UPDATED: Amid CAN’s Opposition To Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Tinubu Meets Association In Abuja
The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, is holding a meeting with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at the Christian Ecumenical Centre in Abuja on Wednesday.
Prior to the announcement of presidential candidates and running mates by political parties, the CAN had warned against fielding politicians of same religion particularly for the presidency.
But the APC candidate, Tinubu, chose Kashim Shetimma, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate citing competence.
CAN and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria frowned on the APC’s choice and continued to voice their opposition.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has stated it clearly that the situation in the country now is not suitable for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“It is up to Nigerians to accept or reject. Today’s Nigeria is not the same when Nigerians voted Abiola-Kingibe ticket which was eventually annulled,” the CAN reacted in a statement on July 10, 2022.
The meeting is believed to be a move by Tinubu to convince CAN to support his choice of running mate.
Tinubu reportedly arrived the venue alongside his wife, Pastor Oluremi Tinubu, Governors Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Others in his entourage are the Speaker of the House of Respresentarives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Senator Orji Uzo Kalu.
At the meeting, Tinubu told the CAN leadership that his choice of Shettima was borne out of the urgent need to address the challenges facing Nigeria, adding that “Shettima possesses strong leadership abilities which he exhibited when he was the governor of Borno State. I wanted a progressive government that was why I selected Shettima.”
He continued, “I seek to become Nigerian president not on religious grounds but on the Constitution. Thanks to the body for the invitation to candidates to speak of their plans for the nation.
“I believe in the need for a secular government and for us to work in the interest of the country just as I did in Lagos State by returning the missionary schools to the rightful owners.
“I never chased people out of Lagos. Choosing a Christian running mate would have been easy but that is not the case. We have urgent challenges that do not depend on religious leanings but on the best of hands that can address it.”
CAN’s president Archbishop Daniel Okoh maintained that political parties must “clearly understand the concerns of Nigerian Christians and propose policy and programme to address those concerns. We believe that with this kind of respectful and sincere conversation we will find lasting solutions to these crises”.
The meeting is part of an interactive session with 2023 presidential candidates organized by the association with a view to analyzing and proffering solutions to Nigeria’s problems.
On Tuesday, Okoh told a number of presidential candidates and attendees that rescuing Nigeria requires a political leadership that is passionate about positively affecting the citizenry.
“The overriding concept in this transformation is ‘democratic citizenship’, which should be the focus of governance at all levels in Nigeria in promoting the socioeconomic well-being of every Nigerian citizen, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or social pedigree,” he said.