The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urged Nigerians to strive for the commonwealth of the country rather than the argument over religion and ethnic nationality..
The former Lagos State governor, in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Director, Media and Communication of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, said he picked Shettima ss a running mate because of his track record of development.
Tinubu has been criticised especially by Christians over his choice of a Muslim running for the 2023 presidential election.
The presidential candidate , who admitted that his choice of Shettima has generated a heated debate across the country, however, argued that if he intended to cash in on ethnicity, he would have picked a running mate from the North Western part of Nigeria, which has the highest number of registered voters.
He also said, if he were to appeal to the base instincts of religion, he would have also gone for a candidate in the Christian-dominated parts of Nigeria.
“But there was no such consideration. Instead he picked a tested politician and technocrat from the minority Kanuri ethnic group from the North East.
“The factors at play were issues germane to confronting the multi-dimensional crisis our nation faces today: insecurity, economic problems, such as the unemployment crisis facing our youths.
“Our candidate canvassed on his track record in Lagos to win the APC primary last June. As governor between 1999 and 2007, he was able to transform a decadent state into the fourth biggest economy in Africa. He believes that his feat in Lagos can be replicated all over Nigeria.
“To assist him in realising this vision, he picked Kashim Shettima, who also established a track record of development in Borno State while he was governor for eight years, despite the Boko Haram crisis. Surely, only the deep knows how to call onto the deep.
“Nigerians have a lot to gain in having the two tested leaders at the helm of affairs.
“Naturally, some Nigerians with closet motives have failed to see the opportunities and possibilities the twin candidates present to our country at this time of difficult security, economic and political developments, preferring to fan the embers of religion and ethnic divisions among their unsuspecting and vulnerable compatriots.
“The TCO hereby appeals to fellow Nigerians to embrace the best elements of our common purpose and reject the campaign and incitement against fellow citizens”, the statement added.
Tinubu said it was a great disservice to the country and to citizens to push ethnic and religious narratives to strain the already difficult ethnic and religious divide in the country.
He added that whether as Christians, Muslims or traditional worshipers, what should be important to Nigerians should be the commonwealth of the country.