By Ali Tijjani Hassan
One would be amazed while taking a look on the similarities between the words “Religion and Region” the coincidence of the letters “R,E,G,I,O,N” in the word RELIGION if not because because of the presence of letters ‘L and I’ in the second syllable of the word ‘re(li)gion’. The amusement would be at peak when you are taking an intense look on how these twin factors playing an unimaginable role in the Nigerian politics.
Nigeria was divided into six geopolitical zones; North-central, Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and South-South, in nutshell ‘South and North’. In terms of Religious diversity we have only two major religions; Christianity and Islam. Subsequently, these two religions are predominantly dominated each region: South-Christianity and North-Islam
As the major opposition party, The People Democratic Party, PDP, emerged Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its flag-bearer in the forthcoming polls of 2023, the ruling party All Progressive Congress remained in obfuscated dilemma to choose their flag-bearer that is capable of winning the polls against Atiku.
Initially, the APC has zoned their presidential qouta to South-west and Vice President to Northeast, and indeed their front-line aspirants (Tinubu, Osinbajo) are both from Southwest.
Alhaji Ahmad Bola Tinubu was a former governor of Lagos state, and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is currently on the echelon of his second-cum-two terms Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
NB: Before we go further, let thy known that; this writer is not in support of zoning politics regardless of its doers, but sadly it becomes the reality of today Nigeria’s politics that we must resist.
Religion as another factor, we were seeing since the birth of Democracy in Nigeria in 1999, how religion is playing a role on who would be President or Vice President the candle of Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim tickets is still flaming, we witnessed Obasanjo/Atiku, Yar Adu’a/Jonathan, Jonathan/Namadi, and Buhari/Osinbajo.
The nightmare to the APC is how to relate their zoned system with emergence of their candidates.
Both Tinubu and Osinbajo are competent as their ability, but Tinubu like his counterpart of PDP are gigantic gorillas that wouldn’t allow any candidate to wins over them. Tinubu was a Muslim from Lagos and Osinbajo was also a Lagos residing Christian, it’s wasn’t happened before, that Muslim Southerner or a Christian Northerner ruled this country. Every region were rigorously producing the candidate that would served the interest and mandate of his fellow regionees.
If Tinubu emerged as a flag-bearer he has no option than to pick the former speaker to the house of representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, due to the fact that he was the only influential Christian of the party from Northeast.
Sequel to this, both North and South wouldn’t produced the candidate that is not condign to their religious interest.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo
The Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was an influential Christian Southerner that was once seeing as ready to serve in the eyes of Nigerian, but the nonchalance of the present Buhari-led administration tarnished his flashy image with red.
If Osinbajo is achievable, he must pick his running-mate from Northeast. Then Osinbajo’s running-mate must be an influential Muslim-northerner that marks with integrity, accountability and competency. Aforementioned, qualities are what would wins the hearts of a fellow Northerners to revive their fallen hope that they puts in to the APC earlier.
It’s in the tradition of Northern politics since 2003 when president Muhammad Buhari step his foot in the arena of presidential race that, there is a constant twelve millions vote that were captives in his favour.
Therefore, whosoever, would be Osinbajo’s running-mate must have the passkeys to open or conquer the twelve millions vote bank.
Who will be Osinbajo’s running-mate?
Here in Northeast we have only two politically influential actors that are capable of running with Osinbajo and likely to conquer: The first was Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of Borno State.
Prof. Zulum was a legend of fortune, he becomes the governor of Borno when the state was in the sorrow of insurgency, his braveness, doggedness, and justice with fairness make him the messiah of Borno people then.
That fortunate promotion pave a Zulum’s way to be loved by many Nigerians.
The second influential Muslim northeasterner that could wins the hearts of northerners and retained or succeed the Buhari’s twelve millions vote is the minister of communication and digital economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, due his Islamic religious sacerdotalism the Sunnis’ sect fanatic would vote for him. Mainly, northern Muslims are practicing Sunni as sect. Therefore, Pastor/Sheikh ticket is also possible.
Ipso-facto we should says that; the upcoming 2023 would be a war of “religion and region”.
Ali Tijjani Hassan, writes from Potiskum, Yobe state.