Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Sunday, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to disqualify the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; and his running mate, Kashim Shettima ahead of the February 25 presidential election.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement said the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC is unconstitutional and violates democratic principles and tenets of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and could spark a religious civil war that will further divide the country if the same-faith ticket is allowed to sail through.
The group also berated Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje for his provocative and religiously divisive utterances to scores of Islamic clerics lately whom he assembled to canvass support for Tinubu and Shettima. Ganduje reportedly said history will not repeat itself and there won’t be an annulment this time around referring to the annulment of the 1999 presidential election of MKO Abiola and his then running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe.
HURIWA said Ganduje erred and his action disappointing that even as a democratically elected governor in a multireligious country like Nigeria, he chose the path of politics of hate and division by instigating people along faith lines, an action that has birthed multiple monstrous religious crisis in Kano and northern Nigeria especially.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The comments made by Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje in a video now viral that the MKO Abiola occurrence won’t repeat itself is perplexing and disappointing at once.
“At the same event, an Islamic preacher in Kano identified as Abdulmutallab Mohammed Auwal also said on camera that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC presidential candidate and his running mate is a call to Jihad which is why all Muslims should vote for him.
“Without controversy, these utterances by Ganduje and Auwal are a declaration of war against the freedom of religion, the peace and security of the Nigerian state as these provocative remarks will plunge Nigeria further into religious violence and extremism and shatter the foundations of the continuation of the Nigerian state.
“Section 318(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 is clear on federal character principle as one to promote national unity, foster national loyalty and give every citizen of Nigeria a sense of belonging to the nation.
“Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution also notes that Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice. The section underscores the need to promote fairness, equity and national unity in composition of the federal government.
“However, the APC acted in total violation of this principle with the selection of a fellow Muslim, a former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate. The mortal danger in electing a Muslim-Muslim ticket or same faith ticket in a multireligious society like Nigeria is unimaginable.
“The statement by the Kano State governor is totally provocative, his action of assembling an entirely religious meeting to induce the religious Imams to tell their members to vote Tinubu-Shettima not for competence but to ‘advance Islamic religion’ is unacceptable.
“Electing Muslim-Muslim ticket will turn Nigeria to a theocracy of Muslims which will be very stiffly and vehemently opposed and resisted and the resistance could spark off a religious civil war and religious civil wars are endless and Nigeria won’t be the same again.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission needs to disqualify Tinubu-Shettima now unless INEC is also an undertaker like the APC that birthed the monster of same faith presidential ticket which is about to implode.”
January 8, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.