Chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, Ibrahim Bilal, has called on Nigerians, especially adherents of the Christian faith, not to lose sleep over the choice of Sen. Kashim Shettima as running mate to the presidential flagbearer, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Bilal said he did not foresee Asiwaju’s presidency hurting the Christian faith or religion with the choice of the former Borno State governor as the APC’s vice presidential candidate.
According to him, Asiwaju’s presidency will do no harm to Christendom and Christians in Nigeria because Bola Ahmed Tinubu had no records suggesting that he was a bigot or fanatic of his own Islamic faith to cause any Christian to lose sleep if he eventually becomes president.
He said, “Bola Tinubu’s presidency will do no harm to Christians and the practice of their religion because of his (Asiwaju) shared faith history. So nobody should lose sleep about a Tinubu-Shettima presidency.”
Bilal, who said he felt compelled to lend his voice over the raging controversy surrounding Asiwaju Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim running mate, added that ordinarily, the choice of Shettima as running mate was made based on careful considerations of what will enhance the presidential candidate’s chances.
The party chieftain, however, noted that because of the volatility of religion in our polity and the penchant by politicians to exploit it, it needs bearing that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as a person will be the last person to go against the interest of Christians.
He said, “Tinubu’s presidency will do no harm to Christendom, his shared faith history guarantees that, so nobody should lose sleep about a Tinubu and Shettima presidency.
“The question of Tinubu’s faith in Nigeria’s polity, where religion has assumed a very divisive and toxic nature, can be assuaged by the fact that the man by his family composition cannot hurt the Christian faith when viewed that his wife is a Christian, just as other very close family members. He has lived over 40 years in harmony, and never tried to impose his faith on them.
“Tinubu’s presidency will do no harm to Christendom and Christians in Nigeria because there’s nothing in him (Tinubu’s record ) suggesting he’s a bigot or fanatic of his own Islamic faith to cause any Christian to lose sleep if he eventually becomes president.”
He, however, added ” But because of the existential politics of survival and winner take all, you expect that politicians will play the scaremongering antics to win over the argument and possibly the elections for the candidate of their own preferred choice by whipping up religious sentiments to feather their own political nest. How?
“By painting the potential of a Bola Tinubu presidency and Shettima vice presidency, whose ticket ahead 2023 presidency has the potential of carrying the day, as a harbinger of doom for the nation’s stability. But Tinubu as a person will be the last person to go against the interest of Christianity.”
He said, it was his wish that a Christian from the North East, like Boss Mustapha, Babachir Lawal, Barrister Bala Ngillari, or Yakubu Dogara got the nomination, if religious considerations were to be uppermost, nevertheless the region was in good stead with the choice of Shettima whose support base in Borno and Yobe, remains solid and firm.
Bilal added that it was a valuable addition to the ticket to have someone with clout not just in the two states but in the entire North East region as Shettima.