Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Babachir Lawal Being Emotional, Northern Christians Not Marginalised – APC Chieftain

A photo combination of former SGF Babachir Lawal and APC chieftain Ahmed Sajo.

 

As reactions continue to trail former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal’s criticisms of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket, APC stalwart, Ahmed Sajo has kicked against claims of Christian marginalisation in the party.

On Thursday, Lawal endorsed the Labour Party’s (LP) Peter Obi, a southern Christian, in spite of his membership in the APC, citing the religion of his party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

But Sajo, in a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, described Lawal and his cohorts as being emotional.

READ ALSO: ‘How Many Times Will He Run?’ Tinubu Mocks Atiku, Snubs Obi, Kwankwaso

Speaking on possible feelings of anger among northern Christians over the Muslim-Muslim ticket, the former Adamawa State Commissioner for Information said he did not think that was the case.

“I don’t think so. There are people who are emotional like Babachir and co. You cannot excuse them; you cannot say, ‘You cannot exist within our region.’ But they are there. But that does not mean that, politically, we have marginalised our brothers,” he argued.

“My local government is 90 per cent Muslim and our candidate for House of Assembly is a Christian. We don’t see him as a Christian; we see him as a brother, a capable person, and somebody that can deliver.”

Asked whether the APC recognises Christians as a force in the North, he said, “Absolutely! Is it not in my party that Babachir was made SGF and Boss Mustapha is now SGF? Are they not nothern Christians? Is it not in my party that (Yakubu) Dogara was speaker of the House of Representatives?

“You think that if they were marginalised, they would have arrived at that level? Remember, David Mark was Senate President for how long? Is he not a northern Christian? If they were marginalised, would he have been the Senate President?

“Don’t forget, at a certain point in time when David Mark was the Senate President, Ekweremadu, a southern Christian, was the deputy senate president.”

Northern APC Christians Disagree On Obi Endorsement

A group under the aegis of the Aggrieved Northern APC Christians, on Thursday, recommended that its members and their supporters back the Obi/Datti presidential ticket for the 2023 election.

In a statement titled “Why we have chosen to endorse the Obi/Datti ticket” signed by Lawal, one of its leaders, said it came to the decision of supporting Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, after a painstaking review and analysis of the alternative tickets.

But in a swift response, Dogara and other members of the group distanced themselves from the endorsement, saying they had yet to conclude consultations and that their position would be made public.

Our Group Hasn’t Endorsed Obi, Dogara And Others Deny Babachir Lawal

Yakubu Dogara, Lawmakers,
Yakubu Dogara

 

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and other members of the Aggrieved Northern APC members have distanced themselves from the endorsement of the Obi-Datti presidential ticket.

Channels Television had reported that the Chairman of the group and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, said it has endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and his running mate Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed after painstakingly reviewing and analysing the alternative candidates.

But Dogara and other members of the group have distanced themselves from the endorsement, saying they are yet to conclude consultations and that their position will be made public.

READ ALSOAggrieved Northern APC Christians Endorse Obi-Datti, Give Reasons

“We want to draw the attention of the general public to the recent position canvassed by our Chairman, Engr B D Lawal as the position of our Group. We wish to state that necessary consultations have been concluded, and based on manifestly unassailable empirical data, the group is poised to adopt a position that will be made known to the public at an interfaith event to be held very soon,” the group said in a statement signed by Simon Achuba, Hon Albert Atiwurcha, Prof Doknan Sheni, Mela A. Nunge, SAN, Gen Ishaya Bauka Rtd, Prof Ibrahim Haruna and Mrs Leah Olusiyi.

“Suffices to say that no one in the group including the Chairman has been mandated to speak to the public about our position at this material time. Based on our modus Operandi, our position was meant to be presented to the general public at the event above referred to. That has not changed.

“Consequently, the decision to endorse a particular candidate and the statement credited to the chairman are solely the decision and views of the Chairman which he is absolutely entitled to but not that of the group. We hope this statement clears all the queries most of us have been inundated with on this all-important subject matter.”

