MY PERSPECTIVES ON THE ASIWAJU-S HETTIMA JOINT PRESIDENTIAL TICKET FOR 2023
My names are Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola. I am a professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, and in fact, Nigeria’s first professor of Cyber Security. I have a rich teaching culture that cuts across several universities in Europe, America and Africa. I am an ordained minister of God and, indeed, an official of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the diaspora.
Currently, I am the Proprietor of the Ademola Ojo Emmanuel Foundation, which is presently establishing the first ever University of Professional Studies (UNIPRO) in Igbajo-Ijesha, Osun State Nigeria.
The 2023 general election in Nigeria is fast approaching, and the necessary politicking is nearing frenzied heights. The actors and gladiators are helming in and pressing their advantages. The primaries have been concluded, the parties have selected their respective candidates for the various offices, and the stage is set for the commencement of full campaigns.
I wish all the parties and their candidates’ luck in their various political desires.
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However, I note that the decision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential race has drawn heated reactions from many Nigerians. This is because, so far, APC is the ruling party, the most formidable party, the most likely party, with the most significant structure to win the election.
While most of the reactions were borne out of the desire to be partakers in the anticipated victory of the APC, others were borne of the desire to capitalise on the religious fault lines in the country and employ the same to demarket and weaken the ruling party, thereby boosting the chances of the opposition in the coming election.
But then, I acknowledge that some adverse reactions against the APC choice are borne out of genuine concerns from some people in a country where religion has been negatively employed as a divisive and rancorous factor when it should be a uniting factor.
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Having said this, I have to weigh in here and state my position and beliefs on the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
First, I must state that Religion is a spiritual affair that should not become a political tool. In this, I note that the time has come for all Nigerians to rise to the urgent imperative to detoxify the religious content wrongly built into our politics and governance by ignoring every effort to interpret apparent political and governance issues along religious lines. There should be clear boundaries that separate politics from religion, and this must be clearly adhered to if Nigeria must record progress. There is no linking chain between them. So we should stop the penchant for using the religious microscope to examine clearly political issues and offer interpretations that continue to divide us and eventually pull the country down.
During elections, we are not required to elect leaders that will lead us to heaven but leaders that will employ all indices to chart our progress as citizens and the growth of Nigeria. Christian, Muslim, Traditionalist or any other belief should not matter in leadership selection. Countries that have made real, significant developmental strides have not bothered about the religion of their leaders. They have not elevated such to the very height of their priority during elections.
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Before recently, the religious belief of occupiers of political offices in Nigeria was immaterial. Thus, Chief Obafemi Awolowo contested for presidency in the second republic with Chief Philip Umeadi on a Christian-Christian ticket while Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe ran with another Christian. Prof. Ishaya Audu in the same second republic without any fuss.
What’s more, the current President, Muhammadu Buhari, governed Nigeria as Military Head of State with his Deputy, a Muslim too, and many people didn’t even notice.