By Magnus Effiong
The National Publicity Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Dr) Emmah Isong, has explained that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not favour Muslim Muslim ticket especially at a time that Churches were being bombed and Christian leaders kidnapped and some killed.
Bishop Isong, who spoke in Calabar, Tuesday, while playing host to the new executive committee members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Cross River state council, advised politicians to consider the interest of the nation as priority when taking political decisions, and believed that the said ticket is not in the best interest of the country.
The Presiding Bishop of the Calabar-based Christian Central Chapel Int’l (CCCI) who doubles as the Patron of the NUJ, Zone F, said, “the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and even the constitution of many political parties speak about justice, equity, fair-play and balance of region and religion.
“The issue of the Muslim Muslim ticket is not supposed to be wrong if there were no backdrop underlying factors of terrorist activities and suspected intimidation of Christianity and indeed Islam; bombing of Churches during weddings, kidnap of several Church leaders and murder of priests/pastors without any form of punishments.
“On the backdrop of this religious persecution and discrimination comes the condemnation of the Muslim Muslim ticket, not as a ticket but as a lack of wisdom at a time like this. This is not the time to contemplate such matters.
“Some of those condemning the Muslim Muslim ticket are Muslims leaders who are saying ‘look, the Koran says you must do justice even when it does not favour you.’
“Look at this way, if a Christian was president for 8 years and was handing over power to another Christian who would now go for another Christian as vice president, would people not raise eyebrows? It is against natural justice.
“Again, why did the man who is picking a Muslim from the north not pick a Muslim from the south? The reason is that he wanted to balance the regional equation of the South/North divide. If you balance the regional question, why don’t you also seek to balance the religious equation of Muslim/Christian?
“Besides, we are told that a northern Muslim does not regard a Muslim from the South as a true Muslim. It could be that by picking a Muslim from the north, the candidate is indirectly saying ‘It is true, I am not a true Muslim, let me pick a northern Muslim to really Islamize my ticket and make me acceptable. But this, in itself, is an abberation.
“This is the basis for the Muslim Muslim ticket which the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the PFN, Muslims, Christians within the north and south of Nigeria are saying ‘no.’ It has nothing to do with religious arguments but has everything to do with our constitution and fairness.”
As Zonal Patron, the Christian leaders promised to lend a shoulder for the new NUJ leadership to lean on and that he would resuscitate the Emmah Isong sport tourney at the NUJ Press centre for Journalists to engage in bodily exercises.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the NUJ in the State, Comrade Gill Nsa, appealed to the Bishop, who he addressed as “father of the Union in the zone,” for fatherly blessings to enable the new executive committee succeed, and therefore mulled a thanksgiving service in the Christian Central Chapel in the next few weeks.
Comrade Nsa said the new leadership would strive to uphold the ethic of the journalism profession which, he said, is founded on objectivity, balance, and fairness to ensure professionalism, adding that this would enhance the watch-dog roles of the media.
“With your blessings and fatherly support, we will surmount obstacles and fulfill our electioneering campaign promises of striving for the welfare of our members. Let the relationship between the NUJ and the CCCI be robust as was before and we assure you that we will not let you and our people down,” the Chairman stated.