By Abba Dukawa
Hunger and untold hardship aren’t respectful of ethnicity or
religion. Just like rain, whenever there is a downpour, no one’s roof
is always spared the reason why religion shouldn’t be a yardstick
about who governs the country.
As the country gradually counts months to yet another election year
again in 2023, the issue of religion has again taken the centre stage
with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other notable
Nigerians being at the epicentre of everything religious controversies.
Weaponizing ethnic and religious chauvinism will be detrimentally
debilitating to every Nigerian because these two sickening barometers
for electing Nigerian leaders have taken the country backwards.
There was no time in the anal of the country that we as a people have
ever been polarised like now, as we fret our safety because of our
collective failure in electing incompetent leaders who are bereft of the
requisite knowledge to detour the paths of the country from the sundry
quagmires of a bad economy, insecurity, inequality and the general
wellbeing of the citizens.
Sadly enough, Nigerians’ logical reasoning and sights seem impaired
with these mistakes of voting along religious or tribal lines.
Today, in northern Nigeria and the country in general, terrorism and
terrorists are having a field day, killing, maiming raping and
kidnapping for ransoms. Kidnapping and banditry today are a lucrative
business in the Nigeria clime
It is difficult today in current Nigeria to either compare or juxtapose
the constitutional and primary responsibility of the government to
protect the lives and properties of its citizens with the prevailing
realities staring at us today at the behest and watchful eyes of the
president and state governors.
Nigeria has become a graveyard where thousands of people are killed on a
daily basis, while hundreds of others have abandoned their homes, and
are displaced internally within their country.
Vividly as a result of this wrong voting, the country’s economy is in
bad shape as the country arrives at the present dreaded moment as the
cost of servicing debt surpassed the federal government’s retained
revenue by N310 billion in the first four months of 2022. The federal
government’s total revenue for the period was N1.63 trillion, while
debt service gulped to N1.94 trillion.
As the country matches toward the 2023 General Elections there is a need
for Nigerians to learn how to put the interests of the country first
before any parochial, tribal, ethnic or religious interests because the
country is for all of us. Since the ruling governing party is banking on
Muslim Muslim tickets there is no end in sight to the public spat on the
tickets despite this spat got nothing to do with either interest of
Muslims or Christians but just the political interests.
Why should religion be the yardstick to determine who governs Nigeria?
Why should the religions of presidential and vice-presidential
candidates matter? And What has religion in this case Christianity and
Islam got to do with the ability and capability of a person to
effectively govern a country such as Nigeria?
I mean, Nigeria is not only the only country comprising Christians and
Muslims. Millions of Nigerians do not have that identity as Christians
or as Muslims. There are Nigerians who are atheists/humanists,
traditional and religionists, Like their Christian and Muslim
counterparts, they are also entitled to participate in politics and
governance. They are entitled to vote and be voted for. Discussions over
Muslim-Muslim, Muslim-Christian, Christian-Christian, and
Christian-Muslim tickets have made religions, especially Christianity
and Islam, the main parameters for the choice of president and vice
For this reason, the Christian Association of Nigeria and its
footsoldiers should know that their stance can not (neither noise making
nor intimidation can) force the electorates to circumvent their wishes
just for their political survival. Why did Babachir and others fume on
Muslim Muslim tickets, and why did they feel aggrieved by the action
using the available platform seemingly instigating some people to stand
against the choice.
For former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and other
like minds and individuals across the country, should remember Nigerians
are wise enough and will not allow any religious sentiment to add more
suffering to us, while they swing in dollar and Naira at their comfort
In spite, these people can not claim to be saints to speak on behalf of
other Christians. They are doing it for their interest and not for poor
Christians and Christianity. For anybody to fight on behalf of his
religion he must be morally upright because religion is about righting
Religious organizations or related groups should not allow political
office seekers to misuse religion as a tool to get to power and just get
personal gain from those who are in authority. We should understand that
Nigeria’s constitution provides anyone freedom of religion which
should be strictly applied and protected.
Dukawa write in from Kano can be reached via abbadukawa@gmailcom