Why APC Northern Christian leaders rejected Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate

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Tinubu (left) and Shettima (file photo)

Why APC Northern Christian leaders rejected Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate

By Ahmed Kaigama

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Christian leaders in the 19 northern states have rejected the choice of Kashim Shettima as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The rejection is contained in a communique of their meeting signed by Professor Doknan Sheni and Professor Saidu Ibrahim, respectively, in Bauchi on Tuesday.

The APC northern Christian leaders argued that “in fairness to their conscience and faith, we cannot go to our constituencies and campaign for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.”

They argued that APC picking former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, a Muslim as vice presidential candidate was a betrayal of the unity and peaceful co-existence with Muslims, including notable Islamic clerics who had forwarned the party and Ahmed Bola Tinubu from “traveling that treacherous route.”

They pointed out that Nigeria is a multi-religious and a constitutional democracy, and not a theocracy with religion as a major fault line.

The party’s Christains leaders warned that any attempt to manipulate the multi-religious  complexity of  Nigeria would have dire political consequences on the country’s peaceful co-existence .

They said that the current Nigerian environment and political atmosphere of the country was different from what occurred in 1993, therefore a Muslim-Muslim ticket was unacceptable.

“It doesn’t take the smart to know that the Abiola/Kingibe victory in 1993 turned out to be a pyrrhic victory as there was never a President Abiola nor Vice President Kingibe,” the communique, which read in parts, argued.

They believe the Muslim-Muslim ticket, if APC allows it to stand, would only fuel suspicion by the Church that the party was pursuing an Islamization agenda, adding that, “with all the positions in the hands of our Muslim brothers, it would take ingenious mendacity to prove otherwise.”

The APC Christian leaders warned that the rejection of the Muslim-Muslim ticket by Christians would undermine the electoral fortunes of the APC and its candidate across all states and constituencies where Christians enjoy numeric advantage.

It described the Muslim-Muslim Muslim ticket as unjust, considering the fact that the President, National Chairman of the APC, President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker of the House, and now both the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are all Muslims.

“Assuming that such lopsidedness does not violates S.14 (3) of the Constitution: if this was to be reversed so that all these were Christians, can any contentious Muslim in Nigeria attempt to sell such patently unjust and unfair arrangement to the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria,” the APC Christian leaders asked.

 

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