Northern group to CAN, MURIC: Form your own parties, stop dictating to APC, PDP

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A Northern group, the Arewa Youth Awareness Forum, on Wednesday, asked the Muslim Rights Concern, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, to consider floating their own political parties.

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AYAF also said the two religious bodies should stop dictating to the two major political parties – the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress, over choices of presidential running mates.

The group which expressed concern over their interference in the affairs of the APC and the PDP said the recommendation of Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike as PDP presidential running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was in the right direction.

In the statement signed by the group’s Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary-General; Mohammed Sani-Kabir, Salisu Abdurrahaman, and Ben Alege respectively, AYAF said “We applaud the choice of Governor Wike, whose numerous passionate infrastructural projects in Rivers State have been commissioned by eminent persons across the federation, including our revered Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar; we urge religious leaders to allow political parties to make their choices.”

MURIC, led by Prof. Lakin Akintola, had asked Atiku not to pick Wike, saying that the governor is a Christian fanatic who hates Muslims and Islam. CAN on the other hand is warning APC against fielding a Muslim northerner as running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, warning that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would breed chaos.

But AYAF said, “Given deep-rooted economic, security and other challenges of nation-building that the nation faces today, one thing that is more needed than religious and ethnic sentiments is good, impactful governance, characterised by mass inclusion and leadership that can move mountains.

“The PDP is demonstrating a keen sense of reward because Governor Wike’s contribution to his party is unmatched by any of his peers in the South-South. Despite criticisms against him, his impact had been felt in the party from Abia to Zamfara State.

“We believe that the APC will do well as a progressive party by following the PDP’s method of involving every level of the party in the choice of a Vice President, backed by voters. Through that, demons of religious and other sentiments would have been considerably laid to rest as the nation goes ahead to pick the next leadership.

“Likewise, criticising the PDP’s choice of Governor Wike based on religious sentiment is unhelpful to democracy.  If the PDP and its presidential candidate see the inclusion of Governor Wike on the ticket as a strategy to mobilise huge votes, so be it.”

AYAF added that “While we respect all our religious leaders, we must all caution ourselves a bit to curb the way occasional admixture of politics and religion further divides people and lead to combustible reactions.

“If MURIC, which dislikes Wike and CAN, which is criticising the APC’s inclinations, chooses, they may float a political party and share positions of presidential candidate and running mate between one another based on religious considerations in future elections.”

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