On March 13, 2023, the Director General and National Coordinator of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Support Organisation, Dr. Abubakar Abdullahi Kuso, issued a press statement in which he advised the newly-elected Nigeria President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to appoint Christians to the positions of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chief of Staff.
Dr. Kuso emphasized that the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections presented an opportunity to address the challenges of uniting the country. He expressed concern over the divisive campaigns sponsored by opposition parties, particularly around the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Sen. Kashim Shettima, now President-elect and Vice President-elect, respectively.
Dr. Kuso argued that the APC needed to demonstrate that the politics of uniting the country require unconventional approaches. He cautioned that the Muslim-Muslim Presidency also risks mobilizing strong opposition largely because it may have to alter the political equation in favour of a particular religion to the disadvantage of other religions.
The role of religion in political decisions cannot be ignored, particularly with the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as the presidential candidate and Sen. Shettima as his running mate. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) throughout the campaign used the choice of the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as a big campaign issue. They used it to mobilize Nigerians against the APC and all its candidates, especially Asiwaju Tinubu being the presidential candidate.
Now that the election is won by the APC and Asiwaju Tinubu, Dr. Kuso stressed the importance of demonstrating that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Asiwaju Tinubu and Sen. Shettima is simply an electoral strategy and indeed represents a progressive template for inclusion in Nigerian politics. He urged Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to avoid parochial politics or selfish ambition of potential office holders to drive the process of constituting the next cabinet. Instead, he recommended that the APC develop a proactive strategy of producing a religiously balanced government post May 29, 2023, under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu.
Dr. Kuso stated that Asiwaju Tinubu must not make the mistake of proceeding with the task of constituting a new government based on business-as-usual strategy, which will be inconsiderate. The opportunity of constituting a new all inclusive government must be used strategically to reconcile the Nation inform of Government of National Unity bringing onboard some very competent technocrats who are members or sympathizers of the opposition Labour Party, NNPP and PDP.
He urged Tinubu to appoint a Christian Chief of Staff from South and a Christian SGF from North. Sacrifices must be made by every leader of the party to create the condition for an Asiwaju Tinubu-led federal government to emerge with strong legitimacy and wider support base by Nigerians.
Dr. Kuso acknowledged that some leaders had already paid dearly for the Muslim-Muslim ticket, citing the case of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, who in his entire political career had never failed or lost any contests, but who lost the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections. The people rose against him for choosing to support and lead the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign.
He said conspiracy theory was also adopted by Some Christain Northern leaders within and outside the Plateau to ensure Tinubu lost in Plateau and also Lalong lost his Senatorial Elections, in what could be described as an uncommon Sacrifice, the Plateau Governor Rt. Hon Simon Lalong resolved to sacrifice his ambition and focused more on Tinubu winning the elections by taking a bold step mobilized Nigerians across the country, which today has delivered Tinubu/ Shettima.
Adding that there is a need to reflect religious considerations in the distribution of political offices for fairness and equity. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must consciously avoid any mistake that could be used by political adversaries to suggest religious insensitivity to Nigerians. He must take steps to manage the aspirations of individual leaders to positions in the next federal government. Some positions, for instance, must be deliberately balanced with religious considerations.
“Some specific recommendations may be necessary at this point. The offices of Chief of Staff to the President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) would have to be allocated and reserved for Christians. Given that the President and Vice President are both Muslims, no Muslim should aspire for any of these offices. Opportunists may argue that in the past, little consideration was given to religion.This kind of lop-sided reality must be corrected as a strategic approach to dousing religious tension in the country.
“With a Muslim President and a Muslim Vice President, it is only logical to appoint Christians as Chief of Staff (COS) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) respectively, in other to pacify christians and create inclusiveness.
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu needs to recognise that the Muslim-Muslim ticket he introduced that won the 2023 Presidential election, if not managed to produce the desired outcome of religious inclusivity could further widen the division among Nigerians, which should be avoided. A successfully well-managed Muslim-Muslim ticket would make a Christian-Christian ticket viable and possible in the nearest future.
“That is the only way to show Nigerians that the Islamisation agenda that has become a singsong for the opposition is only the hallucinatory proclamation of some individuals and groups,” he noted.
Dr. Abdullahi Abubakar kuso thanked Nigerians for voting APC and assured Nigerians that the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will deliver the gains of Democracy in all sectors of Nation Building.