Nigeria: the victory of the "Muslim ticket" Tinubu-Shettima in the presidential election presented as a "jihad"


After a week of protests, Bola Tinubu was declared the winner of the presidential election by the National Electoral Commission on March 1. Islamic religious leaders have backed his candidacy and that of his running mate Kashim Shettima, presenting the ticket as a "political jihad" in a country where there are almost as many Christians as Muslims.

The victory of the Tinubu-Shettima ticket in the first round of the presidential election on February 23 was contested by the opposition, which denounced the violence that prevented citizens from going to the polls as well as systemic technical failures during the electronic count. voices. The churches of the country had organized a day of prayer on November 4, considering that it was imperative in view of the elections "in view of the fact that [their] nation is currently going through a very difficult period, despite its abundant natural, human and material resources".

For their part, clerics and representatives of more than 75 Islamic groups from several Nigerian states, held a special prayer conference in early January, in the northwest of the country, in Kano, to obtain the victory of Tinubu and his running mate. The meeting took place at the call of the preacher Abdulmutallab Mohammed Auwal who presented the duo from the APC (All Progressives Congress) party from the jihadist angle.

"A Muslim is better than a non-Muslim"

Auwal told attendees "that a Muslim anywhere is better than a kafir [non-believer] or a non-Muslim, and [if they get] two Muslims [on the ticket], they will give the victory that a single Muslim cannot achieve". The preacher concluded his reasoning by saying, "That's why we make people understand that our main goal is for the Muslim-Muslim ticket to be a jihad."

If Muslim clerics are enthusiastic, it is because such a ticket is contrary to tradition. Usually, presidential candidates choose a running mate from a different religion than their own. Thus, President Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015), an Anglican, had a Muslim vice-president and was himself vice-president when Umaru Yar'Adua, a Muslim, was the head of state (2007-2010 ). The current president, Muslim Muhammadu Buhari, has an evangelical vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo.

This enthusiasm responds to the strong concern of Christians, Nigeria being where they suffer the most violence, according to the latest World Index of Persecution of Christians presented by Portes Ouvertes on February 17. According to the NGO, 89% of Christians killed in the world between October 1, 2021 and September 31, 2022 were killed in Nigeria, as were 90% of Christians kidnapped. The country is second in attacks on churches.

Officially, 51% of the 200 million Nigerians are Muslims and 46% Christians. A situation that should not count in the elections according to Deji Adeyanju. The socio-political activist told the Daily Post Nigeria, following the prayer of Muslims, that his compatriots should "reject the urge to vote for people according to religious and ethnic criteria, denouncing both the call of pastors to vote for a candidate as that of Auwal.

Jean Sarpedon

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