As opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) mounts, the party has deferred the formal unveiling of Mr. Kashim Shettima as running mate to its presidential candidate, Mr. Bola Tinubu.
The reason for the postponement, according to sources, is connected with opposition of the Muslim-Muslim combination by concerned Nigerians, religious leaders, opposition parties and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
It was also gathered that the leadership of the party may drop Shettima and pick a northern Christian.
Recall that Tinubu announced Shettima as his running mate on Sunday, July 10, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at his private residence in Daura, Katsina State.
Tinubu had explained that Shettima was picked to enable good governance, but the APC failed to officially announce him as Tinubu’s running mate thereafter.
The former governor of Borno State was scheduled to have been presented to party members at the APC national secretariat, Abuja, yesterday, but the event was put on hold for what the party termed logistic reasons.
However, the deputy national organising secretary of APC, Mr. Chidi Duru, as saying that the ceremony was put off till Wednesday next week due to the involvement of most members of the party’s leadership the Osun State governorship election holding tomorrow, July 16.
He told The Sun that the event was not an unveiling but more of interactive meeting between the running mate and party’s national leadership to formally interact.
“I don’t know why people keep tagging it as unveiling. The event was meant to be an avenue for our party’s vice presidential candidate to meet with members of the national working committee (NWC) and other national leadership of our party. The interaction is important because he has to come and thank the party for giving him the ticket.
“As for postponement, the notice of invitation for the event went out rather too late on Wednesday. We also noticed that many of our officials are involved in the preparation for the Osun State governorship election. Again, Shettima equally has his personal commitment too. Those are the reasons that we had to postpone the event. However, it will now hold on Wednesday next week,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) has condemned the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for kicking against the same faith arrangement of the APC
The Kaduna State Secretary of SCSN, Mr. AbdurRahman Hassan, in a chat with Daily Sun said accused CAN of “joining the bandwagon of religious fanaticism,” to oppose APC’s political arrangement.
“The Council is observing all the happenings regarding the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC, most especially the unhealthy and provocative comments by CAN on the issue.
“We appreciate the right of each party to choose its flag bearer. This is democracy; you don’t expect the majority Muslim north to be neglected in the political equation of this country.
“We thought CAN would toe the line of Orji Uzo Kalu who reasoned with democratic finesse about the Muslim-Muslim ticket, instead of joining the bandwagon of religious fanaticism.
“Regarding some Muslim clerics who go against Muslim-Muslim ticket, they are entitled to their opinion, which can’t go down well with majority Muslim north.
“Sometimes, people forget history. In 1979, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe nominated Prof. Ishaya Audu (a Christian) as his running mate. No Muslim or Muslim group in Nigeria decried any foul play.
“Why the shouts now because of what the APC did? Let’s concentrate on choosing competent and trustworthy leaders instead of trivialising the issues at stake. Whoever decries a particular combination of candidates can simply go for another,” he said.
However, the party’s national vice chairman, northwest, Mr. Salihu Moh Lukman, said the APC must convince the electorate that the Muslim-Muslim ticket is not to discriminate against anybody.
He said the leadership of the party considered all factors before arriving at the decision and assured that Tinubu would protect the interest of all.
“Politics is about contest and managing interests. Certainly, the party leadership will have to consider all the factors before arriving at picking the running mate.
“In the end, we have to convince Nigerians that Muslim-Muslim ticket or however you look at it does not mean discrimination against anybody. The party and the candidate will have to work to protect their interests,” he said.