Hundreds of protesters stormed the Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday morning, expressing their dissatisfaction with the party’s position on the controversial Muslim-Muslim ticket
Protests took place almost coincidentally with APC leadership’s unveiling of Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua in Abuja.
The demonstration was led by several party members under the auspices of the APC Hausa-Fulani Youth Forum.
Protesters arrived at the Secretariat in six luxury buses and several cars, holding various banners and singing songs of solidarity.
Some of the banners read ‘A cry for justice’, ‘Drop Shettima and give the slot to our Christian brothers’, ‘Discrimination and mutual suspicion in our country’ among others.
Convener of Forum, Abdullahi Bilal Mohamadu said the protests will not stop until the party does the right thing.
As to why protesters took to the streets on the day the party announced its vice-presidential nominee, Mohamadu said it was a deliberate move to express their displeasure and to get the attention of the appropriate authorities.
In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Mohamadu stated that they saw the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected immediately by the leadership of the party.
The letter read, “We write to your good office in light of the prevailing circumstances arising from the decision of our Presidential candidate to select a Northern Muslim as his vice presidential candidate.
“While it must be stated that there is a right to make decisions, however, such decisions must not be made to the collective detriment of the sensibilities of the people that make up the country of Nigeria, especially at a time of mutual suspicion amongst the Christians and Muslims in the northern part of the country.
“As concerned stakeholders of the APC and those who constitute the voting strength of our party, we find it worrisome that such a decision could be taken without recourse to its implication on the electoral chances of the party and the attendant uproar such a decision could bring about in the country.
“In our opinion, this is insensitive and a gross display of a lack of respect for our Christian brothers and sisters especially the Middle Belt minority who have given all their best to us as one northern Nigeria. Picking another Muslim from the northeastern part of the country as his running mate is politically and morally indefensible.
“In Northern Nigeria, there are credible candidates with rich credentials and with massive grassroots following that can complement the presidential ticket of the APC in the presidential elections. As such, the Hausa – Fulani Youths Forum sees the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected with immediate effect by the relevant authorities within the party.
“The implication of non-action in this regard can only be imagined, so much so that the majority of the eligible voters in Northern Nigeria have elected to boycott the APC in protest of the disrespect and disregard to our Northern Christian brothers, whose population and relevance in the scheme of things in the region cannot be overemphasized.
“If our party is desirous of recording electoral success in the 2023 presidential elections, it must retrace its steps by selecting a Christian from the Middle Belt as its vice presidential candidate. The party must not be perceived as promoting a religious agenda by fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“We consequently say no to a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to kindly intervene to save the party from an electoral crisis. We urge Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to emulate the example of President Muhammadu Buhari in the choice of his running mate in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.
“Our Christian brothers and sisters deserve a place in the scheme of things, and our party must not be seen as a religiously insensitive party. The time to act is now.”
Joshua is a multidisciplinary creative and tech enthusiast who seeks to create meaningful experiences that make for a better and more equal world. He is a creative entrepreneur and human rights activist whose work navigates socio-cultural discourse and how it can be used as a vehicle for change.