***Religion, ethnicity have no place in constitution, it’s citizenship
An Islamic organisation, Centre for the Promotion of Shari’ah has called on Nigerians to elect leaders not based on sentiments, but on the candidate’s ability to build bridges of consensus across the country.
They also blamed those kicking against same faith ticket describing them as manipulators of religion for their selfish interests
Aminu Inuwa Muhammad, National Coordinator of the Centre stated this on Saturday in Abuja at a Consultative meeting of Stakeholders of the Muslim Constituency in Northern Nigeria, which the Centre organised.
Speaking on the candidates fielded by the various political parties, especially the presidential candidates, which “some politicians and most unfortunately, even religious groups have been spitting fire and brimstone, insisting that parties must bow to their choices and narrow interests”, he added “we believe it is against the principles and spirit of democracy hence the need to discuss and consult on the various means of ensuring level playing field for all presidential tickets as the constitution recognizes only citizenships not identities.
“It is also imperative to task all presidential candidates to commit themselves to meeting the aspirations of Nigerians by guaranteeing peace and security of the country, thereby ensuring prosperity and unity of the citizens.
“Like all previous transitions the politicians have over heated the polity in preparation for 2023 elections. The Centre for the Promotion of Shari’ah therefore, decided to host a consultative meeting to dispassionately address these issues that are critical to the survival and peaceful co-existence of the ccountry and particularly as they affect the destiny of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, Editor Nigeria Year Book and Who is Who, who was a paper presenter at the occasion argued that there is nothing like same faith ticket or faith ticket, but Nigerian ticket.
“If you allow people to vote, you allow people to express themselves, they will have choice. That is democracy”,
“If we vote based on faith ticket you are denying some persons based on identity, the fact is in Nigeria we are voting as citizens and we come out for elections as citizens not representing any religion or ethnic group so you cannot do that.
“Even the constitution when it talks about the Federal character it is talking about representation of States that is why you have States fully represented. As senators you have three for each States.
“Those are the ones to take of the interests of the State and you have Representatives from your constitituencues based on number of voters and population. So those representing us are doing so as citizens while senators are representing the states.
“There is no where in the constitution that said somebody should be elected because on his ethnic group or because of his religion. So if APC has chosen Muslim Muslim ticket it is in order. It has not violated the constitution in any way.
He said the politicians heat up the polity because they want to take advantage, by manipulating religion, and ethnicity.
“So they will come and tell you not to vote for Muslim-Mulsim ticket whic is manipulation of religion. If they want to manipulate ethnicity they will tell you not to vote somebody who is a Yoruba, or Ibo or Hausa.
“All that are manipulations and they should not be, because we have political parties and parties are broad across Nigeria, so it is about Nigerian citizenship not identity.
“For somebody to contest for election he is going to base his candidacy on the constitution. It did not say you must have different faith ticket and the political parties negotiate these things based on how they think they can win the election but we are not concerned about what they do.
“What we are concerned with is citizenship right, because I am a Muslim from Southwest I should not be denied to become the President of Nigeria because of that and as a Christian from Northern Nigeria I should not be denied. It is all about negotiation and it is all about contestation.
“Those heating the polity are those talking about Faith based tickets they are not. They are Nigerians, there is no way you can have faith based tickets. If you allow people to express themselves, you allow them to vote. They will have choice.