MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The last may not have been heard on last week’s unveiling in Abuja of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential running mate in the 2023 election, during which some rented men dressed in Bishops attires attended the event in the guise of giving some semblance of Christian religious verve to the controversial Muslim-muslim ticket of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate Senator Kashim Shettima.
Since the attendance of the so called fake Bishops at the unveiling which took place at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja became public knowledge, the entire political space has witnessed the worst criticism that clearly showed people’s disdain for what Tinubu and Shettima stood for.
Even though Tinubu has officially said the so called Bishops were genuine men of God but not popular like other well known Bishops, he and his supporters are yet to convince Nigerians while such group of impersonators should be rail-roaded into an event that was purely political.
Though the APC presidential candidate and the party itself are audaciously trying to cover their intentions with the garb of freedom of association, as alibi for the presence of the “fake Bishops” at the event, yet their action was a slap on Nigerian Christians and Christianity as a religion.
Tinubu, Shettima and APC leadership have suddenly become insensitive to the feelings of Christians whose religion is being mocked. They could only do so because Christians are fashioned to be tolerant always. Since the unveiling of Shettima and attendant show of shame, many discerning and religiously conscious Nigerians have been imagining the level of destruction and blood letting that the country would have witnessed if a Christian presidential candidate had hired some malcontents and dress them as Imams or Sheiks to attend a political event that has no bearing with Islamic religious affairs.
What APC, Tinubu and Shettima had done was a clear testimony that Nigerian Christians can easily be manipulated, used and dumped to achieve a political objective.
Tinubu and his supporters can go ahead to buy anyone who accept to sell his or her conscience for some thousands of dollar or naira on his way to achieving his presidential ambition but they should know that making mockery of Christianity in the circumstance is liking inviting the wrath of God.
Nigeria is replete with records of religious intolerance by Muslims against Christians particularly in the northern parts of the country. Just a few months ago, a female student of Sokoto State College of Education, Deborah Samuel was gruesomely murdered by Muslim fundamentalists for alleged blasphemy of mentioning Jesus Christ in a class WhatsApp group. Uptill now, the perpetrators of that heinous act are still being treated with kid-gloves just like other ones who killed Christians for alleged blasphemy.
The irony of it, is that at such occasions when the Muslims kill in the name of blasphemy, such killers get accolade from some Islamic scholars who often make attempt to justify the act. If I may ask, where are those scholars now that their brothers (Tinubu and Shettima) are blaspheming Christianity? Perhaps, I need to say that what is good for the geese is also good for the gander.
Tinubu, Shettima and APC should not push their luck too far. The tolerance of Nigerian Christians who truly believe in their faith (not like the fake Bishops) may have been mistaken for weakness, but I dare posit that someone’s weakness taken for granted may be the banana peel needed to derail the ambition of the strong man.
Now, some concerned true Bishops and other men of God are up in arms (prayers) calling the God of vengeance to fight against the mockery brought on Christianity. Nobody takes God for granted and gets away with it.
I will therefore advise Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kassima Shettima to play their politics with caution. There is life after the presidency. Their ambition should not stoke a religious crisis that could easily set Nigeria ablaze.