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say Lalong appointment a slap on northern Christians
ask Buhari to clear role on Muslim-Muslim Ticket
Thousands of stakeholders and supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the six north-central states, including the federal capital territory, on Tuesday, staged a peaceful protest in Abuja over the appointment of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong as the Director General of APC Presidential Campaign Council.
The protesters held placards with inscriptions; ‘On North Central Christian vice presidential candidate we stand’, Lalong is on his own! ‘Dear Asiwaju, keep your DG. Give us a Christian VP.”
Describing the appointment of Lalong as campaign DG of the party as an insult to the north-central region, the stakeholders said they would only accept the position of the Vice president.
Speaking during the protest, the Leader of the group, Dauda Yakubu, said various indices at play so far within the party do not suggest that the Christians from Northern Nigeria are considered in the party’s scheme of affairs.
He recalled that the party had neglected advice from concerned stakeholders by nominating a Northern Muslim as the party’s vice presidential candidate.
According to him, stakeholders in the party especially northern Christians felt humiliated by the actions of the party’s leadership in recent times, which he said do not demonstrate ethnic and religious inclusion.
Yakubu said: “We feel the appointment of Governor Simon Bako Lalong as the Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council is an insult to our collective sensibilities as a devoted party faithful in North Central.
“Mr. President may wish to recall that in the annals of the party, the North Central zone has demonstrated an unalloyed commitment to the growth and development of the party. But what has the north central received in return?
“We came from near and far to witness first-hand the news making the rounds that you indeed sanctioned the Muslim-Muslim Ticket of our party. There have also been insinuations that the vice presidential ticket was not given to a Northern Christian because you Supported it.
“We know you to be an advocate of unity. ethnic and religious inclusion. But again, we are short of words with the news making the rounds: hence this open letter in a protest march to hear from you that you were indeed in support of a Muslim-Muslim Ticket.
“This is on the heels that as stakeholders of our party, we have consistently advocated for Governor Lalong as the party’s vice presidential candidate because he possesses all the necessary qualities. But to our dismay. he was appointed as the DG of the presidential campaign council.
“SO many questions are left unanswered in our minds regarding the position of the party in the interest of Northern Christians. We beg to ask the question of if a Northern Christian is good enough to lead the Presidential Campaign Council, why then is a Northern Christian not good enough to be nominated as the Vice Presidential
Candidate of our party?
“it is our considered position that the lines are not connecting for us as stakeholders of the party in the North Central zone of the country. And consequently, we demand explanations as to why our interests have been jettisoned using a yardstick that defeats common sense.”
Noting that something fundamental is wrong, Yakubu said the forum was convinced beyond doubt that President cannot sanction such a move by his antecedent as a unifier and an advocate of peace.
“Your fatherly disposition to all, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliations, has never been in doubt. You have been a great source of strength and support to all, and it is on record that you have treated all in the same manner since you assumed leadership of our great country.
“We know that you can’t be a part of religious exclusion under any circumstances; hence our presence here in Abuja through this peaceful protest to hear from you if you support the Muslim-Muslim Ticket of our party. At this stage, we cannot rely on rumours and hearsay because we know your pedigree as a father and mentor to all party members across the country. Mr President, it is our earnest desire that you, in your fatherly manner”, he stated.
He urged the party leadership to convoke an emergency meeting to reflect the wishes and interests of northern Christians in the composition of the presidential team of the party for the 2023 presidential elections.