Tinubu says if he wanted to cash in on ethnicity and religion, he would have chosen a candidate from the northwest.
Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has reiterated the reasons why he chose Kashim Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
In a statement issued by his campaign team on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, Tinubu said his choice of Shettima had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity.
In the statement, signed by Bayo Onanuga, director of media and communications for Tinubu’s campaign organization, the presidential candidate said he chose the former Borno state governor because of his track record in developing the state.
Many Nigerians, especially Christians, have criticized the choice of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate because both candidates are Muslims.
The presidential candidate acknowledged that his choice of a vice presidential running mate has sparked heated debate across the country, adding that he is following the controversy.
However, Tinubu argued that if he wanted to cash in on ethnicity, he would have chosen a candidate from northwestern Nigeria “who has the most registered voters.
He also said, “If he wanted to appeal to the baser instincts of religion, he would have also chosen a candidate from the Christian-dominated parts of Nigeria.”
“But there was no such consideration. Instead, he chose a proven politician and technocrat from the Kanuri ethnic minority of the northeast.
“The factors involved were issues critical to addressing the multidimensional crisis facing our nation today: Insecurity, economic problems, such as unemployment among our youth.
“Our candidate touted his track record in Lagos to win the APC primaries last June. As governor between 1999 and 2007, he managed to transform a decadent state into Africa’s fourth largest economy. He believes his achievement in Lagos can be replicated across Nigeria.
“To help him achieve this vision, he has chosen Kashim Shettima, who has a track record of development in his eight years as governor of Borno State, despite the Boko Haram crisis. Certainly, only the deep knows how to call the deep.
“Nigerians have a lot to gain from having the two proven leaders at the helm of the country,” he said.
“Of course, some Nigerians with hidden motives have failed to recognize the opportunities and possibilities that the two candidates represent for our country at this time of difficult security, economic and political developments, preferring to fan the embers of religious and ethnic division among their unsuspecting and vulnerable compatriots.
“The TCO hereby appeals to its fellow Nigerians to embrace the best elements of our common purpose and reject the campaign and incitement against fellow citizens,” the statement said.
He said it is a great disservice to the country and its citizens to spread ethnic and religious narratives to further exacerbate already difficult ethnic and religious divisions.
He added that what should be important to Nigerians, whether they are Christians, Muslims or followers of traditional religions, should be the common prosperity of the country.