Muslim-Muslim ticket endangers Christianity but … Ogbomoso Baptist Conference president, Niyi Ojo, says

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Muslim-Muslim ticket endangers Christianity but … Says Ogbomoso Baptist Conference president, Niyi Ojo

Femi OGUNLANA

The president of Ogbomoso Baptist Conference, Rev’d Dr. Thomas Niyi Ojo, has weighed in on the contentious issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket being floated by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2023 presidential election.

The presidential candidate of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, a Muslim, has audaciously chosen a northern Muslim, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate.

This move seen as insensitive in the face of the security quagmire provoked by targeted attacks on Christians by Muslim fundamentalists in the country has angered many Christians and has generated a lot of criticisms.

Making his position known on the issue on Saturday, during an interview with ogbomosoinsightonline.com at the 50th birthday celebration of Rev’d Dr Sola Lawal of Oore-Ofe Baptist Church, Ogbomoso, Rev’d Dr Ojo, declared the Muslim-Muslim ticket as condemnable and as an experiment that would ultimately endanger Christianity in the country.

“It is highly condemnable bringing Muslim-Muslim ticket to the platform of the political scene. It is a disregard to Christian religion in Nigeria and it is a pity that our leaders could contemplate that.

“I want to seriously say that the political party that has taken Muslim-Muslim ticket should go and rethink because it is a signal for destabilization of Nigeria. It is better for that party to reconsider and make it Muslim-Christian ticket to demonstrate inclusiveness.”

Reminded that with a Muslim candidate as VP Tinubu has a greater chance of securing northern votes bearing in mind that it is a Muslim-dominated region, but the cleric regarded that as pointless.

“Muslims may be predominant in the north but we still have ample number of Christians, very respectable, very competent.”

“But what if those Christian leaders you referred to are not politically-minded?” He was further asked.

His response: “We have some people who are politically-minded, and since Nigeria belongs to us all, not just politicians, we have Christians in the north, who really love this country, we should incorporate them, they should know that they are part of this nation.

“They should not be sidelined, they are part and parcel of this nation and this should be considered, so, that if all the Christians can come together I can say that APC cannot win in 2023 because we are also stakeholders in Nigeria.”

The man of God rationalizing the fear being entertained by the Christians noted, “There is this issue of Islamization that if they go with Muslim-Muslim ticket and APC wins in 2023, there is a fear that they will Islamize Nigeria. They will push Christians aside, Christians will be endangered.

“That brings fear which we must express, even when we are not having Muslim-Muslim ticket, we feel the signal, we feel the manipulation. If it now comes to the situation of Muslim-Muslim ticket it will now be worse, that is the fear.”

Rev’d Ojo is not impressed by the claim that Tinubu allows his wife of many years to practice her Christian faith, even now a pastor. He rather averred that if that is the case the former Lagos state governor should have let that kind of liberalism be extended to his choice of VP.

“If his wife is a Christian he should think of a Christian being his running mate,” while also frowning at the idea of political expediency being advanced to justify the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, stressing, “We are all stakeholders in this nation and they should think of us too.”

It was mentioned to him that perhaps in the future Christians should encourage their members to join politics, and get politically savvy so they could have wide political base that would make them a force to be reckoned with in the political circle.

He unveils, “We have been doing that and I can tell you our people have been responding positively to the call to join politics. In fact, I have been the anchor of that, mobilizing our people to be card-carrying members of political parties, to be part and parcel of meetings, they should go and obtain their PVC, they should really go and vote on the election day, nobody should display apathy because it is our responsibility as citizens of this country.

“Christians should be involved. Because we don’t get involved, we have continued to be under the bondage of those who don’t know the lord. So, we have been encouraging them and we thank God they have been responding. Gone are the days when we say politics is a dirty game and that is why our people have been shying away from it.

“Now, we have been educating them, telling them that even if you want to fulfill destiny, except God, our politicians determine a lot of things in that. They determine our security situation, they determine our economy, infrastructural development, everything, it is the politicians who are really determining these. That is the reason our people must be involved. Because if they are not involved, they will continue to suffer and we are not destined to suffer.”

For the head of the tens of thousands strong-Baptist members in Ogbomoso, bluntly, he threatened would he tell them, if peradventure his opinion is sought let’s say one week to the election on whom to vote for, to avoid voting for a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2023.

“I will tell them to vote against Muslim-Muslim ticket, pointblank. They should look for a credible candidate with a balance ticket and vote that person. Voting Muslim-Muslim ticket is putting our country in danger, is putting religion in danger, is putting Christianity in danger. I will encourage them with all sincerity and boldness that they should go and vote for a credible candidate who has a balance ticket.”

Told that we have a Christian vice president currently, who couldn’t stem the tide of onslaught against Christians especially, thus affirming the inconsequential nature of the office of a vice president, but he posited, “I don’t believe in that, he is contributing to the progress of this nation. And I can tell you if not that the vice president is a Christian, what we are saying will have gone beyond what we are experiencing. He is playing his part. He is playing his path and because of his presence, some of their decisions they would not be able to take it. If a Christian is not there they can do anything. So, we are trusting God that even if Muslim-Muslim ticket sails through in 2023, we believe that God will fight our battle for us.”

Osun state in 2003 used Christian-Christian ticket, that is Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Olusola Obada on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, in spite of the fact that Osun appears to be a state predominantly Muslim, yet Muslim faithful did not raise any ruckus, and so in some quarters it is being insinuated that intolerance is more a disease of the Christians. Ojo however retorted that the scales are different.

“How can you be comparing one state with 36 states in Nigeria? That is minute, Osun state is one out of 36. They are not the same.”

 

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