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Separate religion and politics, says El-Rufai

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By Abraham Adekunle

Nasir El-Rufai has asked the media to take religion out of politics.

As the 2023 elections draw near and political analysts are speculating that the All Progressive Congress (APC) may field a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has asked the media to separate religion from politics in Nigeria. El-Rufai argued that religion does not matter when competence and ability to pilot the affairs of the nation are involved. He said, “When I get into a plane, I don’t ask the religion of the pilot. When I go to the hospital, I don’t ask for the doctor’s religion.”

El-Rufai made this statement barely a week after the primary elections of the APC, which was held at Eagle’s Square, Abuja on June 7, 2022 and through the night. On June 8, 2022, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and one-time senator for Lagos West Senatorial District, emerged as the flagbearer candidate for the APC for the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu is a Muslim from the South, so the religion of his running mate will have a great effect on his popularity and the ease of wooing the electorate in the North as well as the South East.

Nigeria’s different religions makes people sensitive.

Nigeria is a country of about 200 million, but there are only three main religions recognized by the people: Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion. Of these three, only Christianity and Islam are mainstream. Nigerians are sensitive where politics is concerned. Few weeks ago, there was a lot of outrage on social media after the killing of Deborah Samuel at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by Islamic fundamentals who claimed that she had blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad. Also, there have been rumors and hearsays making rounds on social media and among the Christian populace of an Islamization agenda in Nigeria.

So, it is not surprising that Nigerians are sensitive when religion and usually tribal sentiments are whipped up by politicians and citizens. Because of the religious and tribal undertones of political standings, the North and the South have had to balance the equation since 1999 by electing a Muslim president and a Christian vice president or vice versa. Even after the death of President Musa Yar’adua, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had to nominate a Northern Muslim, Nnamadi Sambo as vice president.

Asiwaju Tinubu is making consultations on whom to choose.

After winning the presidential primaries of the APC, Tinubu is tasked with choosing a running mate. He and stakeholders of the party have intensified consultations on choice of running mate. Governor El-Rufai’s name has been mentioned as a potential running mate for the APC presidential flag bearer. There have been speculations that El-Rufai made a case for competence and delivery instead of religion because he is likely to be on the ballot. But he has denied this. He says, “The candidate will choose his running mate. He will evaluate many factors, and the best we can do is to give him space and time, and advise and guide him to make the right choice.”

Other names which have been listed as potential running mate for Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu are: Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu; Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Ganduje; Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and Malam Kashim Ibrahim-Imam. The two prominent factors which politicians, political analysts, and the electorate, expect Tinubu to consider are Religion and Tribe. To gain the votes of the Northern masses, Tinubu must be able to appeal to their sense of religion by not only picking a Northern running mate but also ensuring the running mate is of the right religion. If he picks a Northern Christian, there will be an outrage, the same thing in which El-Rufai is speaking against. There have been speculations that the North will not support a Northern Christian as his running mate.

“I don’t look at the issue from the perspective of religion.”

When he was asked how Nigerians would react to a Muslim-Muslim ticket, El-Rufai said he did not look at the issue from the perspective of Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian. “I don’t think the business of governance has to do with religion.” He said Nigerians should look for the best person for the job and who will get the job done. In Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai has a Muslim deputy governor. He said he picked a very qualified and competent woman as his running mate in the 2019 elections, but people have decided to look at it as a Muslim-Muslim ticket. He said that despite people’s pessimism, they won overwhelmingly.


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Oluwaseyi
Oluwaseyi
1 year ago

Yeah this is something people should stop doing! Religion has nothing to do with politics.

