The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has given reasons for picking former Governor of Borno State, Kasim Shettima, as his running mate despite agitations against Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He made this known in a statement obtained by The PUNCH on Sunday.
The PUNCH reports that there had been agitations against Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket the Christian Association of Nigeria and some prominent Nigerians.
According to Tinubu, he prioritised national growth and development above “religious sentiments” in picking Shettima.
Tinubu said Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that “he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all important electoral victory”.
The APC presidential candidate recalled that in 1993, Nigerians embraced Chief MKO Abiola and a fellow Muslim running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe, in “one of our fairest elections ever held”.
He exaplained that if we truly understood the challenges upon Nigeria, citizens would place competence in governance above religious sentiment.
“The spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023,” he added.
Part of the statement read, “I have never been an indecisive man and have no present intention to become one.
“Having now listened to the sage, careful advice of a broad section of the party and of the nation, there are a few points I feel I must make about the exceptional and extraordinary person with whom I will share the APC ticket and the principles of open and good governance that informed this choice.
“I am mindful of the energetic discourse concerning the possible religion of my running mate. Just and noble people have talked to me about this. Some have counselled that I should select a Christian to please the Christian community. Other have said I should pick a Muslim to appeal to the Muslim community. Clearly, I cannot do both.
“Both sides of the debate have impressive reason and passionate arguments supporting their position. Both arguments are right in their own way. But neither is right in the way that Nigeria needs at the moment. As president, I hope to govern this nation toward uncommon progress. This will require innovation. It will require steps never before taken. It will also require decisions that are politically difficult and rare.
“If I am to be that type of President, I must begin by being that type of candidate. Let me make the bold and innovative decision not to win political points but to move the nation and our party’s campaign closer to the greatness that we were meant to achieve.
25. Here is where politics ends, and true leadership must begin.
“Today, I announce my selection with pride because I have made it not based on religion or to please one community or the other. I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region.
“May I say this to all of you, especially to those who will be disappointed in my selection based on religious considerations. I will not and cannot ignore the religious concerns and ethnic sensitivities of our people.
Taking them into due consideration is an important part of good and able governance. But religion, ethnicity and region cannot always and fully determine our path. To forge ahead as a nation toward development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds. We must recalibrate our political calculations to where competence and fairness matter more than reductive demographics.”
‘Spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023’
Tinubu noted that he chose Shettima as his partner and running mate in a bid to to advance and reclaim the fortunes of Nigeria and the hopes of its people.
He said, “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.
“I am aware that many will continue focus on a particular detail, the question of his faith.
“However, if we truly understand the challenges upon us 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, Baba Gana 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.”