By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA — The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has disclosed of its resolve to formally unveil its Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to the Nigerian public on Wednesday. The development comes as the Tinubu Campaign Organization TCO has defended the choice of Mr Shettima, saying the APC standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu wanted the best for the country in making his calculations.
Spokesman of the Tinubu Campaign Organization, Bayo Onanuga, noted that the team has followed the heated debate that the choice of 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”, he stated.
According to him, 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”, Onanuga added.
He said there was no such consideration, as Tinubu instead 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”, Onanuga added.
He said to now succumb to the the base ends of identity, by further straining Nigeria’s 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”, he stated.
Meanwhile, National Organizing Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Sulaiman Argungu in a statement said all Members of the National Executive Committee NEC as well as Members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum have been invited to Shettima’s unveiling.
Others invited are Members of APC Caucus in the National Assembly, Members of the Federal Executive Council FEC, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Presidential Aspirants at the June 2022 Special National Convention, APC State Chairmen, APC State Secretaries and APC State Organizing Secretaries.