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2023 ELECTION & THE RELIGION CARD

By: Tayo Faloye

Getting into this topic is like stepping into a field laden with land mines. It’s a volatile arena but has become inevitable. The more I sidestepped the more it surfaced. Hence, I will un-tape my sealed lips to drop my neutral view on it without minding whose ox is gored.

Peter Obi’s campaign playing the religion card did no damage to the Church in this instance. It was a reciprocal gesture. The church has always flown wobbly with a broken wing; a self inflicted wound from partisan politics. It didn’t start now. Many clerics churn out discordant prophecies on the backdrop of their political affiliations, and by extension stomach leanings. However, on their theatrics over this particular election, I was somewhat unperturbed.

A proverb says: “If you must blame the hawk for wickedness, first scold the mother hen for exposing her chicks to danger.”

Like I discussed with a brother here on FB a few days back, it’s a two way street. Turning a blind eye to BAT who flew a Muslim-Muslim ticket while castigating Obi who used the Christian platform to advance his own course too simply amounts to double standard. You can’t exonerate one and hang the other for same “offence” when BAT drew the first blo.od.

And, I must say the reason adduced for the decision, to me, was untenable. They both were in a political contest with a goal to win, respectively. Christians felt relegated and disrespected. Obi capitalized on that angst. Any smart politician would have done same. No candidate holds an exclusive franchise. Same faith ticket was as bad as using churches pulpits to advance a political interest.

As a multi-religion and diverse ethnic entity, we cannot shy away from the influence they wield in the scheme of things. The reason for being drafted into Nigeria’s leadership concept on power rotation, even if non-written. To flagrantly flout the concept is simply to infringe on the principles of fairness, equity and justice, which are the bedrock of democracy, and humanity.

It’s to address such imbalances that the Federal Character Commission was established to create a sense of inclusion across the board (tribe and religion). BAT put a wrong foot forward on the issue. He scuttled a gentleman’s agreement that would have seen power glide seamlessly to the Christian faith after Buhari as a Muslim with his ’emilokan’ diatribe. And, rather than calm frayed nerves, his choice to fly a same faith ticket was an insult taken too far. It stirred the hornets nest. Obi stumbled following in his stead by focusing on Christian strongholds solely. It limited his spread. What we needed was a unifying force, not divisive antics.

But the deed is done. How the president-elect manoeuvres around this booby trap he’s by himself laid will be telling in coming days.

– Tayo Faloye.

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