Tinubu Said Campaigning In South-East ‘Waste Of Time And Money’ – Babachir Lawal

 

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal on Thursday claimed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu said campainging in the South-East was a waste of time and resources during the party’s primaries.

“During the convention, he didn’t even allow us go the South-East,” Mr Lawal said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“He said it was a waste of time and money.”

Mr Lawal made the comment while analysing Mr Tinubu’s chances in the imminent February presidential polls.

According to him, the APC candidate stands no chance of winning the election.

Mr Lawal has endorsed the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, although he is still a member of the APC.

He broke off with Mr Tinubu after the latter announced a Muslim as his running mate for the 2023 polls.

Mr Lawal and some other APC members had advocated for the appointment of a Northern Christian in order to balance the ticket.

Aggrieved Northern APC Christians Endorse Obi-Datti, Give Reasons

 

An All Progressives Congress (APC) group under the auspices of Aggrieved Northern APC Christians has recommended that its members and their supporters back the Obi/Datti presidential ticket for the 2023 election.

The group in a statement titled “Why we have chosen to endorse the Obi/Datti ticket” signed by one of its leaders, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, said it came to the decision of supporting the Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and his running mate Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed after a painstaking review and analysis of the alternative tickets.

READ ALSO: ‘Democratic Rascality’, Afe Babalola, Olanipekun, Five SANs Fault Removal Of Ekiti Speaker

Describing the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket as satanic, the group said it is a deliberate and well-calculated plan to sow a seed of religious discord among Nigerians, adding that Northerners are their intended target.

It advised against voting for the APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu whom it described as a renowned Yoruba-hegemonist who championed the establishment of a Ministry of Regional Integration in each state government of the South-west geopolitical region and his running mate Kashim Shettima whom they quoted as once saying “restructuring my foot, let’s restructure our minds”.

The group said it believes that the Obi/Datti ticket will give Nigeria a breath of fresh air and the greatest opportunity to redeem the country from the quagmire into which it has been plunged by a recurring group of self-centered reactionaries.

Read the full statement below:

WHY WE HAVE CHOSEN TO ENDORSE THE OBI/DATTI TICKET

As one of the foremost critics of APC’s single-faith presidential ticket, and also in difference to those who have patiently waited for our guidance as to where to pitch our tent, after a painstaking review and analysis of the alternative presidential tickets, we now wish to recommend the Obi/Datti presidential ticket.

We wish to briefly narrate some few reasons among many why we have endorsed this ticket and commend it to all Nigerians of good conscience who desire justice, equity and a harmonious co-existence of all Nigerians across tribes, religion and geopolitical regions. More over there is currently in circulation the fake news that I have thrown in my towel with the PDP. Nothing could be further from the truth. To me the PDP and APC are different sides of the same coin.

1 The APC same-faith is a deliberate, well-calculated plan to sow the seeds of religious and social discord among Nigerians. It is obvious that Northerners, in particular, are the intended targets and victims of this satanic plan. It is an indisputable fact that the whole of Northern Nigeria is currently mired in several intractable socio-economic problems due to the activities of several nebulous criminal groups. Agriculture, the mainstay of the northern economy, is all but abandoned because kidnappers and bandits have prevented people from venturing out of the safety of their homes. Interstate and intercity travel for either business or leisure have all but ceased not only due to un-motorable roads but more so for fear of kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of banditry. Our rural schools have all but closed for fear of kidnappers. Government-owned universities have closed thus depriving the children of the already impoverished Northern masses access to affordable higher education. Thus, our out-of-school and idle children have become easy targets for recruitment by bandits and kidnappers. And there is no solution in sight.

