The vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party, Datti Baba-Ahmed, says a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket will not work in Nigeria, given all the ethnoreligious complexities of Nigeria.
Nigeria has a Muslim majority in the North and a mostly Christian South, with its over 200 million population further split into over 250 tribes.
Baba-Ahmed shared his stance on the viability of a same-faith ticket in the light of the two Muslims presented by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for this Saturday’s competitive presidential poll.
APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu hails from Iragbiji in the south-western state of Osun State, while his running mate Kashim Shettima comes from Maiduguri, Borno State in northern Nigeria.
“Why today Tinubu is not the vice president of Nigeria is the same reason he cannot be president,” Baba-Ahmed said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday.
“What couldn’t happen in 2015 when the then candidate Buhari asked for any nomination whatsoever from Tinubu – because that configuration has passed. It can no longer work in Nigeria. [A] Muslim-Muslin ticket cannot work anymore.”
Arguing that “that configuration cannot work anymore”, the Labour Party candidate underscored the place of faith in Nigeria’s political structure, saying the country’s sociopolitical makeup is not a random occurrence.
“The creator of the heavens and earth does not make mistakes. This is the Federal Republic of Nigeria as duly filed at the United Nations and registered too,” he said.
“It’s not the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, or the Vatican or Iran or Libya or Mauritania. It’s a federal republic, and God didn’t make a mistake by putting all of us, 250 [tribes].
“You find other countries, nearly 100 percent – one faith, one language, one group. Not the same in Nigeria – 250 [tribes] at least and two big competing religions. And we say that it’s not a mistake from our creator.”
According to him, out of 18 political parties that presented presidential candidates, 15 have fallen behind.
He added that of the other three, two have “misconfigured themselves”, saying they have “fallen out of alignment with the dictates of winning elections in Nigeria”.