Everyone will always get what they deserve. When we fail to plan, therefore, we are planning to fail. The levity with which Christians treat matters of elections, politics, and governance is so appalling that it would seem their existence does not depend on them. This is the reason people like Elrufa’i or groups like the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, can throw jabs at Christians; the church or even the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and nothing would happen, save for a few ineffective social media reactions such as this one. Swap the roles and have Christian leaders make such contemptuous remarks when in a position of advantage over Muslims, the reactions can only be better imagined. But Christians, naturally do not plan evil, or oppressive machinations against other religions (as Elrufa’i or MURIC would want us to believe about Islam), so they naturally will not make those inflammatory remarks as Elrufa’i and MURIC have done.
Only recently, in a statement by MURIC made available to the press, the group berated President Tinubu and his Vice, Shettima, for what they described as the president and his vice “succumbing to cheap blackmail in their choice of Christians as CSO and ADC, respectively, to the Vice President”. According to the statement, “There are reports that Vice President Kashim Shettima has given his first two appointments to two Christians. He made an Igbo man, a Catholic, his Chief Security Officer (CSO). Next, he gave another Christian from the North Central, the post of Aide-de-Camp (ADC). But he gave Muslims nothing.”
The group also boasted that the 2023 elections had proven that Muslims are the overwhelming majority in the country and that appointments in the government should reflect that reality. “It is true that appointments must reflect competence. But it is equally true that it must also mirror the reality on the ground. Interestingly enough, the reality on the ground is that Muslims are an overwhelming majority in this country today. MURIC did not say that. The presidential election held on 25th February 2023 said so.” This claim, however, is flawed when put side by side with the declared results by INEC. The sum of the figures attributed to Atiku and Obi, over 70% of which are from Christian-dominated areas, or a state-by-state assessment of what Tinubu scored in Cross Rivers, Rivers, Benue, Plateau, Edo, Imo, Ebonyi, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Gombe, Lagos, and even southern Kaduna, among others, which are Christian-dominated states account for almost half of the 8.9m votes that INEC relied upon to declare Tinubu the winner of the elections, settles it.
Meanwhile, both the CSO and ADC to the president are Muslims, not forgetting the fact that the president and his Vice are also Muslims. But when those two appointments were made by the president earlier on, Christians and Christian groups were silent, as though every appointment in the government does not matter to them. Sad!
This was followed by Elrufa’i’s characteristically satanic disclosure that the Muslim-Muslim ticket they introduced in Kaduna State and Nigeria was to spite Christians and CAN, and to institutionalise a system that will guarantee the dominion of Muslims over Christians in the state and nation, adding that sustaining the system for 20 years would place Christians where they belong, and they’ll have no other option than to resign to fate.
In the same video, Elrufai also boasted about how efficiently their strategy and plan of wrapping the Muslim-Muslim ticket under the garments of competence defeated the “tactless” CAN and condemned them to complete silence. He claimed that although he and Tinubu weren’t on good terms at the time of the preparations for the elections, he made a sudden u-turn when they calculated and saw that with Tinubu, the prospect of victory at installing a Muslim-Muslim president and vice president was high, underscoring the supremacy of religious interest over personal interest, an attribute that is very rare among Christians or Christian politicians.
But what was the calculation that Mr Elrufa’i and his Islamic gang did that CAN and the Christians didn’t do? It is quite simple. With Atiku as the presidential candidate of the PDP and Obi as that of the LP, there was a high tendency for CAN and Christian leaders to adopt Mr Obi – a Christian, as its candidate. If that happened, therefore, there was going to be a split of the Christian population among three major contenders: LP, PDP, and the APC. The PDP and APC would share the other votes because of their elaborate political structures across the country and in most Christian areas, while the Muslim population would be divided mainly along two candidates – Tinubu and Atiku. Obi here would be left out because his party has weak to zero political structures that cannot earn him reasonable Muslim votes, while there’s no mention of Kwankaso because he was only going to make an impact in Kano State to the detriment of Atiku; and this too was part of the game plan.
So, it was only a matter of the election day for either Atiku or Tinubu to win (despite Christians, dominating in more states than Muslims), because Obi could not have won and can’t win without a good showing in at least one or two of these northern states: Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Borno, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe, Kwara, and another one or two states outside Lagos in the southwest (where ethnic and party considerations are high and above religious considerations in an election). Regrettably, efforts by the more politically exposed and strategic Christians to draw the attention of the church and the Obidients to these realities or analyse the situation from the right perspectives or call for caution and proper planning ahead of the elections were rebuffed and the persons involved demonised, profiled and attacked. The case of the revered Apostle Emmanuel Kure, in this regard, readily comes to mind.
It was, therefore, clear that while jihadists were acting a well-written and rehearsed script, the Christians were ill-prepared and only reactionary and emotional in their approach. Funny enough, there are clerics and Christians who still believe that Mr Peter Gregory Obi, “the candidate of the Church,” won. Some even made embarrassing prophecies before and after the elections that didn’t come to pass, and by so doing, made our God, the Christians, look weak. Thank goodness, God cannot be mocked.
Today, both CAN and the entire body of Christ are being mocked, with the Christians in Kaduna State being the worst hit. Just how long the Islamic jihadists would be enjoying their well-thought-out coup against the Christians is a matter for the courts, but whatever happens in the end, Elrufa’i’s taunts of Islamic conquest should not be swept under the carpet. His claim of the victory of Islam over Christianity must be interrogated, and its far-reaching implications on the state and nation at large discussed, even with a sense of urgency.
We may have lost the opportunity to work with fair-minded Muslims in the state to prevent the “victory,” by crook, of the APC, and we might even lose at the tribunal (this is by no means a lack of confidence in the merit of the case or an admission of defeat), but the lessons learnt from the 2023 elections or the taunts by Elrufa’i or MURIC must NEVER be forgotten. We must never forget that Tinubu’s or Uba Sani’s votes are not exclusively those of Muslims, and we too can NEVER win the presidential or governorship (in Kaduna State) elections by the exclusive votes of Christians or Muslims. This fact is sacred.
In 2027, or any other election for that matter, we must kill this religious monster staring us in the face – now that we all know what it is about; and planning, strategy and the unity of progressive Christians and Muslims are the necessary tools for success.
May God be kind to this nation and never allow bigots like Elrufa’i to smell the institutions of power, ever again, and may Christians also learn to be smart, strategic and timely in future political endeavours. And may together we embrace unity and eschew the dangerous path people like Elrufai are carving.
Edward John Auta writes from Narom Village of Zonkwa Ward in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State