Then, out of nowhere this man Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a renown Yoruba-hegemonist, a man who championed the establishment of a Ministry of Regional Integration in each state government of the South-west geopolitical region which he bestrides as an emperor, and a man who was once quoted as saying “I do not believe in one Nigeria” (THISDAY, The Sunday Newspaper, April 13, 1997, page 9) comes up with a Muslim-muslim ticket knowing fully well that religion is the underbelly of Northern Nigeria. APC’s same-faith ticket is a ploy to further sow discord among Northerners using the most potent weapon of social discord – religion. As Karl Max once said – “religion is the opium of the people”. Nigerians from all shades of the society must see this Tinubu/Kashim same-faith ticket as a proposal from the pit of hell that can only be conjured by the most Machiavellian minds known to man and therefore must be rejected wholesome by all lovers of our country and its nascent democracy.

On the other hand, Alhaji Kashim Shetima, Tinubu’s Vice Presidential running mate is a man who once said “restructuring my foot, let’s restructure our minds”. For eight years he presided over Borno State at a time when Boko Haram was overrunning the state almost at will and restructuring the minds of its victims against Christianity and western education. The kidnapped Chibok and Dapchi girls and many more are now slowly trickling out of captivity in the Boko Haram indoctrination camps fully Islamized and carrying children born into Islam in captivity – a true example of “mind restructuring” if there ever was one. There is also this little matter of an allegation of a very close relationship or otherwise between the Vice Presidential candidate of APC and Boko Haram! And, which Christian can forget one Kabiru Sokoto the alleged Boko Haram kingpin accused of complicity in the Christmas bombing of St Theresa Catholic Church, Madallah that resulted in 44 deaths and 77 injured Christian worshippers? Or that the said Kabiru Sokoto was eventually arrested at his hiding place in the Borno State Government Lodge Abuja? Are Christians not justified in being scared of a government run by these duo?

2. Surely, APC’s same-faith ticket is intended to shame Christians and bestow on them and their religion a second-class socio-political status in their own country. In particular it is a validation of the discrimination and oppression being meted out on Northern Nigerian Christians where they are now denied employment, promotion, contracts, and admission to read prestigious and marketable courses in government-owned schools simply on account of their religion. It is no wonder then that Alhaji Bola Tinubu thinks that the Bible is a book of jokes from which he can freely construct his “jokes” like his “Poisoned Holly Communion” and “Speaking in Tongues” jokes. If he is man enough, I challenge him to ridicule the Holy Quran even once as he freely does the Holy Bible. This guy has no respect for Christians and Christianity at all.

3 This APC ticket goes against the grain of Nigerian politics which in practice (if not in law) has always sought to achieve a religious balance in its politics and governance. It is worth noting that all the other seventeen political parties fielding presidential candidates have gone the way of established conventions and practices by fielding different-faith tickets. Truly except for its incitement to social disharmony, there is no sense at all in APC’s same faith ticket.

Furthermore, in our quest for justice and equity in the socio-political and religious space of the country, it is obvious that only the Obi/Datti ticket has the potential of speaking to the genuine clamor for power shift to the South-East and at the same time speak to the cry of marginalization by our people of the South-East. Obviously, a Christian/Muslim presidency like the Obi/Datti one will be most appropriate at this stage of our political journey more so since we are now transiting from a Muslim/Christian presidency. It will also achieve the regional shift of the presidency from the current NW/SW to a SE/NW presidency as popularly being canvassed . This is justice; this is equity. This is political engineering at its best and one that engineers peace and harmonious co-existence of the various socio-political and religious classes of our nation.

5 Nigerians should also resist the temptation of being ruled by the same set of courtiers who are recycling themselves, their children and their friends in a monarchal fashion, in and out of government to the exclusion of other segments of the society. This trend has resulted in these disastrous consequences in which we now find ourselves – impoverished, unsecured, divided, severely underdeveloped and massively unemployed with a widening gulf between the rich and poor of the society. A keen observer will not fall to notice that APC is a transmutation of Action Group/UPN that is dominated by the children or grandchildren of those who once run and ruined the Action Group while the PDP is a transmutation of NPC/NPN similarly dominated by the children or grandchildren of the people who once run and ruined the NPC. A government of either APC or PDP will only be a recycling of the same class of people who have been running and ruining the country from independence to date. Is it any wonder that Nigeria has remained static?

