Kashim Shettima

By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

A mammoth crowd of Christians from the 19 northern states, on Friday, stormed the Aso Villa State House, Abuja to protest the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima by the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as his running mate.

The demonstrators also presented a protest letter to the President Muhammadu Buharj over Tinubu’s decision, saying these are not the best times for Christians in the APC and Nigeria in general.

Leader of the group, Moses Adams, who read the text of the letter before journalists, said: “Our sensibilities have been insulted by the ambition of a select few that have elected to throw caution into the wind.

“As you may be aware, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. The two major religions in the country are Islam and Christianity. And these have defined our way of life since the country attained independence in 1960. Successive governments in the country have respected the multi-religious nature of the country, especially during elections, to create a balance in the leadership of the country.

“We are therefore alarmed by the decision of the All Progressive Congress Party (APC) to disregard the Christian community in the choice of its vice presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential elections. Without mincing words, this is unacceptable and a recipe for creating sharp divides between the Muslims and the Christians in the country,” he said

“Mr. President, since the return of democracy in 1999 in Nigeria, the tradition has been a Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim paring by all political parties. And this has to a large extent, ensured religious harmony in the country.

“However, the move by our party to adopt a Muslim-Muslim ticket is most insensitive and the height of discrimination against Christians in our country. This is on the heels that other political parties indeed reflected the religious balance in the composition of their presidential team.”

The group said it wondered why the APC elected to tow this path of dishonour that, in its considered opinion, is deliberate to relegate the Christians in Nigeria into oblivion, which is not in the best interest of the country in this critical period of our existence.

“Your Excellency Sir, we the Christians in Northern Nigeria are displeased and angered by this insensitivity. By their action, the APC sent a strong message that Christians are not relevant in the scheme of things in the country.

“The APC has also displayed religious intolerance that would eventually bring about religious tension in the country if not reversed in the overarching objective of entrenching peace and tranquillity.

“As stakeholders in the APC, we know that there are credible Christians in the APC from northern Nigeria and other parts of the country who are dedicated and have outstanding credentials that could make the vice presidential slot.

“Mr. President Sir, we are tempted to mention that the move by the APC is intended to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion along ethno-religious lines. And you must admit that this is not what Nigeria needs, in all fairness.

“This despicable display aggrieves the Christian community in Nigeria by the APC in presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 presidential elections.

“We are using this medium to appeal to your good office to intervene in reversing this ignoble move by the party’s Presidential Candidate.

“We demand that you invite the Presidential Candidate of the party to quickly retrace his steps immediately,” the group stressed.

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