Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, prominent All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Chief Ayiri Emami and the South African chapter of the ruling party yesterday threw their weight behind the Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket.
Fayemi allayed the fears of Christians, saying that the same-faith ticket of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima was not meant to undermine the Christian community, but a calculated strategy to win next year’s poll.
Fashola said Tinubu is the best among the candidates, urging Nigerians to elevate capacity over religion.
Emami urged critics to desist from demonising the APC ticket, adding that they should do away with sentiment and pay attention to competence and the need to engender good governance.
South Africa APC assured that Tinubu and Shettima will deliver good governance because they have the competence and capacity.
Fayemi spoke in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at the weekend during a courtesy visit by the new executives of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ekiti Ekiti State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Aribasoye.
He said the choice of a Muslim running mate was not because there were no competent Christian politicians from the North as being erroneously peddled in some quarters.
He said the responsibility of the church where social justice is being preached should include looking at the challenges being faced by Christians community and seeking how good governance can address them.
He urged Christian leaders to eschew what he called “the theology of disengagement” and embrace politics by converting the current challenge to an opportunity to present a charter of demands to all political candidates, based on irreducible minimum conditions acceptable to Christendom.
Fayemi said: “Many Christians see politics as a dirty game, and for this reason are disengaged from the political process. It’s time for us to realise that there are compelling reasons for Christians to participate in politics. In my own opinion, whatever makes us good Christians makes us good citizens.”
“The Christian leadership should use this current challenge as an opportunity to present a charter of demands to all political candidates, especially our party (APC), outlining the irreducible minimum conditions acceptable to Christians in the next political dispensation. A charter of demands that would represent those values you preach to us in church highlighting our concerns, stressing the place of Christendom in the Nigeria project and then placing our demands before the political leaders. I want the Church to organise debates around issues of concerns among all the candidates.”
Fashola, who featured on Channels’ Television ‘Sunday Politics’ said Tinubu will make a positive impact on the country.
According to Fashola, Tinubu is the best person among the candidates to drive the vehicle of prosperity for Nigeria.
Speaking on his relationship with Tinubu, Fashola said: “My relationship with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is good.
“I’m involved in his aspirations and I’ve been playing my role. I don’t need to come to the public space to announce my intervention.”
On Tinubu’s capacity, the minister said: “Asiwaju is the best person to drive the vehicle of prosperity for Nigeria.
“I say this because I know him. I have worked with him, I know him; he has the tenacity, capacity, vision, and focus to turn things around for this country.”
On the Muslim -Muslim ticket, the minister said: “We should take away religion from our public life. Let us leave religion to where it belongs. We should be more concerned on who can do the work.
“We should stop being afraid. Who cares who provides what we need?
Fashola said that many of those who cause security breaches, killing and maiming under the guise of religion were not part of any of the two popular religion – Christianity and Islam because both religions preach peace.
To him, religion should be left to religious centres, homes and not in public space.
Emami told reporters in Abuja that the country will benefit greatly from the APC ticket than the religious sentiment been wiped up in some quarters.
Describing Tinubu as a transformational leader, he said attention should be focused on the character of candidates instead of their religion.
Emami said: “Some of us supported the candidacy of Shettima. We advised Asiwaju to go and look for a good person that will give him support, whether Muslim or anything. Religion has not brought anything to our table.
“Nigerians should stop demonising APC over its presidential ticket. We should subordinate religious sentiment to the bigger picture of competence which will ultimately engender good governance.
“For example, Niger Delta Development Commission is an agency that is supposed to be taking care of the Niger Delta and so much money has come into the NDDC, but the people monitoring those affairs are all Christians, no Muslim. Go and see whether you will see any development. Governors running the region are all Christians. So, if Asiwaju has a partner that will make him succeed, give us protection, good roads, and good schools, I don’t care because not everybody is even Christians.
“So, whoever can work for us, that is who we need at this time and Shettima is going to be a very good pair with Asiwaju.”
South Africa APC Chairman of the chapter, Mr Bola Babarinde, in a statement in Lagos, said that Tinubu and Shettima have the capacity to salvage the country from its current woes.
According to him, what the nation needs now are competent leaders that can make lives better for the people.
Babarinde said: “A political party chooses presidential joint ticket for its viability, and solely with the objective to win elections as its immediate priority, and it is after winning and occupying office that any electoral promises can be fulfilled and delivered.
“The pedigree and achievements of Tinubu and Shettima in administration, governance and politics are solid and incontrovertible.
“They both possess the political capital and administrative wherewithal to lead the most populous black nation to socioeconomic development.
“The focus and beam light towards the election by the public and especially electorate should be on performance capacity and not religion or other primordial sentiments that have held us back as nation from collectively rising above tribal and religious divides.”
“Now that the flag bearer of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu and the party have concluded their decision on those who will occupy Aso Rock in 2023, let us respect and support them.
“We should pray for their success at the coming polls and working together eventually for the smooth sail of the incoming administration after the current dispensation.”
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