The Obi/Datti will give us breath of fresh air and the greatest opportunity to redeem our country from the quagmire into which we have been plunged by a recurring group of self-centred reactionaries.

6 There is a also this palpable fear and anxiety over a possible transition of the current presidency from one Fulbe to another – same tribe, same religion, same region, same courtiers. This has given rise to a heightened fear of a possible perpetuation of a Fulbe hegemony in the country. Besides, there is the perception by many Nigerians that the Fulbe are the main actors in the banditry and kidnappings currently ravaging the country. Therefore, there is a widespread perception that another Fulbe-led government will not have the inclination or political will to address the country’s security challenges seeing as a majority of the perpetrators are its kindred.

There is also this perception that appointments by the current government are driven more by ethnic and religious cronyism than by Nationalistic considerations. This has given rise to a fear of a possible perpetuation of this trend by another Fulbe-led government. Both APC and PDP presents us with these horrible options. The Obi/Datti ticket possesses a great potential to wean us from these problems.

7 Finally, as the political campaigns advance towards the election dates, the tendency to divide the country along regional, tribal and religious affiliations is gradually beginning to manifest. We can see very clearly that the APC having woefully failed in its original plan to instigate a form of jihad which it had sought through its same-faith ticket in order to capture the moslem votes, has now resorted to a tribal card. The battle cry is now “it is our turn” tribal card in the South-West. The PDP on the other hand, seeing new opportunities in APC’s failed jihad strategy is tending towards adapting both the religious and ethnic strategies of APC in the North.

Nigerians must be awake to these very dangerous campaign trends because any of the political parties that comes into government by pandering to ethnic or religious sentiments may not be able govern successfully and might further accentuate the social cleavages.

Men of good conscience should therefore look to opportunities that unite rather than divide us. Only the Labor Party presents this opportunity. We therefore call on all patriots to labor for our country in this presidential election. Nigeria’s future is at stake in this presidential election. Obi-Datti is the only way to go. All other ways lead to perdition.

BD Lawal,
Abuja, 23/11/2023

Alleged N544m Fraud: EFCC Set To Appeal Acquittal Of Babachir Lawal, Others

I Joined Politics To Contribute To Making Buhari President – Babachir Lawal
File photo: Mr Babachir Lawal

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has indicated plans to appeal the ruling of Justice Charles Agbaza of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja, following the dismissal of a 10-count charge of corruption brought against a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal.

Lawal and five others, on Friday, were discharged and acquitted from the N544 million Contract Fraud offence brought against them by the EFCC as the court held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a case against the former SGF and the co-defendants.

“But dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC has given indication that it will obtain a copy of the judgment for urgent review and challenge its validity at the appellate court,” EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said in a statement on Friday.

READ ALSO: Alleged N544m Fraud: Court Discharges, Acquits Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal

Ruling on the no case submission made by the defendants, Justice Agbaza held that the Commission which presented 11 witnesses in the course of the trial, failed to establish the ingredients of the alleged offence.

The court held that the commission did not establish that Babachir Lawal was either a member of the Presidential Initiative for North East PINE that awarded the contract or a member of the Ministerial Tenders Board that vetted and gave approval to the disputed contract.

Lawal; his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; and Apeh John Monday were being prosecuted alongside two companies, Rholavision Engineering and Josmon Technologies on an amended 10-count charge, bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N544million.

The EFCC had on Monday, November 30, 2020 re-arraigned the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal before Justice Agbaza.

 

Alleged N544m Fraud: Court Discharges, Acquits Ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal

Mr Babachir Lawal

 

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has discharged and acquitted a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal and five others from the N544M Contract Fraud offence brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Court held that the anti-graft agency failed to establish a case against the Ex-SGF and the co-defendants.

