Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has defended his selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate, arguing that he could not choose both a Christian and a Muslim.
Before the announcement of Shettima, the political climate was heated around the single-faith ticket.
While the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) criticised the proposal and cautioned parties against it, several stakeholders urged Nigerians to place a greater emphasis on competence than emotion.
Tinubu stated that throughout his life, decisions about the team around and supporting him had always been guided by the principles of competence, inventiveness, compassion, honesty, justice, and a commitment to greatness.
He stated he consulted widely on the question of running mate, and he valued the opinions of party leaders, political allies, and prominent national people “who share my vision for Nigeria’s future.”
Bola Tinubu clearly stated that his choice of running mate was inspired by his opinion that leadership, competence, and the capacity to work in a team are more important than other factors.
“I am aware of the vigorous discussion surrounding the likely religion of my running mate. This topic has been discussed with me by virtuous and noble people. Some have advised me to choose a Christian in order to appease the Christian community. Others have advised me to choose a Muslim in order to appeal to the Muslim community. Obviously, I can’t do both.”
“Both sides of the issue are supported by compelling logic and emotional arguments.” Each argument is valid in its own way. But neither is what Nigeria requires at the present time. As president, I intend to steer this country toward unprecedented growth. This will require creativity. It will demand unprecedented measures. It will also necessitate unusual and politically tough judgments.
“If I were to be that kind of President, I must first be that kind of candidate.” Permit me to make a courageous and original choice, not to score political points, but to bring the nation and our party’s campaign closer to the grandeur we were destined to attain.
“Here politics must end and genuine leadership must begin. Today, I am proud to reveal my selection because it was not based on my religion or my desire to impress one community over another. I took this decision because I feel he can assist me in providing the finest government to all Nigerians, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or location.”
Tinubu addressed individuals who could be dissatisfied by his actions, stating, “May I say this to all of you, but especially to those who will be dissatisfied with my religiously motivated selection: I will not and cannot disregard the religious and racial concerns of our people. Taking them into account is a crucial component of competent governance. Religion, ethnicity, and geography, however, cannot constantly and completely decide our course. To advance as a nation toward progress and wealth, we must break free from shackles of the past. We must readjust our political calculations such that competence and fairness weigh more than demographic simplification.”