• Tinubu: Why I picked Shettima as my running mate
• Muslim-Muslim ticket insensitive choice, breach of Constitution, say HURIWA, Adegboruwa
• We would have preferred a Muslim-Christian ticket, the APC Rebirth group says
• Amid disquiet in Northwest, Wamakko sues for peace
• Labour Party not surprised by APC’s ‘insensitive’ ticket, says Deputy Chairman
All doubts of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) for the 2023 presidential election was laid to rest, yesterday, when its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, announced former Borno State governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his substantive running mate.
Tinubu made this disclosure on Sunday afternoon in Daura, Katsina State, shortly after paying Sallah homage to President Muhammadu Buhari at his private residence. Tinubu’s choice is contrary to the advice given by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which had earlier warned presidential candidates not to field running mates of the same religion.
Before the announcement, Tinubu, President Buhari and Governor Aminu Masari had gone into a closed-door meeting minutes after Tinubu and Masari arrived in Daura from Katsina.
The presidential candidate earlier arrived at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport at 1.15 p.m. from where he joined Masari for the one-hour drive to Daura.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting of the trio, Tinubu confirmed Shettima as his new running mate, replacing Ibrahim Masari, who was earlier submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a placeholder.
He, however, said he was yet to discuss the selection with Shettima, but added that he had disclosed it to the President and to Nigerians since he had disclosed it to reporters.
Speaking on why he chose Shettima, Tinubu, in a statement, said: “In full compliance with existing law and regulation, I submitted all necessary documents regarding my nomination as the APC presidential candidate to INEC. But, as was expected, the choice of my vice presidential running mate remained an open and burning question.
“This gave rise to much speculation and debate. Recent events (the voluntary withdrawal of my dear friend and brother, Ibrahim Masari) mean that I am called upon, today, to put an end to the speculation. I have never been an indecisive man and have no present intention to become one.
“What I am, however, is a democrat. And a democrat must listen to, and consult with, the people and his advisors so that he may reform and govern wisely and on their behalf. This I have done. My political career was not built on blind indifference to the views of others. I appreciate the perspectives of leading members of the party, political allies and key national figures who see Nigeria’s future as I do. They gave me their views so that I might add their valuable insights to mine to reach the best decision possible and do so in a manner that strengthens the institutional fabric of our party as well as accelerates the evolution of our political democracy.
“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. Others 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.
“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. This is why, today, I announce the selection of Shettima as my partner and running mate in the mission to advance and reclaim the fortunes of this great country and the hopes of its people.
“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,” he said. HOWEVER, CAN has frowned on the selection of the former Borno governor.
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian yesterday, CAN’s spokesperson, Adebayo Oladeji, said making such a decision in a polarised country was wrong and insensitive.
He stated that if having a pastor as the vice president of the country and Christian clerics and worshipers are being killed, the security of lives and properties of Christians under a Muslim-Muslim could not be guaranteed.
Oladeji, however, warned that Nigerians should be ready to face the consequences of their actions if they endorsed and vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
He said: “We knew this was what he was going to do and we have warned against it. It is up to Nigerians to decide on what they want.”
AREWA chieftain and former Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, has picked holes in the choice of APC to present a Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying the selection will further divide Nigeria rather than uniting the nation.
He said: “The challenges posed by Muslim-Muslim ticket is not so much about winning the elections as to the aftermath of governance. In an era where some notable Nigerians have alleged Islamisation agenda against APC government, however misguided, this Muslim-Muslim ticket will provide such persons with more ammunition. More so that it will run against the promise by the APC candidate that he will unite the country by making Nigeria feel young again with the promise of glory days ahead.”
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the development as unconstitutional and illegal despite all entreaties to the contrary and urged all patriotic Nigerians to reject the party at the poll.
HURIWA faulted Tinubu’s decision, saying the experience of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in Kaduna State in the last five years by Governor Nasir el-Rufai has shown that an all-Muslim chief executive and deputy in a pluralistic society amounts to discrimination, “which constitutes an infraction against Section 42(1) of the Constitution and violation of broad-based composition of government as spelt out in section 14(3) of the Constitution on Federal Character Principles in appointments in Nigeria.”