Ruling on a no-case submission made by Babachir Lawal, Justice Charles Agbaza held that the EFCC said that no ingredients of any offence was made out by the 11 witnesses that testified for the EFCC.


READ ALSO: Usifo Ataga’s Murder: Chidinma Claims Police Forced Her To Sign Confessional Statements


The judge held that EFCC did not establish that Babachir Lawal was either a member of the Presidential Initiative for North East that awarded the contract, or a member of the Ministerial Tenders Board that vetted and gave approval to the disputed contract.

Besides, Justice Agbaza held that EFCC also failed to link Babachir Lawal with the Bureau of Public Procurement BPP that issued a certificate of no objection to the contract before it was awarded.

The judge discharged and acquitted all the defendants in the 10-count criminal charges against them for want of evidence to link them with the purported offences.

Babachir Lawal alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday and two companies, were prosecuted by the EFCC before Justice Charles Agbaza.

They faced a 10-count charge bordering on fraud relating to the removal of evasive plant species to the tune of N544 million for which they pleaded not guilty.

The EFCC had on Monday, November 30, 2020 re-arraigned the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal before Justice Agbaza.

APC To Expand Tinubu Campaign Council, Postpones Inauguration

A file photo of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.

 

The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is making moves to expand its 422-member list of powerbrokers tasked with ensuring victory for Bola Tinubu.

The inauguration of the council and the prayer walk was scheduled for Wednesday.

But the PCC Director-General, Simon Lalong, in a statement late Monday said the need for the expansion of the list is to “accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family”.

READ ALSO: To Keep Nigeria One, Everyone Should Be Obi-Datti Compliant – Afenifere

“Recall that we had earlier earmarked a peace walk and prayers for Wednesday, September 28, 2022, to officially kick off our campaigns for the 2023 Presidential Elections. We had also announced that the members of the Campaign Council report to the Campaign Headquarters on that day to collect their letters of appointment.

“However, due to the expansion of the list to accommodate more stakeholders and interests within the APC family, we have decided to adjust the timetable of these activities in order to ensure everyone is on board before activities officially commence.

“Consequently, the activities earlier announced for the 28th of September will no longer hold,” the governor said, adding that a new date and timetable will be released soon.

READ ALSO[2023] Peter Obi Ahead Of Tinubu, Atiku With 51% — We2Geda Poll

In the list released on Friday, the ruling party had excluded some supposed rivals of Tinubu, a development that created subtle controversy over the weekend, especially because some of the excluded persons contested the presidential primary of the APC.

Others have been vocal against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.

Among the persons excluded are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and a former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.

Tinubu Invites Aregbesola, Others For Special Campaign Prayers

File photo: Rauf Aregbesola, Bisi Akande, and Bola Tinubu

 

All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has directed its 422 members to report at the campaign headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday for special prayer sessions to officially commence the 2023 electioneering process.

“The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council wishes to inform all members nominated to serve in the various directorates to report at the campaign headquarters on Wednesday 28 September 2022 at 8 a.m.

“Nominated members are expected to participate in the special prayer sessions marking the commencement of the 2023 presidential election campaigns.

“There will be a Peace Walk immediately after the prayers. All nominees will be issued their letters of appointment same day,” the Council’s Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, said in a statement on Friday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had announced September 28 (Wednesday) as the official date for campaigns to kick off for next year’s elections.

The APC Campaign Council had on Friday night released a long list of persons tasked with the responsibility to ensure victory for APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu; and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, in next February polls.

Some of the members of the Council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari include Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Gbemisola Saraki; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; as well as other heavyweights including serving and former governors, ministers, senators, amongst others.

READ ALSO: Don’t Make The Mistake Of Voting Killers – Jonathan Charges Nigerians

The steel minister is sister to former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who contested the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential primary in May and lost to ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

However, the list excluded Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, and many other chieftains in the ruling party.

