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Arewa Christians, Pastors Reject Buhari, Endorse Atiku

Says Nigeria on the brink of precipice under Buhari

The group, Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA), has collectively rejected the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress [APC], saying that Nigeria is on the brink of precipice under the incumbent president.

The group made their position known in a press statement on the state of the nation and the national elections, held on Sunday, 10th February, 2019, at the Catholic Pastoral Centre Conference Hall, Jos.

The statement was signed by ACIPA President, Rev. Luke Shehu and copied to the United Nations Secretary General, United States President , The United States Congress, The British Prime Minister, The British Parliament, The European Union Parliament, Secretary General African Union,  The Common Wealth General Secretary, All Church and Denominational Heads,  All Heads of Traditional Institutions and Monarchs,  All Service and Security Chiefs, as well as  Media Organizations.

The Arewa (Northern) Christians, after consultations with major stakeholders, both Christians and Muslims “resolved not to be like some religious leaders who sit on the fence or choose to be bats at night and be human in the day time”.

They, “without prejudice or sentiments, tribal, religious or otherwise have decided to prayerfully, willingly and without inducement whatsoever” endorsed the Presidential ambition of H.E Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr. Peter Obi.

ACIPA also called on the international committee to help sustain the country’s nascent democracy as against the suspected impunity and rigging.

Read the statement in full below:

Today’s press statement which was just preceded by a prayer conference attests to our concern over the state of the Nation especially in view of the elections commencing with the presidential election on 16th February, 2019.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, Northern and Nigerian compatriots, it is evident that Nigeria is on the brink of a precipice as a successful democratic nation or a failed state.

Therefore, while the world leaders and election observers both international and local shall be keenly observing the role of the presidency, security organizations and the electoral umpire, there are reasons for concerns and fear as a result of the role of the body language, utterance and actions of actors in the ruling party.

For instance, the dolling out of cash by no other person than the Vice President of Nigeria, a Professor of Law in the name of money market. Does the act of APC amount to inducement or not? Is the money market appropriated in the budget?

Again, the denial of the PDP to hold her Presidential campaign yesterday on Saturday 9th February, 2019 at the old parade ground is unfortunate. As usual the police will cite security reason while carrying out the bid of the APC.

Suffice to say that we have earlier highlighted our concern over the lopsided appointments, the inability as a well as lack of will by the President and APC government to change the security heads of about 18 sensitive organizations predominantly from the presidents’ Northern region and of same religion, Islam rises much  questions begging for answers.

It is obvious the President is not in charge. His name as Mr. ‘Integrity’ is being peddled in an unprecedented cultic-like personality while Islamist political jobbers, and a few cabal have sway. Sadly, unemployment, poverty and insecurity are on the increase.

Amongst observations that lends credence to our concerns and fear over desperation to win the 16th February election, amidst worries of Islamization agenda in line with the conditions of an Islamic or caliphate state status, are the following:

  • The insistence on President Muhammadu Buhari to maintain top security chiefs and adviser who are all Muslims but for the Chief of Defence Staff, who is the only Christian.
  • The replacement of the Inspector General of Police with another Muslim, thus resulting in the premature retirement of Christian Police officers who in order of succession should be selected as the Inspector General of Police.
  • The utterances and actions of Governor Nasir El-Rufai the negatively controversial governor of Kaduna who have not hidden his preference for Islam and Muslim above Nigeria and Nigerians. Nasir El-Rufai chose to be blind Nigeriens led by two governors and their entourage invading our political space at the A.P.C Presidential rally in Kano but was quick to make pronouncements targeted against legitimate and accredited international election observers visiting Nigeria.
  • The half-hearted Buhari war on corruption targeting either political opponents or Christians only, even where there are glaring evidence for prosecution of Muslims.
  • The non-arrests or conviction of the Presidents’ Fulani militia kinsmen wreaking havoc across Nigeria, now rebranded ‘bandits’ rather than the ‘militia’ that they are.
  • The targeted displacement or persecution of opponents. An example is the trial of the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye and the unprecedented suspension of the chief Justice Walter Onnoghen a Southern Christian without due process and who was suddenly replaced by a Sharia trained judge without due process.
  • The infiltration of Nigerian political scene by Nigeriens at the Presidents’ APC rally in Kano where two Nigerien governors and large entourage were in support of Buhari at the Kano A.P.C rally further raises questions on the role of infiltrators in our politics and threats to national security.
  • Al-Taqqiya, or deception, in Islam for a justifiable course carried out in Nigeria – The President told us that he appoints people he trusts, hence all those he trust with key security positions are his kinsmen and from same religion. Yet the same President who cannot trust Christians with Key positions wants our votes across the North and South of Nigeria!
  • The palpable intolerance or distrust of the President on his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo a Christian – After the former Nigerian Intelligence Agency Director General saga, the Vice President appointed Ambassador Dauda, a Christian as the acting Director General of the N,I.A, but on the Presidents’ return from medical leave, the President immediately replaced Ambassador Dauda with a Northern Muslim, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as the N.I.A Director General.

