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‘Why Northern Christians will not vote for Atiku in 2023,’ VON chief, Okechukwu



The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday explained why Northern Christians would not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the 2023 election.

The decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to pick the former Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, has continued to attract backlash among the Christian community in Nigeria.

The APC Christian Leaders in the North had on Friday described the party’s adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket as a recipe for disaster and urged Nigerians to reject the former Lagos State governor next year.

Okechukwu, who spoke with journalists at a forum in Abuja, said he understood the fears expressed by the Christian leaders and urged them to trust the APC candidate with their votes in 2023.

He assured that whatever marginalisation the Northern Christians suffered today, they would suffer no more if Tinubu becomes the country’s president next year.

The APC chieftain said: “But I know that in the fullness of time, contrary to the speculations of spin doctors, they would not vote for the former Vice President.”

“Our first slogan in APC is change. Our mantra is change. We will not remain static, never. We will change whatever is not working. All we ask Nigerians is to give us another eight years as you gave our sister political party, the PDP.

“Regarding the Northern Christians outrage over APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket; if any pundit thinks they will vote for Atiku, my answer is ‘Capital No’. No matter what, they know he is bringing nothing new to the table.

“Find out, Northern Christians do not trust Atiku. They know his cherry-picking antics as per rule of law and rotation convention. They also know his ambivalence on religion as demonstrated in the late Deborah’s imbroglio in Sokoto, which is still fresh in the mind of every Christian.

“Secondly, they know that Tinubu and by extension the Yorubas’ DNA is devoid of religious extremism and bigotry. Yorubas celebrate Eid and Xmas together.

READ ALSO: VON DG, Okechukwu, mocks Atiku’s candidacy, praises APC northern govs

“As a matter of fact, without being personal, one was a witness when my dear friend Babachir Lawal informed the world during his Thanksgiving Church Service at ECWA Wuse, that Tinubu and Pa Akande were instrumental to his appointment as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

“May one ask, is it possible that neither Tinubu nor Pa Akande didn’t know any Northern Muslim then to lobby for? Or has Tinubu changed 360 degrees?”

“Thirdly, they’re fully aware that Atiku has violently breached the rotation convention of president from north to south and painfully by extension of the PDP’s Constitution. For Atiku, the rotation convention is north-south geopolitically benched, only when he wins the presidency. If he fails as in 2019, the rotation convention goal post must be shifted.

“It is on record that Atiku enjoyed and celebrated the rotation convention when in 2018, Governor Nyeson Wike and other Southerners in obedience to the letters and spirit of Section 3(c) of PDP’s Constitution allowed only Northern presidential aspirants to contest in Port Harcourt.

“But in the 2022 PDP presidential primary election, he fought tooth and nail to jettison the rotation convention, arguing childishly that it is not applicable to PDP? Hence he breached Section 3(c) of PDP’s Constitution. Some of us Southerners are as hurt as Northern Christians over this willful breach.”

“Yes, faith balance is very important in building bonds of inclusion, so is rotation convention which bonds north and south, and cements inclusion and corporate existence. This is why I continue to salute APC’s Northern Governors, majority of whom unlike PDP’s Governors by this noble patriotism, restored equity, natural justice, and national loyalty in our clime.

“If PDP Governors had obeyed rotation convention from north to south, to be honest there wouldn’t be the imperative of APC’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket. They cannot benefit from their negligence. I stand to be contradicted.”

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