By Sule Abubakar
The contention has recommenced, and I wonder why I should be worried over my enemy’s self-immolating adventure. The brouhaha has resurfaced, and with the usual vigour, social media has been littered with a weightless torrent of abuse, criticism and name-calling! Please, as Nigerians would say, “No dey take a panadol for another person’s headache”!
The highly controversial topic of a Muslim-Muslim ticket re-appeared soon after Bola Ahmed Tinubu officially announced Senator Kashim Shettima, the former Governor of Borno State, as his running mate for the 2023 general election. Tinubu had been on the horns of a dilemma. A situation like that demands wits because any ill-conceived decision might result in the ignominious internment of his political career.
So, Tinubu did the inevitable thing. However, in a rare moment of candour, picking a Muslim running mate is reprehensible, and, admittedly too, that’s the inescapable political cross Tinubu has to carry if really he is out to win the 2023 presidential election!
On June 14, 2022, I noted something in my article “APC, Tinubu and the Burden of a Muslim-Muslim Ticket”. I said: “First things first, one of the principal objectives of any political party is to win an election. So, without being politically correct, APC as a party is out to contest the presidential elections, and with the sole aim of winning! And since winning is their major target, they have the constitutional right to decide what could help them actualise their plans. If it’s a Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Christian, Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim ticket they think guarantees their victory; the sole decision is theirs to make. And if the plan unfortunately backfires, with calamitous results, it means they’ve been hoisted with/by their own petard. You can call that a Frankenstein monster!” This is still very relevant in today’s controversy over the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The obvious truth is this, Tinubu has to pick a ‘politically relevant’ northern Muslim to strengthen his chance of winning the election because, strangely enough, that’s the only Hobson’s choice before him! Hobson’s choice simply means taking the only available option or nothing! And according to some people, making such an insensitive choice is self-immolating. But if you critically evaluate your ethno-religious sentiments, you will see that that’s the right thing any sane person in Tinubu’s shoes would do. No serious politician, especially in Nigeria, succumbs to the pressure of religious balance to their political detriment.
Picking a Muslim running is not even destructive; not picking it would’ve been more disastrous for Tinubu and the APC! And if Tinubu had not made that objectionable choice, it would’ve even been the deadliest self-immolating political choice in his political career – because a true leader makes a seemingly unimaginable choice and firmly stands by it. And that’s what Tinubu has just done here!
According to the structure of Nigerian politics, which I have keenly observed so far, religion is only relevant to our politicians before elections. After all, elections are conducted, they jettison religion and then drift back to their sacrilegious activities. To most Nigerian politicians, religion is an art or a tool of fraudulence that they use to bamboozle gullible Nigerians. This has been happening for years, but it takes careful inspection to notice this. I laugh when I see people who blabber on social media. The earlier you know that the election isn’t won through your monotonous jeremiads and sentimental religious outbursts, the better for all of you. Please, take my analysis as one from an unbiased analyst.
Politics thrives on the wings of numbers. That is why candidates go for running mates that give them numerical strength. Tinubu knows this; hence, his desire to go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. So, please, you should allow him to do what he knows best for him and his party! The same way other candidates chose those they think have more electoral advantage, that’s the same way Tinubu also chose somebody he thinks has more electoral value or advantage.
But, of course, Tinubu has the right to do that because the electorate has the equal right not to vote for him. But strangely enough, that’s even Tinubu’s only Hobson’s choice! And since you all think Tinubu has reached his political plateau by choosing a northern Muslim as his running mate, you can all rejoice because of his self-defeating, self-destructive and self-immolating crapshoot! After all, in politics, the downfall of one’s opponent is savoury!
Sule Abubakar wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org.