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
1 year ago

This religion issue is very common in Nigeria people should stop instead of looking at the religion we should be look if the person is good that will favour the country how capable is that person is, politics is not about religion we should differential the two from each other

jdpumping
jdpumping
1 year ago

Nasir El Rufai really said a good thing concerning the aspect of religion and politics,it is high time the masses seperate religion from politics because they are too different things entirely,the issue on ground is picking a capable person into governance

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
1 year ago

People should stop mingling politics with religion because it will only create further division amongst the citizens

theApr
theApr
1 year ago

Valid point! Separating religion from politics would help be logical and make objective decisions. Let religion rest.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
1 year ago

We should always loof for the beat candidate and vote for the person instead of voting because of religion

Bola12
Bola12
1 year ago

Some people select their favorite political aspirant based on religion which is sad because they might not be picking the right person for the job

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
1 year ago

Not only religion sef people also mingle tribe with politics, Some people have a strong bias towards candidates that come from the same tribe as them

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
1 year ago

Lol in this country, if the president is not Christian and vice Muslim or vice versa, they won’t be voted for. Funny people

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
1 year ago

Why does Asiwaju have to consider religion before selecting a running mate for goodness sake. Na wa for the citizens of this country

Remi1
Remi1
1 year ago

El rufai is speaking facts here; we have to select candidates that deserve it based on merit and not based on tribe or religion

Yomii
Yomii
1 year ago

We need to put aside our religious and tribal differences when selecting our leader because, at the end of the day, we’re all after the progress of our nation

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
1 year ago

I don’t know if this rule I law in the constitution or something because they are always practising it; there should be a change to this time

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

I like the fact that el rufai didn’t mind what people had to say about his choice of running mate. This shows that selecting muslim-christian doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win. I hope Tinubu takes note

Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
1 year ago

My people in the north only vote for northerners and Muslims; they also only vote for the person that gives them small money and food; we need profound enlightenment over here

Abusi
Abusi
1 year ago

Honestly, when it comes to politics, we need to look out for capability, competence and dedication. So we need politicians who are ready to do the work. Nonetheless, religion and ethnicity play a major role in who gets what, how and when.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
1 year ago

Yes, religion does not matter when competence and ability to pilot the affairs of the nation are involved. But more education is needed in the north. The Truth is that the north will only vote for their brother weather good or bad, their own is that the person should be from the north without considering if the person is good

Abdulwasiu Usman
Member
1 year ago

Nigerians should leave religion out of public matters. Religion barrier is also said to be part of the reason behind all the bomb blast and killings happening in the south. Who ever is suitable and will be able to perform the well should be chosen

Abdulwasiu Usman
Member
1 year ago

..

Last edited 1 year ago by Abdulwasiu Usman
SarahDiv
SarahDiv
1 year ago

The problem of religion in our country is something that should be taking seriously. Already the northern Muslim are killing the Christians. If we now allow Muslim-Muslim tickets what do you think will happen? They will completely wipeout all Christian from Nigeria.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
1 year ago

I concur to religion should be separated from politics….. competence, ability and dedication are key factors that should determine who should up there not being sentimental about everything concerning politics and it is not surprise that Nigerians are sensitive when religion are whipped up by politicians and citizens. So disgusting!

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
1 year ago

This is a process of selecting who will lead us in this country and not an evangelist or Imam post. Discrimination should be left out of the decision making for the so called position. The only thing we should do is to pray to God to choose a good and competent leader for us that will lead us out of all this mess we are in.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

Truly, religion shouldn’t be a yardstick to pick the next president of Nigeria.Judging by history, Using the Muslim-Muslim tickets for presidency has never been productive. With the happenings in the northern part of Nigeria, Deborah case is perfect example.
I am not in support of muslim-muslim ticket for the presidency.

Okunloye Abiodun
Member
1 year ago

Unfortunately in Nigeria, we don’t practice what we say.

I agreed with the fact that religion and politics should be separated, then we should focus more on competency. However, is that actually the truth.

Why do north keeps struggling for power, and why considering that option in choosing a running mate, I guess there are many questions to ask.

Let’s just get it straight

Tjbae
Tjbae
1 year ago

The problem of religion in this country is something that should be taking seriously religion should be separate from politics.religion isnot for killing

Khalifa001
Khalifa001
1 year ago

Yeah you know religion and politics should be different if I most say it a two different world and it can’t be together as long has you governing a country with different religions

Fisayomi
Fisayomi
1 year ago

How can u remove religion from politics