Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has said that the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) was not done to undermine the influence or relevance of Christians in the country.
Mr Yinka Oyebode, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, in a statement on Sunday in Ado-Ekiti, said Fayemi gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by the new executives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ekiti State Chapter led by its Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Aribasoye, on Friday.
Fayemi said the adoption of Muslim-Muslim ticket was simply a calculated political strategy by the party to win the Presidential election.
According to him, the choice of a Muslim running mate for the APC Presidential candidate was not because there were no competent Christian politicians from the North as being erroneously peddled in some quarters.
He said there are so many competent Christians in the North and all over Nigeria.
The governor noted that the responsibility of the church, where social justice is being preached, should include looking at the challenges being faced by Christians and seeking how good governance can address and improve upon them.
He urged Christian leaders to eschew what he called, “the theology of disengagement” and embrace politics by converting the current challenge to an opportunity to present a charter of demands to all political candidates based on irreducible minimum conditions acceptable to Christendom
Fayemi said, “Many Christians see politics as a dirty game, and for this reason are disengaged from the political process.
“It’s time for us to realise that there are compelling reasons for Christians to participate in politics. In my own opinion, whatever makes us good Christians makes us good citizens.
“You raised a matter that is agitating the minds of many Christians, particularly Christians who are not in politics.
“But I can tell you that Christians who are in politics are equally concerned about the matter you have raised about the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Not so much because of faith, but because of fair representation and representation in a multi ethnic, multi religious, multi-cultural setting is always going to be an issue of concern.”
According to him, he also had cause to discuss this with some political associates and fathers in the Lord.
“But where we are now, my plea with Christians is to do that which is expected of us.
“Yes, the agitation must continue and on my part as a Christian, I have been talking to both the Presidential candidate and other leaders of the party that we need to take quick steps that we should have taken earlier by approaching the leadership in Christendom and explain the context of the selection that was about to happen.
“Even if they don’t agree with our choice, they would have seen the sincerity of purpose and understood that the decision was not on ground of competence because we have competent Christians all over Nigeria but on grounds of strategic political moves, which is what we do in politics.
“We have to look at scenarios and calculate where the votes would come from, it is a game of numbers,” he said.
The governor noted that it was time for Christians to move away from the theology of disengagement, saying, that the notion that politics is dirty and not for a child of God should be discouraged.
“When serious Christians committed to the ideals of social justice and the common good turn away from politics, they open the door for unprincipled opportunists to take power. Fortunately, not all of us can or will be in elective office.
“Not all of us have to. What matters is for each of us to find our place in the move to build our nation and be faithful to the demands of that task.
“The Christian leadership should use this current challenge as an opportunity to present a charter of demands to all political candidates, especially our party (APC), outlining the irreducible minimum conditions acceptable to Christians in the next political dispensation.
“A charter of demands that would represent those values you preach to us in church highlighting our concerns, stressing the place of Christendom in the Nigeria project and then placing our demands before the political leaders.
“I want the church to organise debates around issues of concerns among all the candidates,” Fayemi added.
Earlier, the new Chairman of CAN in the state, Mr Aribasoye, had commended the governor’s generosity to CAN in Ekiti and his spirit of sportsmanship in stepping down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the APC Convention.
Aribasoye said the church was not in any way comfortable with the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party, describing it as a “cause for concern”.