The Deputy Speaker The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, last week, declared his support for the Muslim-Mulsim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
We tracked two other stories that made the rounds at the National Assembly (NASS), in the week in review.
1. Wase on Muslim-Muslim ticket
On July 21, Hon. Wase urged Nigerians to downplay the religious controversies surrounding the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the APC.
He stated this while playing host to a support group, Asiwaju’s Pact with Citizens Campaign Organisation at his office in Abuja.
“We have had a Christian-Christian Senate President and Deputy Senate President for eight good years in the National Assembly. So, some of these emotions and sentiments being expressed are done by those who want to gain cheap access to power and other things, and confuse the society,” he said among others.
As an influential APC member, who also occupies an exalted position in the legislature, Wase has no choice but support the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, even against the groundswell of opposition to the ticket.
The Deputy Speaker, however, must admit that the Nigerian political class has been most guilty of stoking the embers of religion and ethnicity. And, he certainly cannot conveniently distance himself and his ilk from the fault lines threatening to consume the country.
Needless to add that Wase and his party have a herculean task of convincing Nigerians, especially Christians, to vote for them during the election next year. Beyond this lies the tough task of also assuring Christians that their interest would be protected if the ruling party returns to office.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“My conscience will not allow me to campaign for Tinubu. I am a member of CAN; I cannot deny CAN. I remain in APC, but I will take the survival of my country first over political considerations. We cannot work for such a man. I will oppose Christian-Christian ticket because I am interested in the stability of this country. A Christian-Christian ticket will be insensitive to Muslims of this country.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Abaribe on Nigeria’s fault lines
The former minority leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, on July 22, asserted that ethnicity or religion will not be the determining factors for general elections in 2023.
Speaking at a Rotary event in Abuja, said among others that, “The last election in Osun has shown that candidates matter and not parties; performance and antecedents; not ethnicity or religion will be the determining factors of the 2023 elections.”
Abaribe’s arguments cannot be wished away but suffers claims to absolutism. This is, indeed, so because ethnicity and religion remain defining issues in Nigerian politics which is why the country’s ruling party has made it a winning strategy.
On the strength of this reality, it may not be totally out of place to argue that Adeleke’s victory in the Osun gubernatorial election could be an isolated case.
Abaribe’s arguments may, therefore, only suffice if voter education is taken more seriously so that the electorate realize the place of character, competence and capacity in the choice of leaders.
3. Making JAMB result valid for 2 years
On July 21, Hon. Tolulope Sadipe’s sponsored bill seeking to make Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) results valid for two years passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
“When you look at the number of students that apply for university admissions every year and the number that eventually get in, it is definitely not their fault, so, why should they be penalised? Everywhere in the world, there is no such exam that is valid for one year; Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is valid forever,” Sadipe said while presenting the bill at the plenary.
Sadipe’s argument amplifies the opinion some Nigerians have canvassed over the years. And, if the bill passes through all the processes to become a law, it would certainly be a win to most students who got high scores, but could not secure admission in any tertiary institution.
It would be interesting to see what lawmakers make of this unique bill in the works.
Answer: Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo
Abbo made the statement, on July 11, 2022, while explaining why he withdrew from Tinubu’s campaign team hours after he (Tinubu) picked a fellow Muslim, Shettima, as his running mate. The Senator represents Adamawa North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
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