APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu says though he respects Islam and Christianity, he chose a Muslim running mate because of fairness and competence.
“Religion, ethnicity and region cannot always and fully determine our path. To forge ahead as a nation towards development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds,” the APC national leader reasoned.
“We must recalibrate our political calculations to where competence and fairness matters, more than reducible demographics.”
Mr. Tinubu, in a letter on Sunday while announcing his choice of ex-Borno governor, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate, said he was not oblivious of the religious and ethnic sensitivities of the country.
“I am mindful of the energetic discourse concerning the possible religion of my running mate, just and noble people have talked to me about this. Some have counselled that I should select a Christian to please the christian community, others said I should pick a Muslim to appeal to the Muslim community, clearly, I cannot do both,” Mr Tinubu declared.
He added, “Both sides of the debate have impressive reasons and passionate arguments supporting their positions, both arguments are right in their own ways.”
According to him, the challenges plaguing Nigeria require placing competence in governance above religious sentiments.
He advocated the need to jettison the politics of ethnic and religious sentiments and imbibe the core value of competence and service delivery in political offices.
“May I say this to all of you, especially those disappointed in my selection based on religious considerations, I will not and cannot ignore the religious concerns and ethnic sensitivities of our people. Taking them into due consideration is an important part of good and able governance” Mr Tinubu explained.
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In one of his rants before clinching the APC presidential ticket, the former Lagos governor had whipped ethnic sentiments among Yorubas with his infamous “emi lo kan” outcry.
He assured Nigerians that if elected the country’s next president he would ensure national development though that might require decisions politically difficult and rare to make.
Mr Tinubu announced Mr Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election in Daura, where he paid Sallah homage to President Muhammadu Buhari. (NAN)