APC unveils Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate despite opposition
• Replace Shettima with a Christian, APC Muslim youths tell Tinubu
• We’ll reject Muslim-Muslim ticket, insists CAN youth wing
• Tinubu picked Shettima for our common good, says campaign body
• RCCG: Adeboye did not meet or endorse Tinubu
• Oyetola’s defeat warning to Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun, and others to buckle up, says Nabena
• Sule tasks Adamu to pacify aggrieved members
Amid the furore over a single faith, joint ticket and barring a last-minute change of heart, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will, today, formally unveil its vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to the public.
The party’s national organising secretary, Sulaiman Muhammad Argungu, made this known, yesterday, on the party’s official WhatsApp platform accessible to journalists.
The unveiling will be witnessed by members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), Progressives Governors’ Forum, APC Caucus in the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presidential aspirants at the June Special National Convention and APC state chairmen, among others, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
The development put paid to speculations that the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would drop Shettima in deference to agitations by Christians and other well-meaning Nigerians opposed to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party.
APC Muslim youths have rejected the choice of Shettima, urging the party to replace him with a Christian without delay. Speaking at a press conference, yesterday, in Abuja, the Convener of the group, Abdullahi Saleh, said the Muslim-Muslim ticket was against the spirit of togetherness in the country.
Saleh said while it must be stated that there is a right to make decisions, such decisions must not be made to the collective detriment of the people that make up the country of Nigeria.
“As concerned stakeholders of APC in the 19 Northern states, we find it worrisome that such a decision could be taken without recourse to its implication on the electoral chances of the party and the attendant uproar such a decision could bring about in the country.
“It is also worrisome that of all the political parties, only the APC presented a Muslim-Muslim ticket. In our opinion, this is insensitive and a gross display of lack of respect for our Christian brothers and sisters and is morally indefensible.
“As a group, we wish to state that we reject the choice of Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the APC. This decision is hinged on the need to ensure a balance in the presidential ticket of the APC, as it has been since the return of democracy in 1999,” he added.
ALSO, the Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) youth wing has said there is no way it will allow its members to vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. The chairman, of the North-central zone of the body, Owoyemi Alfred Olushola, who briefed journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said Christian youths had resolved never to support the idea.
He said: “We want to emphasise that this is not healthy for the highly diversified Nigerian space, especially in the face of growing and alarming insecurity in our nation. Any well-meaning presidential candidate will focus on an all-inclusive federal character.
“Consequently, the Nigerian Christian youths will not support or encourage any action or decision capable of further dividing and setting this nation on fire. Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket insults the sensitivity of Nigerians and the Christian youths are saying a big no.”
IN defence of the choice, the Tinubu Campaign Organisation (TCO), yesterday, restated that religion or ethnicity was far from the calculations of Tinubu in picking his running mate.
In a statement by its Director of Media & Communication, Bayo Onanuga, said if Asiwaju intended to cash in on ethnicity, he would have picked a running mate from the Northwest, which has the highest number of registered voters.
“If he wanted to appeal to the base instincts of religion, he would have also gone for a candidate in the Christian-dominated parts of Nigeria, but there was no such consideration. Instead, he picked a tested politician and technocrat from the minority Kanuri ethnic group in the Northeast.
“The factors at play were issues germane to confronting the multi-dimensional crisis our nation faces today: insecurity, economic problems, such as the unemployment crisis facing our youths.
“Nigerians have a lot to gain in having the two tested leaders at the helm of affairs. Naturally, some Nigerians with closet motives have failed to see the opportunities and possibilities the twin candidates present to our country at this time of difficult security, economic and political development, preferring to fan the embers of religion and ethnic divisions among their unsuspecting and vulnerable compatriots.
“The TCO hereby appeals to fellow Nigerians to embrace the best elements of our common purpose and reject the campaign and incitement against fellow citizens,” it stated.
MEANWHILE, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has debunked reports making the rounds, especially on the Internet that its General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has endorsed Tinubu after a meeting reportedly held at the Redemption Camp in Ogun State.
In a statement posted on the Twitter account of the RCCG, the church said no meeting of such took place and Pastor Adeboye has never and will never endorse any political candidate.
The statement read: “It has come to our notice that some news outlets are reporting that a meeting between Pastor Adeboye and Tinubu was held a few days back at the Redemption Camp where our esteemed father in the Lord was said to have supported the preferred candidature of the ruling party.
“This is to inform the general public that Pastor Adeboye is under the authority of God, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), and as such, will not speak on behalf of Christians on issues regarding policies.
“Pastor Adeboye and the RCCG have not and will not endorse any candidate for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria,” the church stated.
This is coming days after the Idah Diocese of the Catholic Church also denied endorsing the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
THIS is as the leadership of a group loyal to the governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, met with Shettima, assuring him of their support. Kogi coordinator of GYB Network 4 Asiwaju, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, briefed Shettima on their activities and plans to ensure the victory of the APC presidential ticket next year.
Amateur, accompanied by the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, pledged full alliance and support for Tinubu and his running mate ahead of the poll.
Responding, Shettima thanked the leadership of GYB Network 4 Asiwaju for their commitment to the party and Tinubu/Shettima presidential project.
HOWEVER, the immediate past Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena, has said the defeat of Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the just concluded Osun governorship poll is a bad omen for APC in the Southwest.
Nabena, in a statement, also called on the party’s presidential candidate, Tinubu, to caution Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) to buckle up to avoid the defeat of the party in their states in the 2023 poll.
According to Nabena, the era of taking people for granted arrogantly and thinking you will win an election is far over, hence APC leaders across the board must respect one another and forge a united front ahead of the elections.
The APC chieftain condemned the recent visit of Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu and Fayemi, all from the Southwest to Rivers State “in search of political marriage with Governor Nyesom Wike, without paying respect to the APC leaders in the South-South zone.
“That was very disrespectful to our APC leaders from the Niger Delta where we have Rotimi Ameachi in Rivers, Adams Oshiomhole in Edo State, Ovie Omo-Agege in Delta State, Timipre Sylva in Bayelsa State and Ben Ayade in Cross Rivers State.”
The Bayelsa-born politician also called on party members in Osun and the entire Southwest not to be demoralised by the outcome of the election, saying all hope is not lost.
THE APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has blamed the party’s defeat in Osun on an internal crisis. Adamu disclosed this in an interview with BBC Hausa service, adding that the party did not anticipate the defeat.
He said: “We lost the race not because we are incapable but because the crisis caused it. We had a colossal gathering of supporters a few days before the election in Osogbo. One can never anticipate we would lose the election.
“But it’s a tradition of life to lose something that you dearly need. We conceded the defeat in good faith and we take lessons from it.”
Adamu also expressed confidence that APC would win the forthcoming general elections. “Osun’s defeat doesn’t in any way signal our loss in the general elections. We only lost one state out of the 22 we have; you see, we are still strong,” he said.
On his part, the governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, has called on the NWC to use the period before the 2023 general elections to calm nerves and pacify aggrieved members of the party.