Also, a human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has asked Nigerians to reject the APC for fielding a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket. Adegboruwa considers the decision “a terrible choice, in one million ways!”
In a statement, yesterday, he called on Nigerians to vote out APC for allegedly not being sensitive. He said: “Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians, traditionalists, etc, should reject APC with their votes come 2023.
“A Muslim-Muslim ticket in present-day Nigeria is fuel for Boko Haram, the incentive for ISWAP and a call for more terrorists. Unless of course, those parading the ticket are themselves complicit. There is no better way to insult our sensibilities. I pray it is not true.”
THE APC rebirth group has also said they would have wished for a Muslim-Christian ticket for the party. Co-convener of the group, Comrade Aliyu Audu, however, believed Tinubu must have a good reason for settling for Shettima as his running mate.
“We had wished for otherwise but we trust in the wisdom and political knowledge and skills of Asiwaju to make the best decision in the overall interest of national unity and development. A government can only exist when the party wins the election,” the group noted.
THE Middle Belt Forum (MBF) also said the APC Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket is a danger to the collective wellbeing and unity of the country, assuring that it is an evil plot that Nigerians will defeat in 2023.
National President of MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, who made this known in Makurdi, described the choice as an unfortunate development.
Pogu noted that the choice was indicative of the ignorance and insensitivity of the APC to the mood and pains of Nigerians at this point in time.
“It is an unfortunate development, unfortunate in the sense that we are living in a terrible period where the country is being tormented by insurgents from all over the place starting from Borno with Boko Haram and Shettima is from there.
“And if such is coming now without consideration to the plurality of this country with regards to region, religion and other issues, I think it is an unfortunate development.
“And for the presidential candidate of the APC to bow to such pressure is an unfortunate development. One would wish that they would look at what would be beneficial to Nigeria at this time.
“Nigerians have not recovered from the insurgency coming from mainly Islamic origin, it shows that the APC is insensitive to the plight of Nigeria and Nigerians. And it’s not ready to bring healing, reconciliation and rescue Nigeria from the problems it is facing.
“Now it is also an unfortunate development because this time is not the same as the MKO Abiola time, which was several years ago. These are times that religion should be handled with care.
AMID disquiet within the camp of Northwest governors over the selection of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate, the Senator representing Sokoto North in the Senate, Aliyu Maigatakarda Wamakko, has pleaded for understanding among politicians.
He warned that as preparations for the forthcoming general elections gather steam, “we as politicians and other stakeholders in the nation’s nascent democracy must play by the rules and ensure rancour-free activities; doing otherwise will not do us or the country any good.’’
In a statement by his Special Assistant on New Media, Mallam Bashar Abubakar, Wamakko gave assurances that the security challenges bedeviling the country would soon be history, even as he expressed gratitude for a peaceful Sallah festival.”
The Senator pleaded with Nigerians of voting age to ensure that they register and collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), saying that it is the only instrument needed to elect credible leaders.
DEPUTY National Chairman of Labour Party, Olorunfemi Ayo, equally noted that the Muslim-Muslim ticket settled for by the ruling party was the height of APC’s insensitivity to the secular makeup of the Nigerian state.
He said the decision of the party to field Tinubu and Shettima on a joint Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket was not a surprise to the Labour Party and Nigerians.
“To say that there are no Christians in the North or the Christians in the North are not competent or not worthy for an APC joint ticket in 2023 is to also justify what some people have been saying in different quarters that the plan of the President Buhari administration is to Islamise Nigeria.
“That is exactly what they are pushing and they want to justify it by whatever means. The rest is left for Nigerians to decide whether they want to promote religious bigotry above the development of the country.
“In any political environment, where you are insensitive to the culture of the people and you want to force yourself on them. You can only continue to breed crises, as they started with crises from the inception of their government, till this time.”