APC and Christians without spirit of Christ

What came to mind as I read the front page story of The Punch last Sunday about the threat of prominent Christians in the All Progressives Congress, (APC) to quit the party over an alleged plan to field a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket was St. Paul’s admonition to the Romans “Anyone who does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him, but if Christ is in you, your spirit are alive because of righteousness”. (Romans 8: 8-11)

In the story, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former PDP stalwart and Obasanjo’s Man Friday, was quoted as saying the biggest mistake that the APC can make is to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2015 presidential election. Doing that, according to him, would lead to the loss of the election. For him, “Any party that present a Muslim/Muslim ticket ceases to be a political party and can be better described as a religious cult”.

I am sure Fani-Kayode, if he is not speaking as a PDP mole in APC, knows most Nigerians now know there is no disagreement between Muslims and Christians in the sharing and looting of our national patrimony and the attendant creation of an army of unthinking miracle seekers. Obasanjo-Atiku Christian/Muslim ticket marked an era when politicians irrespective of their religion fought each other over who stole more from the commonwealth. Yar’Adua’s Muslim/Christian ticket witnessed an era when politicians irrespective of religion justified massive stealing claiming they sold properties to contest election. The current Jonathan Christian/Muslim administration has been described by many observers as the most corrupt in our nation’s history.

Nigerians know it is Christian and Muslim politicians that have elevated religion to a divisive issue of Nigerian politics in the forth republic in order to exploit the vulnerable poor and ignorant among our people. I hope APC which has become a haven for all manners of disgruntled and sometimes discredited politicians will have the courage to remind Fani-Kayode that besides the indiscretion and hypocrisy of Muslim politicians in Zamfara and other parts of the north which gave rise to the current insurrection by Boko Haram, it is those Christians who are deficit in the spirit of Christ who have by their utterances, actions and misrule created an army of unthinking miracle seekers. Beyond their open demonstration of piety by legitimizing the exploitation of poor people by prosperity prophets through their regular presence in their unending crusades, they equally engage in waste of taxpayers’ money that could have gone in to other developmental purposes on pilgrimage to Mecca and Jerusalem.

I am not sure Nigerians are in a position to make a distinction between Nigeria’s greedy Christian and Muslim politicians. What Nigerians expect as Nasir El Rufai has said are leaders “with integrity, capacity and competence to create jobs, fight corruption and rebuild our nation without discrimination” and who would choose to worship their God privately”.

But denunciation of Christians without the spirit of Christ must not be misconstrued as an endorsement of Muhammadu Buhari, and Bola Tinubu, Muslim /Muslim ticket for the 2015 race. If you ask me, I will say both are too old to face today’s challenges. We must not forget that the average age of the major actors like Obafemi Awolowo, Bode Thomas, Anthony Enahoro, Rotimi Williams, SLA Akintola, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa etc during Nigeria golden age 1949-1959 was about 34. But I also think both leaders are a blessing to Nigeria. Since political parties world over often need major stakeholders, they can be the pillars behind the power, delegating without abdicating.

While APC party strategists may be right to see Buhari’s popularity in the North-west and North-east as great asset because most of his supporters are poor, underprivileged pauperized victims of the feudal system who are not democrats but miracle seekers, I think any candidate he adopts and openly campaigns for can secure for APC the benefits of his goodwill. But as for the South-west, APC does not need Tinubu on the ticket to sweep the area. Tinubu as a leader has already paid his dues. Yorubas know their true leaders. They are also discriminatory voters. Awo asserted as far back as 1952 that the Yoruba will not vote for you because you are Yoruba if you don’t have programmes that can impact positively on their lives.

And here lies the strength of Tinubu. Even his detractors acknowledge his great achievement in retrieving the South-west from Obasanjo and those the Yoruba call ‘akotiletas’ who sold the common patrimony bequeathed onto us by Awo and his fellow South-west patriots, replacing legacies of excellence and meritocracy with mediocrity with the likes of Fayose and Akala at the helm of affairs in the region. I am sure Tinubu will see his liberation of his Yoruba people from the tyranny of Nigeria as a noble endeavour. And this has its rewards. It was as a Yoruba leader, that he single-handedly restored honour to a Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was turned an orphan by Obasanjo and PDP. The vice presidency in Nigeria cannot be a major attraction.

In any case, he can look back with pride that at 62, he has groomed enough young Turks out of which anyone can be deployed to serve as vice president if one is needed from the zone. Otherwise, the only responsibility the Yoruba want of their leader is installing a good structure and electing credible people at the centre which would guarantee good governance as now obtains in the west. This is the only way to stop the influx of refugees from besieged North-east where PDP party chairman comes from, unskilled labour from North-central states of Benue and Plateau where the Senate President hails from and those who are trying to escape the anarchy unleashed on their land by militants and kidnappers in the South-south and South-east geo political zones where the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation hail from. The South-west can only remain haven of peace when peace reigns in other geo-political zones.

Price of liberty as they say is eternal vigilance. There are more reasons Tinubu is needed more in the South-west than in Abuja. It is no more news that President Jonathan has nothing but disdain for the Yoruba. During the fuel subsidy protest which later led to the discovery of the theft of about N1. 7 trillion, his aides accused Lagos and West who they claimed were the greatest beneficiaries of fuel subsidy of fuelling the crisis. It is on record the President tried to instigate the other Nigerian nationalities living in Lagos against their chief host during the 2011 elections. Obasanjo, his godfather recently accused him of sponsoring disgruntled PDP members to recruit people into the Labour Party to derail the giant strides made by governments of the South-west in the last three years.

Analysts of the President’s politics of subterfuge have even averred that his appointment of Musiliu Obanikoro as minister of state for defence whose first official assignment was illegal drafting of soldiers to stop construction of public housing projects in Lagos based on a claim that the land belongs to Federal government, and Jelil Adesiyan who was at a time linked with the murder of Bola Ige, an unrepentant Yoruba irredentist, as new minister for police affairs, are seen as part of his silent war against the Yoruba.

The president and his aides can play the ostrich, but the Yoruba who read meanings to mere greetings know that the imposition of Buruji Kashamu, a man described by Obasanjo as ‘drug baron’ who has cases to answer in the United States of America’ as chairman of the South West PDP Mobilisation and Organisation Committee; the manipulation of PDP primaries to guarantee the emergence Fayose as Ekiti governorship candidate in spite of his ongoing trial for murder and corruption; and Omisore as PDP candidate for Osun State in spite of his antecedents can only be evil machinations of those who hold them in contempt.

Tinubu as de facto leader of his people must not allow himself to be distracted just as the late Bola Ige did.

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