The ambition of a former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, was on Tuesday put under threat by Muslims in the South West who insisted on the emergence of a Muslim of Yoruba extraction.
The South West Muslims, under the aegis of Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria, raised the objection during a press conference in Abuja.
The acting President General of CYMSN, Sheikh Abdulrasheed Mayaleke, said the Yoruba Muslims have overtime been relegated to the background when it comes to the issues of the presidency.
He, however, warned of serious consequences should the political parties present any presidential or vice-presidential candidate short of a Yoruba Muslim.
Mayaleke said, “The Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria has noted with deep concern the unfolding scenarios with respect to the election of candidates by political parties ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
“The assumption and attempt to permanently disenfranchise Southern Muslims the opportunity to aspire for the highest position of President or Vice President of the country is undemocratic, injurious and will be resisted with all legal means available.
“It is no longer news that the opposition party, the PDP, has chosen a Northerner as its presidential flag-bearer even against the expectation that the candidate would come from the South, based on power rotation that the convention adopted.
“It is against this backdrop that we urge the ruling All Progressives Congress to choose a Southerner, and this time around, a Muslim, as its presidential candidate; more so that there is an underlying agreement at the inception of the party’s formation in 2014 to that effect.”
The CYMSN acting President-General said Muslims in the South-West have long been relegated to the background over the years when it comes to Presidency; adding that this time around, it would no longer be business as usual.
When contacted, Atiju’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, described the issues raised by Yoruba Muslim scholars as unfortunate.
He said, “It is unfortunate that a religious group will veer off tandem into the political arena. However, the future that Atiku Abubakar envisages for Nigeria is one country of one people with one future in which every tribe, tongue and faith will stand united. Above all, it is incumbent on religious and community leaders to preach peace rather than division.
“Suffice it to say that Atiku Abubakar’s fate in the 2023 presidential election will be determined by Nigerian voters who are well informed about the broken state of our political and socio-economic life.”
The Special Assistant (Media) to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Adebayo Oladeji, when contacted, said, “We don’t respond to stories about associations we don’t know.”