There have been series of reactions from Nigerians as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu picks former governor of Borno state Kashim Shettima as his running mate.
On Sunday the Presidential candidate said his actions were totally deliberate and it wasn’t based on any form of religion, ethnicity or attuned to please any community.
This choice drew out response from the Christian association of Nigeria (CAN) , Afenifere, the Middle Belt forum (MBF) and the Arewa Consultive Forum (ACF) as well as political parties and notable individuals.
Tinubu gave a detailed explanation on what it took him to arrive at that decision ; stating that, He said he has never been an undecisive man and has no intention of becoming one, making reference to how long it took him before making a finial decision on who is going to run with him in the 2023 polls.
Tinubu, therefore, said:
“If we truly understand the challenges upon us as a nation, then we must also see the imperative of placing competence in governance above religious sentiment. “In 1993, Nigerians embrace Chief MKO Abiola and a fellow Muslim running mate, Babagana Kingibe in one of our fairest elections ever held. The spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023. “As such, the ticket we present today represents a milestone in our political history. It symbolizes our party’s determination to be a leading light among political parties in Africa.”
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He said he went for Shettima because he believe he is a man that can help revive Nigeria and bring the best governance regardless of religious inclination.
He urged Nigerians to erase religious diversities and look out for someone that can better Nigeria.
He declared that the former Borno governor was chosen because of his impressive credentials.
“Senator Kasim Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all important electoral victory, but, also, step into the shoes of the Vice President. As a man with the talent, maturity, strength of character, and patriotism he has my implicit confidence and faith.”- He added.
As against this decision, the Afenifere group stated that though they had little say to Tinube’s decision, a Muslim/ Christian ticket would have been fair.
Representing the Afeniferes, Comrade Jare Ajayi said that considering that Nigeria is made up of Muslims, Christian, Atheists and Traditionalists it would have been better if occupants of the highest offices in the country where of different religion, just as it would be unacceptable if occupants of these offices were of the same tribe.
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the same vein condemned this APC plans to field the highest offices with only Muslims.
In a reaction, the Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said the situation in the country now is not suitable for a Muslim Muslim ticket.
He, however added that the decision is also in the hands of Nigerians, as they can either accept of reject the politicking of the APC.
in respect to Tinubu’s decision, not every Nigerian is opposed to it. Borno state governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, described this step by Tinubu as the best decision made.
In a statement Zulum personally signed, he described Shetimma’s choice as very personal to him and he would ensure APC take the elections come 2023.