After registering we proceeded to pay a courtesy call on my traditional ruler, the Ooni of Ife, and from there I went to spend a few days with Governor Rauf Aregbesola who, together with Governor Kayode Fayemi, I am close to and I consider to be friends. I have stated these facts and set the record straight due to the fact that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the spokesman of the APC, had the effrontery to say in an interview with Premium Times magazine earlier today, that I was never a member of the APC and that I never joined them formally.
He also went further to say that had if I had been a member of the APC the party would have sanctioned me for expressing my opposition to the idea of a Muslim/Muslim ticket.
The truth is that Lai Mohammed is not only a liar but he is also a coward…
I believe that religion ought to play no part in politics but a situation where members of the Christian faith are not treated as equals and where all the substantive positions of the National Executive of the party are made up of almost exclusively Muslims is unacceptable to me.
In fairness to the members of the party there are many leaders within it’s ranks who share my views and who are also opposed to the religious agenda that the few have but I am not prepared to stay and fight from within because the very presence of any closet Haramites on the same political platform as me is something that I find utterly repugnant.
I have raised these issues privately with virtually every key party leader including most of the governors but nothing has changed. I cannot be in a party in which the spokesman, Lai Mohammed, only last year said that it was wrong and ”unconstitutional” for the Federal Government to proscribe Boko Haram. This is the same Boko Haram that has killed no less than 15,000 Nigerians in the last three years. I cannot be in a party where the leading Presidential candidate, only last year said that Boko Haram ought not to be killed but ought to be treated like the Niger Delta militants, granted amnesty without any conditions, pampered and paid and who said, in 2011, that Muslims should only vote for people who will protect their faith. I cannot be in a party where a number of leading people question the secularity of the state and yet those people are not called to order by the so-called party leaders and where such people seem to hold sway.
I cannot be in a party in which dissent and a differing opinion with others on fundamental issues is seen as an offence and something to be frowned upon or to be queried or expelled for. I have been in politics for the last 24 years of my life and all along I have taken monumental risks and been guided by my principles. I have also exhibited that I have the courage of my convictions and more often than not I have dared to say what many others are thinking but dare not to say.
It is clear to me that such sentiments are not appreciated in the APC under it’s present leadership and consequently I have chosen to move on. I believe that every religion and every ethnic nationality in this country ought to be treated with the greatest respect even within the context of a political party. I believe that we are all equal before God regardless of our religious differences.
A situation whereby, as a Christian, I am made to feel that I am a second class citizen in any association or political party which I am part of and for which I have taken risks for is unacceptable to me. In order for any political party to move our country forward you need the input, support and confidence of the adherents of ALL religious faiths and not just that of the Muslims.
This is something that some in the APC do not seem to appreciate. As a christian I feel deeply offended by some of the rhetoric and behaviour of some of the APC leaders and I cannot be expected to remain silent in the face of such expressions. These are the main reasons why I have left the APC. I wish them well in all their endeavours and like I said earlier many of their key leaders and governors remain my personal friends and will continue to do so even after this.
Thanks and may God guide and bless Nigeria.