We also observe with dismay and suspicion the recurrence of accidents experienced only by Christian government officials. We suspect this to be a deliberate targeting by fifth columnist deliberately targeting the rise and placement of particularly performing Christian officials.

While the Federal government was quick to announce a probe into the recent helicopter crash of the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo, we have not forgotten the crash of the airplane carrying the former governor of Taraba state, Danbaba Suntai in October, 2012.

He eventually died from complications associated to the plane crash. Neither shall we forget the Helicopter crash  in March, 2012 of a promising Christian Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John in Jos, Plateau state.

The generality of Arewa Christians and indeed students of history in Nigeria are not unaware of the semblance of a repeat of history.

Over 100 years a seemingly pious leadership emerged fighting corruption and paganism but subtly was a political motive for conquest and dominance of all the tribes and political administration of the indigenous people. Therefore, today we can no longer only pray but speak and act.

Notwithstanding the fact the President Muhammadu Buhari is a former military ahead of state and commander in chief, someone the Boko Haram have earlier requested to be their negotiator, cannot negotiate the relase of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls.

We have earlier stated in clear terms the release of Leah Sharibu and winning the war on insecurity amongst other condition for voting Buhari in 2019. He has failed to deliver.

It is true that we have not had an administration so divisive, divisive on regional as well as religious line. We saw the divisiveness working against our South-Eastern brothers as it is working against the South-West.

Nigeria belongs to all of us, A.P.C or Buhari do not have monopoly of wisdom to rule Nigeria. We cannot be coerced or intimidate us against with the threat of ‘hate speech’ or the ‘fake use of news bite borrowed from the American Presidents’ Lexican.

There is nothing worse than ‘hate speech’ more than the nepotism, poverty, insecurity and the undelivered promises of this administration. 

This election shall be successful and peaceful. However, we hereby strongly advice the security chiefs particularly and the election umpire never to contemplate or allow themselves to be used as cheap tools by the President, APC or a sitting governor before or during the process of these elections, otherwise they shall be held accountable for their actions and what may follow after.

As a measure to check fraudulent activities or corrupt politicians, security men and INEC officials, we strongly advice thus,

That all party agents, security and INEC presiding officers ensure no one monitor voters’ choice of candidate at the polling booth – this is to forestall fear of molestation or intimidation after voting.

Party agents and electoral observers to record, picture or video electoral results at polling stations and collation centers.

Designated party agents and observers to insist on accompanying votes cast to final collection centers until they are announced.

Conclusion

For us Arewa (Northern) Christians, having made consultations with major stake-holders, both Christians and Muslims in view of the aforementioned points highlighted, we have resolved not to be like some religious leaders who sit on the fence or choose to be bats at night and be human in the day time.

Therefore, without prejudice or sentiments, tribal, religious or otherwise have decided to prayerfully, willingly and without inducement whatsoever to endorse the Presidential ambition of H.E Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr. Peter Obi.

We choose to align with a team that is inclusive, promoting social justice, the rule of law and free choice of practice of religion.

It is true we have not make findings and consultations for each state of the federation, therefore, we advise that state governors should be elected on merit and not necessarily on the basis of political parties.

However, on the Plateau we wish to draw the attention of the people of Plateau State on their common heritage as well as historical values.

They have a choice to make, a choice between a sitting governor who said he can die for President Muhammadu Buhari, and indigene of Katsina State rather than his own blood and kinsmen or vote for a candidate who can stand with them and their values.

In conclusion, while calling on the international committee to help sustain our nascent democracy as against the suspected impunity and rigging, we wish Nigerians a happy and successful election.

Thank You

Rev. Luke Shehu

President, ACIPA

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