsalami, who just returned to the country from a medical trip, they also used the opportunity to visit General Babangida.
He also said the issue of the Muslim-Muslim ticket was discussed.
“But there is no way we will be there without the Muslim-Muslim ticket issue coming up. It came up and naturally we discussed it.
“For us Christians in the North, the Muslim-Muslim ticket is existential. It is designed to oppress, kill and eliminate us from the political and economic systems. There is no other reason. It was done to isolate us from any political, economic and educational benefits of this country.
“As a card-carrying member of the APC, it is the PVC that counts in this matter and not APC membership because the party’s card will not vote,” he said.
Asked whether they are mulling exit from the APC, Babachir said, apart from the BoT and NEC, myself and Dogara are members of all other organs of the party. We are APC, but even at that, you can choose what you want.
“Don’t forget that at the last campaign; even President Buhari said we should vote for the candidates of our choice. Has he rescinded that pronouncement? Party members will vote for their choice candidates,” Babachir said.
On his relationship with Tinubu after rejecting his choice of Shettima, he said, “Since I publicly opposed the ticket, Tinubu and I have not spoken. When two friends meet at a junction, they can decide to take different ways.”
I don’t give a damn over Muslim-Muslim ticket but… – Soyinka
Meanwhile, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has declared that he doesn’t give a damn if Nigeria’s next president and vice-president are of the same faith, tribe or village.
He spoke on the controversy over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC during an interview on Channels TV monitored by our correspondent.
The renowned playwright, however, said the decision may be ill-timed given the sensitivity of the issue and the fact that Nigeria has not really come of age.
He said, “I don’t give a damn if the president, the vice-president, the speaker, etc all come from the same village, they have the same religion, they belong to the same tribe.
“If, however, it is transparently, absolutely, unarguable that is a kind of genius breed that has been donated to the nation and to the world. As long as the capability of the individuals who are into governance is proven, and it is quite clear that there is no alternative, that is my position.”
He said the controversy generated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket in APC would not have arisen in a normal society.
“Now, we are talking about a society which is normal, which institutions are normal… Is Nigeria normal?” he queried.
He stressed that those advocating for a same-faith ticket should be “very sensitive to the very peculiar circumstances of Nigeria,” saying it would have been better to explore the alternative the country is used to.