A bill seeking to forbid political parties from nominating people of the same religion for president and vice president has been proposed by senator Smart Adeyemi.
Mr. Adeyemi, who is running for the Kogi West senatorial district in the All Progressives Congress, stated at a press conference on Sunday that it was important to prevent the contentious issues surrounding the nomination of candidates of the same religion by political parties following the 2023 presidential election.
Since the APC proposed Muslims Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2023 elections, respectively, there has been strong criticism from the Christian community.
The proposed bill by Mr Adeyemi was titled
“A Bill for an act to Amend the Electoral Act 2022 and for other related matters connected 2022.”
It attempts to add a new subsection to Section 84 of the Act (3).
The senator clarified that the following was covered by the proposed subsection 3:
“No political party shall nominate candidates of the same religion as Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates after this dispensation.”
“This bill may be cited as Electoral Act 2022 (Amendment) Bill, 2022,” Mr Adeyemi said.
He claimed that by excluding political parties from fielding vice presidential candidates who practice the same religion as the presidential candidate, the measure seeks to change the Electoral Act 2022 in order to promote religious unity in the nation.
“When this is accommodated, it will serve as a guide against any oversight, such as this in the future as further occurrences will be deemed as silent policies which will be capable of bringing down the fabrics of the nation.
“For me as a statesman, I owe myself the responsibility to speak the truth at all times, irrespective of mischievous misinterpretations,” Mr Adeyemi said.
Regarding the divisive topic of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Mr. Adeyemi declared his support for the CAN’s stances.
However, he asserted that, in light of their respective stellar records and illustrious histories in government, he wholeheartedly supported Senators Tinubu and Shettima running as APC candidates for the presidency in 2023.
“Let me say very clearly that I am in total support of the issues and concerns raised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). I am a practising Christian.
“But we must not confront these issues in such a manner that will obstruct the fabric of our national unity, peace and stability, which we have all fought very hard to keep.
“Yes, there have been oversights in key appointments in the past, which tends to keep the Christians at a disadvantage, and this has caused apprehension amongst us.
“It must not be seen that there are no Christians who are eminently qualified to occupy any of these positions.”
Regardless of their religious affiliation, Mr. Adeyemi urged all Nigerians to view the election of Messrs. Tinubu and Shettima as evidence of the universe’s benevolent creator’s will.
“However, let us, in unity of faith in our nation and above all, in the almighty God, give our support to the APC Presidential and Vice-presidential candidates to pilot the affairs of our nation within the stipulated time.”