The Department of State Service(DSS) has reportedly written to President Muhammadu Buhari over the APC presidential Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s decision to nominate a fellow Muslim as vice-presidential candidate for 2023 presidential election is a tailored recipe for renewed sectarian crises that could destabilise Nigeria, according to a processed intelligence report sent to President Buhari by the DSS.
The document, which got to the president by way of the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, said Mr Tinubu should consider security implications of his selection before making it public, according to three officials briefed on the report.
SSS produced the report and handed a copy to the NSA,” an intelligence officer told The Gazette. “The NSA looked at the report and added it for security briefing to the president.’’
“Simply put, our understanding is that the alliance will destabilise Nigeria and embolden attacks on Christian citizens from their fellow Muslim citizens,” the official said. “The distrust Christians are likely to harbour against a presidency occupied by two Muslims won’t make our work easy at national security level.”
The official said Mr Buhari was not involved in the deliberations that led to Mr Tinubu’s announcement of Kashim Shettima, from Boko-Haram stronghold in Borno, as his 2023 running mate to the ire of Christians across the country.
“People can say whatever they like about Mr President, but as a senior intelligence administrator I can guarantee you he was not involved in Tinubu’s decision at all,” the official said in a remarkable moment of candour.”
Another official said the report was commissioned after Mr Tinubu became the standard-bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress on June 8 and started embracing the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket as the most potent strategy to be elected as president in an ethnically and religiously polarised country like Nigeria.
Traditionally, northern Muslims have voted more than southern Christians, a traditional pattern which Mr Tinubu looked to exploit, particularly as a similar ticket in 1993 saw the election of Moshood Abiola as president despite picking Babagana Kingibe, a northern Muslim, as running mate. While the ticket was accepted by Nigerians at the time, the victory was annulled by former dictator Ibrahim Babangida and augured a protracted turmoil across the country. Christian leaders said Mr Abiola’s fate should be a cautionary tale for Mr Tinubu.
“Strong intelligence led us to believe that he was passionate about the idea of a Muslim running mate,” the second official, an assistant director at the SSS, said. “By the time our analysts reassessed the state of the country right now and what would likely come out of a Muslim president and vice-president, everything tilted towards negative and very dangerous times ahead.”