Muslim/Muslim ticket won’t work for APC –Sani, ACF ex-Sec General –

Muslim/Muslim ticket won’t work for APC –Sani, ACF ex-Sec General – The Sun Nigeria

From Gyang Bere, Jos

The immediate past Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani has said the clamour for a Muslim/Muslim ticket by some individuals for the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not fly in the present day Nigeria. He advised the presidential flag bearer of the APC Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pick a Northern Christian for the Vice President position.

 

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Where do you think the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ahmed Bola Tinubu should pick his running mate from?

I really don’t know why this should be an issue because the constitution is very clear about federal character. Federal character both in letter and in spirit is very clear that no group should dominate the other because such a thing will not promote unity; and as far as Nigeria is concerned, the dividing lines are three. We have religion, ethnicity and region; there is no way a president can pick his own tribe to be his vice. So, if there are three dividing lines, therefore, if the president comes from this side, naturally the Vice President should come from the other side. If the President is coming from the South, then the Vice president should come from the North because region is also one of the three. The constitution expects that the Vice President should be the opposite of the President but people have been talking about some issues but the reality is that the country today is so divided by ethnicity, religion and region. There is no way Tinubu will pick his vice from the South because that will not work; we expect that he will pick his vice from the North and a Christian because religion is one of the dividing lines. The man has made it very clear that he is coming to unite the country and so the people talking of a Muslim/Muslim ticket, I am not sure if they are taking into account the thinking of the presidential candidate as far as APC is concerned. Also, PDP will have to pick a Christian from the South because religion is a dividing line and so that is why Tinubu will have to do the same thing and the way I am reading the man, his agenda is to come and unite the country that the younger ones will have hope and have chances to live in a peaceful country. I am not expecting Tinubu to take Vice President as a Muslim, I am not expecting him to do that.

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But the issues of Muslim/Muslim ticket for the APC has generated a lot of controversy in the country; as an elder statesman from the North, what do you think the APC should do to get out of the present dilemma?

As far as I am concerned and as I have explained to you, the cleavages of the country today is being divided along religion, ethnicity and regional lines and so it goes to say that the President will pick somebody from the North who is a Christian because religion is a dividing line; also because of the federal character, we expect Tinubu to pick somebody from the North because he is coming to unite the North. Tinubu is meeting a Nigeria that is divided along religious, ethnic and regional lines and he has promised to make correction and the correction is for him to pick a Northern Christian as his running mate; that will send a signal that he is coming for unity and not to divide the country. I have heard Governor Nasir El-Rufai talking about Muslim/Muslim ticket and people are reacting; Kaduna is not like Nigeria. Muslims are the majority in Kaduna State and so you can pick a Muslim as running mate for governor and win but given the Nigeria of today where there is plenty division, I think Tinubu is going to pick his running mate from the North and a Christian.

The statement made by El-Rufai, don’t you think is capable of dividing the nation?

What El-Rufai has said…..mind you, we are playing politics, in Kaduna State, Muslims are more and if a governor picks a Muslim as running mate, nothing much will happen but then in Nigeria, if we accept that religion is a dividing line, that it promotes some cleavages, then it means that if you take Muslim/Muslim ticket, you are not uniting the country. You are even against the federal character which says, no group should be allowed to dominate others and as far as we are concerned, religion is among the three groups that are dividing the country. I don’t think anybody will take what El-Rufai has said serious because Kaduna and Nigeria are two different things.

There are names that have actually come up such as Governor Simon Lalong, Yakubu Dogara, Boss Mustapha among others to be considered for the running mate of Tinubu, do you have preferred person among the names?

I have being following the trend and I think Tinubu has said that he knows how to hunt for talent; I believe he will look at these people you have mentioned. He also knows the intellect in each one of them. For example, if I am to say something, Dogara is a young man with sufficient public intelligence. When you look at his electoral value, everyone will want to consider him as Vice President because he has been winning elections in Bauchi State. He was able to command national respect when he became the speaker and given his liberal posture, I am tempted to recommend him for the Vice President but my suggestion doesn’t mean that I have influence on Tinubu but he has told us that he knows how to hunt and get first 11. As far as I am concerned, Dogara fits in, that is my suggestion.

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Are you satisfied with the security situation, state of economy and the way politics is going on in the country?

As far as I am concerned, democracy has helped us in many areas; it has helped us to make a choice of the leaders that will govern us and once we make that choice by ourselves, we should know that the choices have consequences. If for any reason you make a wrong choice, democracy allowed you to make a change. President Buhari has done 8 years, he had told us what he want to do, he has done some things, and he has not done some and if we are not satisfied, we will change him in this election that is coming and put in some people that can meet our aspiration. As far as I am concerned, democracy has come to stay and I am very happy that the primaries were without rancour, the primary election was very peaceful but the only drawback which I don’t seem to like is the monetization. Money went out too much that I felt bribing delegates is a corrupt act which I think Buhari shouldn’t have allowed; the EFCC should have traced those people who were buying delegates because when you buy delegates, you buy their conscience and we will end up with a leadership that is not really accepted. The worst of it was to even use dollar which makes our currency to look like a toilet paper; I don’t really like that and he just sit down and watch, that is a President that came to fight corruption, that is the aspect that I didn’t like in him. But Buhari has been able to improve the situation which everybody needs to know. If we do our analysis objectively, we will be able to know if the man has moved on or he has not achieved and if he has achieve, to what degree. But for me, democracy is alright and you and I who are supposed to be the public, we have a lot to do; if we vote the correct person, that is fine, if we make a mistake, we will pay the price.

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What is your advice for those who are angling to take over the realm of leadership in the country, particularly on security?

The problem of security is something that I have been saying, in the past 30 years, people have been talking about unemployment and insecurity; this is something we have been talking about since 30 years but we have not taken any action. So poverty, ignorance are combined to bring about a situation of insecurity and unfortunately because we are a Third world country and we don’t have enough resources to confront them. But this man has made significant progress as far as containing insecurity is concerned. I can give you data from 2010 up to today about Boko Haram to see whether there has been improvement or not. Banditry has come and if you look at it, it is across everywhere; it transits national boundary, it needs serious and collective action than the way we imagine. We are under estimating what the can do because we don’t really have resources to do it. What we have advised the to do in situation like this, issues like infrastructure need to be kept aside to commit the resources in fighting insecurity. After that, then you address the underlining causes which is poverty and ignorance, unless you are able to prioritize and face the insecurity very squarely; you will not be able to succeed completely. As for poverty, for those of us who always go to Church, Jesus Christ once told his disciples that the poor will always be with you. What Jesus Christ was trying to say is that as far as humanity is concerned, there will always be the poor; what we need to do is to try to reduce not because it is one of the underlining causes of insecurity. I advised the incoming to prioritize insecurity and take the fight seriously than any other thing. At the moment, security is not prioritized because the little resources the country has are being divided among so many competing demands and unfortunately, our competing demands are more than our resources. Whoever is coming should prioritize security.

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