The spokesman for the campaign, Festus Keyamo, subsequently said the President directed that Osinbajo and Mustapha should not be included in the list for him to focus on demands of governance.

Tinubu had trounced Amaechi and Osinbajo at the primary with the former minister and VP coming second and third respectively.

Also, Aregbesola, one of Tinubu’s longtime allies, had caused a ruckus in the buildup to the Osun State Governorship Election when he accused Tinubu of betrayal.

The inclusion of the name of the former governor of Osun State as well as the name of a serving PDP senator, Chimaroke Nnamani, however, came as a surprise to many.

Why Osinbajo, Mustapha Didn’t Make Tinubu’s Campaign Council – Keyamo

Keyamo

 

The Spokesperson for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has given reasons for the exclusion of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, from the 422-man list of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council.

According to him, their absence was because President Muhammadu Buhari “specifically directed” that they should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country.

Keyamo made this known in a statement on Saturday hours after the party released a longlist of powerbrokers as members of the Campaign Council.

He said, “Our attention has been drawn to some stories making the rounds that there may be something amiss within the family of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is not included in the list of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council.

“Nothing can be farther from the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is the Chairman of the Campaign Council. As a result, Mr. President has specifically directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of Government.

“As a responsible Party and Government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns. The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.”

Keyamo also said the list released is subject to “periodic review”.

“Our candidates and the leadership of the APC have also indicated that the list is not sacrosanct as there may be periodic review of it as circumstances dictate.

“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us and our party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country, but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs.”

Aside from Osinbajo and Mustapha, other prominent members of the party not included in the campaign council include former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, amongst others.

Osinbajo and Nwajiuba had contested the presidential primary of the ruling party with former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, the eventual winner, whilst Dogara and Lawal have fiercely registered their opposition to Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim like himself as running mate.

Babachir Lawal, Dogara Meet With ‘Indispensable’ Wike For ‘Inclusive Nigeria’

 

The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Saturday met with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

The visitors, on their arrival, were led into a closed door meeting at the private residence of Governor Wike in Port Harcourt.

After the meeting, Lawal said they had just fulfilled a biblical injunction to visit one another.

READ ALSO: APC Northern Christians Formally Reject Muslim-Muslim Ticket

“We came to visit our brother,” he said. “He is our brother and every now and then the bible enjoins you to visit one another. That’s what we have just done.”

Dogara said Wike is an indispensable politician that fits into their aspiration to build an inclusive Nigeria.

“Everyone agrees with us that Governor Wike is one of those indispensable political leaders,” Dogara said. “And for us, it is a search to build an all-inclusive Nigeria. So we feel that as part of the agenda-setting, we should meet with him and that’s the reason why we are here.”

The visit comes one day after Lawal and Dogara, both members of the All Progressives Congress spearheaded a northern Christian gathering to formally reject the Muslim-Muslim ticket of their party.

Governor Wike on Friday also criticised the presidential candidate of his party, Atiku Abubakar, although he vowed to remain in the Peoples Democratic Party.

APC Northern Christians Formally Reject Muslim-Muslim Ticket

 

Northern Christian members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have held a summit where they formally rejected the party’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket for the 2023 election.

According to them, the ticket goes against all the principles of equity, fairness and justice.

Joing party stalwarts such as Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal were members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and clergymen who said Christians in the North must rise against the injustice of the ruling party.

READ ALSO: Wike Slams Atiku, Vows To Remain In PDP

They opined that the ticket was an attempt to further divide the country.

“This is very divisive and must be rejected by all patriotic Nigerians,” Mr Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said.

“Also implied in this ticket is the insinuation that Northern Muslims are not willing to vote for a ticket that has a Christian on it and on which they are not represented.

“It is our belief that Northern Muslims would have seen the justice in a Muslim-Christian ticket and would have given it their overwhelming support had the party been inclined to do so.

“Sadly, the party chose to go the divisive line.

