2023: ECWA President kicks against same religion ticket

Rev. Stephen Baba-Panya

Rev. Stephen Baba-Panya, President, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA)

By Polycarp Auta

Rev. Stephen Baba-Panya, President, Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), has advised all political parties not to run the same religion ticket in the run-up to the 2023 General Elections.

Baba-Panya, who gave the advice in a statement on Wednesday in Jos, said, running Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket would threaten the unity of the country.

The cleric, who congratulated the presidential aspirants of various political parties for emerging, also commended the political parties for conducting peaceful, free and fair primary elections.

He, however, insisted that only the choice of an acceptable running mate by the presidential aspirants would guarantee free, fair and credible general polls.

“Given the pluralistic configuration of Nigeria, we have seen deliberate efforts since independence to preserve the peace and unity of the country, by ensuring that the presidency is balanced in terms of religion and region.

“In the first republic for instance, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Muslim/North) was the Prime Minister while Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Christian/South), was the president under the parliamentary system.

“Under the presidential system, we had Shehu Shagari (Muslim/North) and Alex Ekwueme (Christian/South); Olusegun Obasanjo (South/Christian) and Atiku Abubakar (North/Muslim); Umaru Musa Yaradua (North/Muslim) and Goodluck Jonathan (South/Christian).

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“Goodluck Jonathan (South/Christian) and Namadi Sambo (North/Muslim); and currently Muhammadu Buhari (Muslim/North and Yemi Osinbajo (Christian/South).

“It is against this backdrop, that we are calling on all the political parties to maintain this balance for the 2023 General Elections, and to caution those who are brazenly advocating for a Muslim/Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket to reconsider their unrealistic stance.

“Our position on this matter is that we do not, and will not support a Christian/Christian ticket or a Muslim/Muslim ticket, as this is capable of plunging the nation into deep and irredeemable crisis,” Baba-Panya said.

The cleric said that having candidates of same religion running for the presidency spelt doom for the country, adding that it would also negate the principle of justice, fairness and equity.

He insisted that such a move was against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended, and principle of national interest.

“It is pertinent to restate unequivocally that the corporate existence of Nigeria is founded on the principles of justice, fairness and equity.

“Section 23 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, has identified, among others, religious tolerance and social justice as our national values which must guide our conduct and relationships.

“Our national interest is greater than any individual or group interest; we must therefore do away with primordial sentiments that seek to divide and destroy us, and embrace the ideals of peace, love, unity and progress,” Baba-Panya advised.

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