Irony of the Bishops of Tinubu / Shettima

The drama and intrigue of 2023 began long before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the election schedule. The wave of politicians jumping from one political party to another in the hope of improving their electoral fortunes was not new. In fact, it is planned.
The Nigerian political drama series has a fixed schedule, and every four years a new season is released with endless twists like Indian soap operas on Zee World; but instead of improving, things are falling apart and the center is currently unable to hold.
The 2023 season of the Nigerian political drama served us a unique episode last week; the setting was the Shehu Musa Ya’ Adua Events Center in Abuja. And the highlight was the unveiling of the APC vice-presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima of Borno State. However, it was a low-budget episode that was poorly written; and the cast included people from a nearby car park. To make matters worse, the director and costume designers did a terrible job. and as a result, the reputation of the main producer, Bola Armed Tinubu’s has been marinating in the mud since Wednesday last week.
The APC attempted to plagiarize a line from the 1964 American musical fantasy film; Mary Poppins, directed by Robert Stevenson. The movie had a song describing how a spoon full of sugar helps a bitter medicine go down. Tinubu and his APC knew that the idea of ​​a Muslim-Muslim ticket, or Alhaji and Alhaji as some people called it, is a bitter pill for Christians across the country to swallow. Therefore, to create a sense of acceptance by the country’s Christian community, Tinubu, Shettima and APC have hired future bishops, according to the media communications director of Tinubu’s campaign organization, Mr. Bayo Onanuga.
The bishops of Shettima, as they are known in some circles, were dressed in a hodgepodge of Orthodox vestments, particularly of the Roman Catholic Church. But Mr. Onanuga either lied or spoke out of ignorance when he used the term future bishops because there are no future bishops in the Roman Catholic Church. Aside from the pope, cardinals, and archbishops, the position of a bishop is the pinnacle of a clergyman’s career. It could take up to twenty years to become a bishop in any Orthodox church.
Nigerians know the different shades and categories of churches and pastors, so they are not surprised. But APC’s deception and shame are already out in the open. Their Bishop Recruitment Committee, due to rampant corruption, was unable to pay some of the Bishops the agreed amount when they met them at their Cathedral Motor Park. According to one of the bishops, Joseph Odauda, ​​who spoke to the People’s Gazette, the APC promised to pay each of them N100,000, but some of them received N40. N30,000 while others received a paltry sum of N30,0000 for their looks.
Why was it necessary to deceive Nigerians? All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, chose political expediency over national unity; and his choice of a Muslim from the North testifies to the value, relevance and capacity of the Christian members of the APC in this region. This creates an unhealthy perception of rights for some and subjugation for others.
Political elites and some religious bigwigs in the North are still trying to sell Nigerians on the idea that the Northern electorate is a monolith, controlled by the levers of religion and tribe. This idea is mischievous and very unfortunate because in some northern states of Nigeria there might be more Christians than Muslims. And in some other states, the Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups might actually be in the minority. In fact, the use of the Hausa language as a lingua franca contradicts the true nature of the demography of northern Nigeria. That’s the question for another time.
The APC by its action is telling the Nigerian voter, especially the Christians, that they have no interest, or telling who is running this country; and that their sensitivities don’t matter. Already, the average politically aware Christian must have come to the unfortunate conclusion that an APC victory in 2023 would cement twenty-four years of Muslim rule. It would be unprecedented, and it could change this country forever. Even now, after only seven years of President Buhari’s administration, it is very difficult to recognize this country.
The APC could have chosen to present a presidential candidate from the South to deceive Nigerians into believing that they are the party of fairness. But Nigerians are not fooled. Their vault face was evident to all as they delayed and severely postponed their presidential primaries due to the uncertain outcome of the primary opposition PDP primaries. Their duplicity was then as clear as glass.
From Tinubu’s performance as Governor of Lagos State, Nigerians know that he will be many times better than President Buhari. But they are also aware that Buhari’s mismanagement and mismanagement of the economy over the past seven years has drastically reduced the electoral fortunes of Tinubu and APC. Another note of warning for Nigerians is that the APC presidential candidate is no longer the man he used to be, age has taken its toll on him. Although no one knows exactly how old he is.
In APC’s 2023 presidential calculus, a Muslim-Muslim ticket seems the only variable capable of remedying the albatross of their eight years of bad governance, and mismanagement of our economy and our diversity. Nigeria is indeed a secular state; however, every aspect of our national life, including politics, has a religious component. For example, apart from Independence Day and Labor Day, all other national holidays are religious holidays of the two main religions of Nigeria, namely Christianity and Islam.
Beyond public holidays, some Muslim groups led by MURIC are agitating for Muslim students not to be forced to take national exams on Fridays, because of Jumat prayers. In addition, each federal building, including all offices of the Central Bank of the federation, has a mosque. Even though we are a very religious people, there was a time when the religion of the person in power never mattered.
It was the golden age of national unity, when a presidential candidate from the South, a Muslim, could choose a running mate from the North, also another Muslim, and still win an election. It was in 1993, when MKO Abiola won the presidential election on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, with a landslide, along with Baba Gana Kingibe, a Muslim from the North.
Nigeria is in the valley of dry bones, with only a glimmer of hope. Currently, the country is bleeding and on life support, unable to breathe due to the nepotism, tribalism and unbridled religious sentiment of the current administration. But the ruling party cheers and applauds as the average Nigerian struggles to feed his family on just one meal a day.
The pantomime that Nigerians saw last Wednesday was enough to show that another eight years of lies and deceit are loading. But Nigerians are wiser now and the votes are starting to count, as evidenced by the off-season elections in Ekiti and Osun recently. Hopefully, in 2023, a consensus candidate representing all the dreams of the ordinary Nigerian will prevail.

By: Raphael Pepple

Comments are closed.