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Even though 2023 is still a long time away, it is possible that the majority of Nigerians will remember that year as one of the most memorable years of their lives because of the events, controversy, and conspiracies that the general elections will host this time. With their dramatic primary elections, the four major parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), have already had their fair share of confusion and controversies, and come 2023, they will be competing against each other in what is expected to be one of the most eventful presidential elections the country has ever seen.
Despite these debates, one thing is certain about the presidential election in 2023: unless a third option is found, Nigeria will be faced with two dreadful options. These options include appointing another president from Nigeria’s northern region to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. This is because, among the four key contenders, only one (Labour Party’s Peter Obi) is a Christian, while the other three are fundamental Muslims. The alternative provided to Nigerians is a Muslim-Muslim president, which is a disputed option proposed by the APC. In this scenario, both the president and his running mate practice Islam. In other words, Nigeria would have either President Rabiu Kwanwaso from the Northern region, President Atiku Abubakar from the Northern region, or President Bola Tinubu, a Muslim, with Vice President Kashim Shettima, also a Muslim, and all of these outcomes would play a terrible role in severely destroying Nigeria’s unity and stability, which is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.
Worse, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) opted to run a Muslim-Muslim ticket on the shoulders of a ruthless, controversial, drug-running, crime syndicated, political Godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. However, his choice of Kassim Shettima, the former Governor of Borno State, as his running mate for the elections was a flagrant insult to Nigerians in general. To put it another way, Kassim Shettima embodies all that is wrong with ethnic prejudice and religious fundamentalism. His words, his demeanor, and even his body language have all given the sense that he doesn’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t emotional about his faith or tribe. This conclusion is based on his actions.
He also has a Machiavellian characteristic, with his ever-bribing hands full of crooked money, which he used to gain a ‘preferred-candidate’ position among Tinubu’s lapdogs and earn a spot by Tinubu’s side. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that Kassim Shettima, like his Principal, is a man with overly ambitious priorities.
The selection of Kassim Shettima as a Vice Presidential candidate can be compared to a popular proverb that says, ‘Those whom the Gods want to destroy, they first make mad.’ In simpler terms, the Gods have openly declared destruction on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu, and in order to do so, they have chosen their tool of madness, which comes in the form of the instrumentality of most Northern Muslim Governors and Alhaji Kashim Shettima is a ticking time bomb for the APC and even Tinubu, who appears to be a mystic.
This was a man who declared how nepotistic he is by mocking the Vice President of Nigeria’s presidential ambitions on the basis of his religion while asking him to go ahead and sell ice cream and popcorn’ because he is nice, which goes a long way to say that Shettima’s idea of leadership should be dictatorial, iron-fisted rule like that which President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure subjected Nigerians to. in other words
This was also the same man who had plainly ruled with religious sympathies throughout his two terms as Governor of Borno State. During that period, he controversially turned a blind eye as the Boko Haram terrorist sect ravaged and tore his state to bits from 2011 to 2015 due to his animosity for then-President Goodluck Jonathan and his religion. Furthermore, this was the same man who had plainly controlled with a strong religious bent. He had single-handedly resisted all federal government efforts to intervene in the search for the Chibok schoolgirls, who had been kidnapped when he was in charge of the country’s security.
It is stated in Section 10 of the 1999 (as amended) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that “The Government of the Federation or of the State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.” Because Nigeria can be considered as having a fairly secular nature, this clause fits that description. This is one of the reasons why the enormous influence of fundamental religion on politics in Nigeria has been one of the things that would continue to imperil her corporate existence, and politicians like Kassim Shettima are campaigning for these religious ideas. This deficiency has backfired and is the mother of the nepotistic democracy that Nigerians now face. Most Nigerian politicians and elites have squandered all prospects of establishing good democratic procedures and bridging the gap between political and religious principles. This deficit has backfired and has become the mother of our nepotistic democracy.
A destroyed country like Nigeria needs some reprieve at this vital juncture in her life, which can come in the form of some constructive leadership free of religious or ethnic sentiments. However, this will never emerge or be realized as long as Nigerians in general continue to support people like Kassim Shettima and his ethno-religious-based politics with no regard to meritocracy and unbiased leadership, which should always come first.