The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has distanced itself from the unveiling of Kashim Shettima as the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
National Public Relations Officer of CAN, Mr Bayo Adedeji, made this known in a short message after images of men said to be “pastors and bishops” went viral.
“Let them name the CAN officials that attended the programme and their offices,” he said. “If they could use 2017 photos to claim that some bishops visited Senator Shettima and lied that Pastor E. A. Adeboye had endorsed them, they could do anything.
“Our position on Muslim-Muslim ticket is irreversible. Anybody can claim to be anything, but one thing is clear, CAN was not part of the unveiling programme of Shettima.”
The reaction by the Christian body comes hours after the ruling party officially presented Shettima – a Muslim – as the running mate to its presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu, who is also a Muslim.
Shettima, a two-term governor of Borno State, is the lawmaker representing Borno Central senatorial district in the National Assembly.
Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, first announced the choice of Shettima as his running mate on July 10 when he paid a sallah homage to President Muhammadu Buhari in his hometown of Daura in Katsina State.
He said the former governor was picked because of his competence, capability, and reliability. But Tinubu’s action has sparked outrage in the country, especially from CAN and various individuals and groups who rejected it.
Amid the concerns raised, the APC flagbearer explained that his action was purely for the good of the nation and its people, and not to disrespect any faith, specifically the two major religions in the country.
He later unveiled Shettima as his running mate at an event held in Abuja where he advised Nigerians to look beyond religion and ethnicity and focus on building a prosperous nation.
“We hold the chance to move the nation and our collective cause forward as never before,” he said on Wednesday. “To do this, we must be wise in our thoughts and courageous in our actions.
“We must win this election so that we can bring jobs, eliminate poverty, educate our children, (and) bring up our grandchildren without thinking of religious division or ethnic differences. We are one. Our passport is one; greenback is one. One nation, one destiny.”