WITH less than four months to the 2015 general election, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has warned against a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket for elective positions, saying the idea might pose a danger to the country.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Sunday, Obasanjo said the country, at this stage in history, should not raise the spectre and fear of Islamisation or Christianisation.
“Sensitivity is a necessary ingredient for enhancement of peace, security and stability at this point in the political discourse and arrangement for Nigeria and for encouraging confidence and trust.
“It will be insensitive to the point of absurdity for any leader or any political party to be toying with Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket at this juncture.
“Nigeria cannot at this stage raise the spectre and fear of Islamisation or Christianisation. The idea of proselytisation in any form is a grave danger that must not be contemplated by any serious-minded politician at this delicate situation in Nigeria, as this time is different from any other time.
“Therefore, disregarding the fact that there are fears that need to be allayed at this point will amount not only to insensitivity of the highest order, but will also amount to very bad politics indeed,” the statement read.
Buhari to be left with final say on running mate
SOUTH-WEST and South-South zonal caucuses might be headed for a showdown over the vice presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as indication emerged that General Muhammadu Buhari, heavily-favoured to emerge the party’s presidential standard-bearer, will have the final say on that choice.
In an interview with The Cable, Buhari further heightened the suspicion that Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, might be close to the vice presidential ticket than others, by saying that he was not opposed to a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Nigerian Tribune had exclusively reported Fashola’s endorsement by the South-West caucus of the party and the likelihood of his emergence ahead another potential VP candidate, Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, due to the number of votes each of them could possibly attract to the expected ticket.
A member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) from the South, however, told the Nigerian Tribune that the Fashola endorsement would be frustrated, because the national leadership of the party had kept reinforcing the fact that the party would not field a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The national officer, himself a Muslim, had queried: “Is Fashola no longer a Muslim because their agenda now suits him? Muslim-Muslim ticket would not work. From within, we would frustrate it, regardless of the packaging they are now trying to do for the governor.”
With Amaechi also said to be pulling his weight, especially in his state, it was gathered last night that the final pick might be left for Buhari to decide, since he would be the one to work with the said VP.
However, the reported deal that led to Fashola’s endorsement by the South-West caucus of the party may have run into a hitch, with Fashola’s camp allegedly throwing its support behind another aspirant other than Akinwunmi Ambode in the Lagos APC contest.
It was gathered that the VP ticket was to get Fashola’s support, which a party chieftain described as crucial, for Ambode, believed to have been propped up by the camp of former governor, Senator Bola Tinubu.
However, three other aspirants in the Lagos APC race were being allegedly linked to Fashola in the three senatorial district, with a source saying that “he (Fashola) is being politically wise, because he knows Oga (Tinubu) very well.”
Fashola is said to have become a crucial factor in the race, due to the expiration of local government chairman tenure tomorrow, with the governor expected to play a prominent role in the appointment of the caretaker chairmen that would coordinate the primaries if other aspirants insisted on open contest.
As of last night, an outgoing council chairman in Lagos Central senatorial district, who is eyeing another elective position, told the Nigerian Tribune that nothing had been agreed on their replacement, because the governor was not ready to let go easily as it used to be.
Fashola’s sympathisers, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune, described the running mate endorsement as a ploy to get him out of the Lagos equation and asking him to leave the real for what is not sure.
“If they are sure of what they are saying, let them give him a senatorial ticket currently with Oga’s wife first and if Buhari emerges and picks him, then we will see what happens.
“How can you ask a performing governor to go for what is not certain, when his mates who are even poor in performance are being given automatic Senate ticket. The endorsement is diversionary and their game is well known,” they said.
Meanwhile, the party would decide on the size of its delegate to the presidential primaries on Wednesday, as it amends its constitution at an extraordinary national convention.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the proposed amendments, when approved at the national convention, will align the party’s constitution better with the Electoral Act and also allow the APC to function more efficiently.
It also said the convention would adopt the six-point manifesto that had been extracted from the one submitted to INEC earlier for the purpose of the 2015 general election.
“The manifesto to be adopted at the extraordinary convention of our party is specifically for the 2015 general election. Because of shifting priorities, we do not believe that a party manifesto should be one for all time, but a document that will adjust to the changing needs of the people.
“In this regard, we have conducted a survey to find out what Nigerians urgently need at the moment to raise their standard of living and ensure their security and welfare, which is the raison d’etre of any government.
“Based on the outcome of the survey, we have come up with a six-point manifesto, which we extracted from the one we submitted to INEC earlier.
“The six broad priority areas are national security, good governance, human capital development, economic development, land and natural resources, as well as foreign policy.
“The issue of job creation, fight against corruption, infrastructure development, health, qualitative education, regular power supply, etc, are subsumed under these broad priority areas,” APC said.