“A corollary to this mindset is that Christians should also not vote for a ticket on which there are no Christians.”

On his part, Dogara, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, said Nigeria is at a dangerous crossroad if an important issue like religion is not properly balanced to reflect the interest of all parties in the country.

Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Be Mindful Of Your Utterances, Ganduje Tells Lawal

A photo combination of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and ex-SGF, Babachir Lawal.

 

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has cautioned Babchair Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, over his utterances on the controversial issue of the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor in a statement by his Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, accused Lawal of spreading falsehood and preaching intolerance, saying he should be mindful of his choice of words.

READ ALSO: 2023: Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket Is ‘A Disastrous Error, Dead On Arrival’ – Babachir Lawal

“Muslim Muslim ticket is not going to in any way resulted in the neglect of Christians in the country,” the statement read.

“The former SGF, Christian party members, and other Nigerians should be mindful of their utterances, especially on religious matters, and support the APC for quality leadership that will deliver the country from its challenges.”

The Kano State governor was responding to Lawal’s statement condemning the decision of the APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu’s decision to pick Kashim Shetima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate for the 2023 general election.

In the statement, Lawal described Tinubu’s choice as a “disastrous error”.

“I am afraid a Moslem-Moslem ticket will be “Dead on Arrival”. And the arrival date according to INEC’s election timetable is 25th February 2023. This ticket will drag down the whole APC members to the pit. We all should reject it,” he said.

Lawal in his statement also said there was evidence of an Islamic agenda and accused Governor Ganduje of being involved in the agenda.

He said, “Proof of a possible Islamic agenda was leaked when Governor Ganduje, the “Kadmul Islam”, gave advance notice that Tinubu had assured them he would be nominating a Moslem as his running mate.

“For those who might not know, Governor Ganduje has a foundation called “Ganduje Foundation” which purpose according to its website is to “provide selfless service to humanity and Islam” but whose primary purpose it appears is the conversion of Christians to Islam.”

But Ganduje rejected the allegation, saying, “the comment was totally false considering that, while there is no compulsion in religion, Islam gave individuals the freedom to choose their own religion, and also provided non-Muslims with considerable economic, cultural and administrative rights”.

He added, “There was never a time any Christian or non-believer is forced to embrace Islam by the foundation because it negates the teachings of Islam, but (they) are called to Islam at their wish just as the missionaries go to villages in Kano to invite non-believers to embrace Christianity.”

According to him, it is unfortunate that at a time when the country needs to be united for national development and religious tolerance, a man of Babachir’s calibre would spread falsehood without much consideration for his position in the APC and close relationship with the party’s flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Further defending the foundation, the statement said it was set up about 40 years ago and is engaged in philanthropic, humanitarian, and charitable activities that included medical, support and assistance to the needy in the society, particularly the orphans and the physically challenged, medical outreach to attend to those with diabetes, hypertension, malaria, dental as well as ante-natal and maternal care.

“Governor Ganduje always stands for religious harmony in Kano as exemplified by the administration’s creation of the Ministry for Religious Affairs, where the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is a partner and enjoys a good working relationship with the governor as well as the introduction of an Inter-Faith Dialogue that promotes religious harmony between Muslims and Christians in the state,” the statement added.

Controversial ticket

Tinubu had sparked controversy On Sunday when he announced Shetima as his running mate after weeks of speculations about who he would pick.

The announcement which meant that the APC was opting for a Muslim-Muslim ticket drew condemnation and split opinion.

Tinubu, his allies and his party have all tried to allay fears and concerns about his choice. He has said he has deep respect and trust in Islam and Christianity.

He said Shettima was selected because the former Borno State governor is “competent, capable, reliable and able to be picked as a running mate”.

“Religion, ethnicity, and region cannot always and fully determine our path,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Sunday by Bayo Onanuga, spokesman for his campaign organisation.

“To forge ahead as a nation towards development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds. We must recalibrate our political calculations to where competence and fairness matter, more than reducible demographics.”