I have always been of the opinion that only the intellectually deficient seek to delineate issues along tribal and religious sentiments. So as much as I may wish to align my thinking with those who seek to eschew all manners of religious and ethnic bigotry, I also aim to be as pragmatic and realistic as possible based on issues on ground. Nigeria, as we all know is a myriad of sorts and has as many divides (tribal, religious, cultural, language etc) as a mathematical compass. Based on this, the main aim of every political aspirant/party is to close as much of these divides as possible taking into consideration the multi faceted nature of this geographical expression (according to Awolowo) we call Nigeria.
In my own humble opinion (hope to be proven wrong eventually), a Muslim squared ticket is disastrous for Ribadu (whom I admire a great deal and is in fact my preferred contender) for the mere reason that religion plays one of the most decisive (if not infact the most) factor in the (s)election of our leaders. A grave mistake if I ever saw one considering the interwoven complexities of regional politics, religion and ethnic bias existing right through independence, the 1966 coups, the secessionist attempt and recently to the mayhem in the middle belt.
As emancipated and forward thinking as some of us may claim to be, we fail to realise that more than half of the Nigerian populace falls within the periphery of the intellectually malnourished who tend to see things only in black and white. I recall George W Bush’s parody of the famed Abe Lincoln’s quote. According to Bush, “you can deceive some of the people all of the time and those are the ones we should concentrate on”. Applying this logic, Ribadu’s opponents (PDP infact) would indeed have a field day preying on the narrow mindedness, pessimistic and tribalistic mindset of the average Nigerian on the “dangers of an all round Muslim administration” to suit their will and caprices. They would cite boko haram, Jos riots, et al as examples which happen to be the pitfalls of the present, inept government. And guess what? We’ll swallow it hook, line and sinker cos that’s what we Nigerians do. We allow our so called leaders, imams, pastors, native doctors, etc to hoodwink, brainwash and exploit our situation to achieve their private and voracious ambitions.
Like it or not, the truth remains that RELIGION is the bane of the Nigerian society and thus has to be taken into consideration even in the political arena. Mr Ribadu, you shot yourself in the leg by your choice, not because Fola Adeola is not a jewel of inestimable value, but because you are dealing with a 150 million paranoid, religious schizophrenics. You played right into the hands of your opponents. I, a political rookie could have advised you better. Well, 2015 is around the corner.