Editor – Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has restated his disapproval of the adoption of the same faith ticket by the Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), for the 2023 general elections.
Former Lagos governor and Presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (a Muslim from the South-West), had picked former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima (a Muslim from the North-East), as his running mate.
Dogara and some Christian Leaders in the North, as well as the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), have earlier rejected the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
Dogara, who reiterated his opposition while speaking on Tuesday, in Abuja, at a summit tagged, “Meet the Church”, which was organised by the Nigerian National Christians Coalition (NNCC), with the theme, “The role of the Church in Nation Building”, called on Christians to resist the temptation to waste their votes in the 2023 general elections.
“Every Christian knows that our God does not tolerate waste. It is unchristian for the church to waste anything given to us from above, as we own nothing except what is given to us from above”, he said.
He commended the church in Nigeria for “shaking off the beast of complacency of the past into fire, speaking up and resisting measures adopted by some political platforms that will hamper nation building.”
Dogara expressed regret that the APC ignored warnings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Catholic Secretariat, ECWA church and many other church bodies and adopted the same faith ticket in a manner that negated the fundamentals of nation building.
He said the party’s decision disregarded shared identity, values and vision, noting that “the APC adopted a same faith ticket in a country that has never attained nationhood.”
“These warnings were not only ignored, but dismissed in one fell swoop by the APC presidential candidate, who strangely believes that he can build a strong, secure and viable nation-state without first forging a shared identity, vision and values for our people, thereby enabling us transit from citizens of a country into a nation of people with strong shared identity and values”, he observed.
“In their convoluted posturing, they have placed state-building ahead of nation-building; a task never before achieved in history and we need no seer to tell us that such endeavour is guaranteed to end in spectacular failure. No divided people have ever built any civilisation.
“To demonstrate that the church is right, it is not alone in condemning the same faith ticket.
“Other prominent Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders have also spoken in the same light.
“It is a good omen that both Christian and Muslim elites are not complacent over this matter. To this end it will be easy to generate the needed elite consensus that is key to nation building. All nations are built by elite consensus, while all countries that failed at nation-building were destroyed by elite complacency.
“Granted that the Christians and Muslims will always disagree on some issues, there are, however, many things over which we are agreeable. It is enough to forge ahead with the task of nation-building based on those common issues we agree on. It must be noted that just as Muslims alone cannot build a nation out of Nigeria so also Christians alone cannot. We have to work together on “nation formations”, he said.
Drawing from the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew 25:14-30, Hon Dogara said in one of Jesus’ most significant parables, Christians must “invest everything God gives us, and not waste them.
He maintained that in 2023, every Christian must see their votes as talents given to them by God to trade with as seeds that must not be wasted.
“We do not even have the liberty to preserve our vote just like the wicked and lazy servant did to his talent, we must cast the vote in a fertile ground i.e, the platform we know can win the election and nothing less or else. After all, is it in vain that it is said that Waste is worse than loss?”, he said, adding that a united, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria is possible “If we go to work. We can start building that Nigeria of our dreams if we don’t waste our votes in the next election cycle.”