Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State yesterday waved aside the disapproval of the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) by its Christian members, declaring that “politics is about good and fair leadership not religion.”
On the same day, protesters under the aegis of All Christians Community of Northern Nigeria marched to the Presidential Villa to submit a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari over the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Also yesterday, the party’s vice-presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, tore to shreds Labour Party’s Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, declaring that he could only become a President in Igboland, “but definitely not in Nigeria. Nigeria is too big for him to handle.”
Masari, who spoke while responding to questions from journalists shortly after a meeting with President Buhari at his private residence in Daura, Katsina State, threw his weight behind the choice of Shettima as running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The governor explained that what the nation needed at the moment “is good leadership, a just, competent and fair leader, irrespective of his religion, tribal or geo-political affiliations.
He said: “Shettima is a former governor, serving senator and a very brilliant person who has all the qualities to be the vice-president. So, I fully support his nomination as the running mate of Tinubu for the 2023 presidential election under the platform of APC.
“He is very qualified. So, I am pleased with his nomination. It is better to have a good Christian than a bad Muslim likewise is better to have a good Muslim than a bad Christian. So, it is about the person, not his religion really.
“I know that there are some perceptions out there, but I think as important as perception is, let us understand the reality. When they say a particular person will be this, let us examine the person; his antecedents.”
Masari described Shettima as a non-religious extremist and accommodating politician: “If you talk to the Christian community in Borno where he had the opportunity of being the governor for eight years, you will hear their testimonies about his performances of being a just and fair leader.”
Northern Christians Take Protest to Buhari
Protesters under the aegis of All Christians Community of Northern Nigeria yesterday marched to the Presidential Villa to submit a protest letter to President Buhari over the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC.
The leader of the group, Moses Adams said the sensibilities of the Christians had been insulted by the ambition of a select few that elected to throw caution to the wind with the decision.
The Christian group said it wondered why the APC elected to toe a path of dishonour, which it described as deliberate, to relegate the Christians in Nigeria into oblivion,
Adams stated: “Mr. President, since the return of democracy in 1999 in Nigeria, the tradition has been a Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim paring by all political parties. And this has, to a large extent, ensured religious harmony in the country.
“However, the move by our party to adopt a Muslim-Muslim ticket is most insensitive and the height of discrimination against Christians in our country. This is on the heels that other political parties indeed reflected the religious balance in the composition of their presidential team.
“The two major religions in the country are Islam and Christianity. And these have defined our way of life since the country attained independence in 1960.
“We are therefore alarmed with the decision of the APC to disregard the Christian community in the choice of its vice- presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential elections. Without mincing words, this is unacceptable and a recipe for creating sharp divides between the Muslims and the Christians in the country.”
“Your Excellency Sir, we the Christians in Northern Nigeria are displeased and angered by this insensitivity. By their action, the APC sent a strong message that Christians are not relevant in the scheme of things in the country.”
Obi Can Only Become a President in Igboland, Says Shettima
Meanwhile, Shettima, speaking on a television programme yesterday, declared that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi “cannot become president of Nigeria.”
According to him, Obi can only be president of Igboland and not Nigeria.
Shettima declared: “The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi has no political base and structure to win the next election in 2023. As far as I am concerned, he’s politically structureless with little or no experience to lead this country.
“Nigeria requires a technocrat and a sound administrator who will continue from where President Muhammadu Buhari stopped, not someone who will come to take us back to the era of PDP. Nigerians don’t want that.
“Our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the right person needed for this position in a time like this. He’s a unifier, an administrator, a technocrat, name it. That is why Nigerians both old and young are rallying round him to ensure that he wins the forthcoming election.
“Presidential position is not for the unprepared neither is it an all comers’ affair. Peter Obi can only become a President in Igboland but definitely not in Nigeria. Nigeria is too big for him to handle. He has no leadership ideology nor experiences like President Muhammadu and our incoming President in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”