The Tinubu Campaign Organisation has followed the heated debate that the choice of our vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima has generated in the country .
The TCO restates that religion or ethnicity was far from the calculations of the All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in picking his running mate.
If Asiwaju 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. If he wanted 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.
When Nigerians stand together, they have been known to achieve incredibly positive outcomes. That is the lesson from our history. To now succumb to the the base ends of identity, by further straining our already difficult ethnic and religious cleavages, is a great disservice to the country and to citizens who had no choice about their parentage, ethnicity or religion at birth.
Either as christians, muslims or traditional worshipers, as Nigerians, what should be important to us today and tomorrow is our commonwealth as citizens of this great nation.
The TCO will like to recall the statement by Asiwaju Tinubu, by way of a closing note, when he assured all Nigerians that he was not oblivious of the religious and ethnic sensitivities of the nation, and that he picked Shettima in fulfillment of the overriding interest 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”.
“Both sides of the debate have impressive reason and passionate arguments supporting their position. Both arguments have good reasons in support of their claims. But the assurances I bring is that as President, I hope to govern this country towards greatness and progress, deploying the tools of modern innovation to resolve seemingly intractable problems that have dogged our country and hindered our match toward greatness. I make this pledge on honoured promise knowing full well that some of the decision may be politically difficult.”
“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. I come from a background and orientation of pluralism that understands that the greatest gift contemporary Nigerian leadership needs today is sensitivity to the management of our complex diversity,” Tinubu said.