The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has explained why he chose the former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
He asserted that the former Borno governor possesses strong leadership abilities which he exhibited when he was the governor of Borno for eight years.
The former governor of Lagos state said his running mate understands the value of national diversity in all of its ramifications, including religious.
According to Tinubu, Shettima possesses the courage to stand up to those who would wreck that diversity and freedom.
He said, “I may not be perfect. What human being is? But I am not a petty man secretly wedded to secret biases and prejudices. This brings me to the question on the minds of many here. Why Senator Kashim Shettima? Why a same-faith ticket?
“Well, I did not choose Senator Shettima so that we could form a same-faith ticket. The ticket was constructed as the same progressive and people-based ideology ticket.
“I offer a confession. I selected Senator Shettima thinking more about who would best help me govern. Picking a Christian running mate would have been politically easier. But the easy way is rarely the right one. The selection of a running mate is at once a very momentous yet very intimate decision.
“Resting such a key decision on religious affiliation as the primary weight did not sit well with me.
“I am not saying there were not good and adequate potential running mates of the Christian faith. What I am saying is that the times we inhabit do not lend themselves to the good or adequate. We have urgent problems that lend themselves not to a Christian or Muslim solution. We need the best solution.
“Every time I thought about it, and I did think a lot; I came to the same conclusion: Kashim Shettima. His faith was immaterial. He is a brilliant man with superior intellectual capacity. He is studious and detailed oriented. Enjoying excellent organization skills, Shettima fully understands the vital difference between governance and politics.
“This exceptionally gifted human being has the humility of spirit, the courage of his convictions, and a strongly progressive worldview in harmony with my own perspectives on government and its relationship to the governed.
“I trust the caliber of the man. I know the great lengths he went to in fighting Boko Haram in his state. He did his best to protect the Christian community and rebuilt damaged churches.
“This man understands the value of our national diversity in all of its ramifications, including religious. He possesses the courage to stand up to those who would wreck that diversity and freedom.”
The APC presidential candidate added that he would replicate what he did in Lagos at the federal level by working in the interest of everyone.
He said, “I seek to become Nigeria’s president not on religious grounds but on the constitution. Thanks to the body for the invitation to candidates to speak on their plans for the nation.
“I believe in the need for a secular government and for us to work in the interest of the country just as I did in Lagos State. I partnered with the Christians to improve lives and foster education. I returned missionary schools to the rightful owners, most of which were Christians.”
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