The All Progressives Congress’s presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, claimed on Wednesday that individuals who had criticized him for selecting Kashim Shettima as his running mate in the 2023 elections had actually approached him about the post.
He stated that the majority of them were close to him and that they had shown interest in being his running mate, an invitation he claimed he politely declined.
In Abuja, during an interactive meeting with the Christian Association of Nigeria’s leadership, presided over by Archbishop Daniel Ukoh, Tinubu made a statement.
Shettima, a fellow Muslim and former governor of Borno State, was selected as the APC standard bearer, which sparked a groundswell of opposition and criticism from many Nigerians, including the leadership of CAN.
Babachir Lawal, a former secretary to the Government of the Federation and close associate of Tinubu, was one among many who opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket, calling it “a fatal miscalculation.”
Additionally, Yakubu Dogara, a former House of Representatives speaker who rejected the plan, urged Nigerian Christians not to squander their votes on the APC candidate in the 2023 election.
Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto and a well-known Christian figure, Fr. Mathew Kukah, claimed that the ruling party was insensitive to choose a candidate of the same religion despite abusing its position of authority and misusing opportunities that were presented to it in 2015.
However, the former governor of Lagos State denied allegations that he intended to Islamize Nigeria by selecting Shettima as the vice presidential candidate when speaking to Christian leaders at the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja.
People have responded negatively to my choice, he said. They are because they are my friends; they pushed for me to choose them as my running mate, but I categorically declined. It is terrible and inaccurate that there is some sort of plan to persecute the Christian community. That sort of agenda is not on my agenda. The money is spent on my table, not the vice president’s, unless otherwise specified. If I don’t give him the authority, he can’t even pardon criminals. What exactly is a vice president?
I am unable to silence Christians in this country any more than I am able to do so in my own home and among my own family. Since they are all Christians, I dare not run for president of my household since I will lose. I cannot Islamize Nigeria if I have not Islamized my family. The allegations are horrible to hear. If we keep going down that road as a nation, we cannot advance. Religions cannot assist us. It won’t benefit us in any way. “