Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said that the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not done to undermine the influence or relevance of the Christians in the country.
The governor, who allayed the fears of Christians over the raging issue, also clarified that the combination was simply a calculated political strategy by the party to win the presidential election in 2023.
Fayemi spoke in Ado-Ekiti during a courtesy visit to the governor’s office by the new executives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ekiti State chapter, led by its chairman, Dr Emmanuel Aribasoye.
The new CAN chairman in the state, Dr Aribasoye, however, said the church was not in any way comfortable with the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party, describing it as a “cause for concern”.
The governor said picking a Muslim running mate for the party’s presidential candidate was not because there were no competent Christian politicians from the North as being erroneously peddled in some quarters.
Fayemi, who noted that there are so many competent Christians in the North and all over Nigeria, said the responsibility of the church where social justice is being preached should include looking at the challenges being faced by Christians and seeking how good governance can address and improve them.
He said, “The quick steps that we should have taken earlier is by approaching the leadership in Christendom and explain the context of the selection that was about to happen.
“Even if they don’t agree with our choice, they would have seen the sincerity of purpose and understood that the decision was not on ground of competence because we have competent Christians all over Nigeria but on grounds of strategic political moves, which is what we do in politics. We have to look at scenarios and calculate where the votes would come from, it is a game of numbers.
“The Christian leadership should use this current challenge as an opportunity to present a charter of demands to all political candidates, especially our party (APC), outlining the irreducible minimum conditions acceptable to Christians in the next political dispensation. A charter of demands that would represent those values you preach to us in church highlighting our concerns, stressing the place of Christendom in the Nigeria project and then placing our demands before the political leaders. I want the Church to organise debates around issues of concerns among all the candidates,” Fayemi said.
Dr Aribasoye gave kudos to Dr Fayemi administration for his giant strides in the state which include quick response to security challenges which had culminated into frequent arrest of criminal elements in the state, extensive infrastructural and educational development as well as his personal sponsorship of pilgrims to Holy Lands.