Why I Chose Shettima As My Running Mate – APC Presidential Candidate, Tinubu

APC Presidential flag bearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in an official statement announced former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate, for the 2023 presidential election.

The presidential candidate’s statement partly said, “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.

“This is why, today, I announce the selection of Senator Kashim 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.

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Justifying his choice of another Muslim while appealing to the conscience of critics, Tinubu cited the case of MKO Abiola, stating the ”spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023”.

In his words, “I am aware that many will continue to focus on a particular detail, the question of his faith. However, 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.”

Before Tinubu made the announcement, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, had on Friday hinted that the former Lagos State governor had agreed to pick a Muslim as his running mate. There were reports that northern governors, who were instrumental to Tinubu’s victory at the APC presidential primary, advised him to pick a Muslim on the grounds that the choice will guarantee him victory in 2023.

While he heeded the advice of the governors by picking a Muslim, he did not yield to pressure from them that one of them should be picked for the vice-presidential slot.

Despite the justifications by Tinubu, the choice of another Muslim elicited reactions immediately after Shettima was announced, especially from the Christian Association of Nigeria which is threatening fire and brimstone.

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