Muslim-Muslim Presidential Ticket “endorsement of negative voices”: Bishops in Nigeria

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Credit: CBCN

The challenges Nigeria is witnessing today cannot be resolved by having a Presidential ticket in which the President and his running mate are both Muslims, Catholic Bishops in the West African country have said.

In a Tuesday, June 14 statement shared with ACI Africa, the members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) say Muslim-Muslim 2023 presidential ticket would be “a tacit endorsement of the negative voices” in the West African nation.

“With the present glaring crisis and division in the nation, a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be most insensitive and a tacit endorsement of the negative voices of many non-state actors who have been threatening this nation’s unity and peaceful coexistence without an arrest,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.

They add in reference to a Nigerian State where the Governor and his deputy are both Muslims, “Going by the Kaduna experience, we can perceive the havoc the Muslim-Muslim ticket has brought upon the predominantly Christian people of Southern Kaduna.”

The members of CBCN urge stakeholders in political parties to consider “presenting a more inclusive ticket” rather than “toying with divisive agenda” that favors only a section of the people.


They say that for peace to exist, there is need to understand that all Nigerians are equal irrespective of creed or religion, and add that the aspect of equality calls for “sensitivity in the spread of political positions without compromising competence.”

“Ordinarily, there would have been nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in a democratic dispensation if there is mutual trust and respect for the human person and where the overriding desire for seeking political office is the fostering of the common good,” Catholic Bishops in Africa’s most populous nation say.

Making reference to some events in the past, the Catholic Church leaders explain how unity was fostered through balancing of religion and regions. They say that despotic military eras in the country in the past, including most Juntas, “ensured a balance of the religious architecture in their regimes” as a way of ensuring unity.

They give the examples of Murtala-Obasanjo, Obasanjo-Yar’adua, Babangida-Ebitu Ukiwe and Abacha-Diya presidential tickets in the past, saying that there is need for such to be embraced in the country at the moment.

CBCN members say that past presidential tickets also “applied to the heads of the various military formations and the different government parastatals like Customs, Immigrations, and Finance with an aim of fostering unity.”

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“Significantly, it was only during the General Muhammadu Buhari era as military Head of State (Dec 31, 1983 – Aug. 27, 1985) that we had a Muslim-Muslim military dictatorship,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria recall in their June 14 statement shared with ACI Africa.

They also recall the 1993 elections, saying that that was the only time the elections were free and fair, even though the presidential candidate and his running mate were both Muslims.

“Only once did we have a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 1993 democratic elections, which featured Abiola-Kingibe ticket and turned out to be one of Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections,” the Bishops say in their statement signed by CBCN Secretary General, Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi, and the Director of Social Communications, Fr. Michael Nsikak Umoh.

The Catholic Bishops’ statement echoes that of the representatives of Christian leaders under the auspices of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who, in June 10 Facebook post, said they reject a “Christian/Christian, Muslim/Muslim ticket” for Presidency.

CAN officials argued that nominating presidential candidates and their respective running mates from the same religious denomination in the 2023 general elections is “a threat to the fragile peace and unity of Nigeria”.


“CAN urges that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered in the choice of running mates of the presidential candidates. We do not subscribe to Christian/Christian ticket or Muslim/Muslim ticket,” they said in their statement signed by CAN National Secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola.

“Politicians can talk politics but we have stated our view long before now. Any party that tries the same religion ticket will fail,” the church leaders who include CBCN representatives said, adding that a Muslim/Muslim ticket would have a negative impact on Christians in Nigeria.

In the June 14 statement, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria express their regrets over the conduct of a section of politicians in the country, which they say seems “to be going from bad to worse”.

“It is however disheartening to observe that the conduct of most of our politicians seem to be going from bad to worse as we witnessed a show of shame and heightened ugly culture of money politics during the recently held primaries,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say.

They acknowledge with appreciation the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in preparing for the 2023 general elections.

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The Catholic Bishops say, “The process for the 2023 General election in Nigeria has been initiated and there are some things to be happy about: the passing of the Electoral Act 2022 which allows the use of electronic devices for accreditation and in the capturing and transmission of results.”

They also lauded INEC for “the prompt release of election” and the “renewed confidence in the electoral process by the electorate, as demonstrated in the massive last minute turn out for voter registration amongst others.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.