A former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, has attacked the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s presidential candidate, as Shettima’s running mate.
The Convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) stated this in a statement released today. He said the action of the former Lagos State Governor in appointing a Muslim to run with him even as a Muslim in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country threatens Nigeria as a country.
Clark questioned whether the APC presidential candidate’s actions indicated that such rumours about the Islamization of Nigeria were true.
The elder statesman, who serves as the leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), bemoaned the fact that Tinubu’s and the APC’s actions will exacerbate the already severe rift that currently exists in the nation.
“I feel threatened for our beloved country because of how things are going. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, with Christianity and Islam as the major religions, even though Nigeria is a secular state.
“In compliance with Constitutional provisions of inclusiveness, the number one and number two positions in the country, viz, President and Vice President, have always been occupied by practitioners of the two major religions to ensure balancing.
“It will be recalled that the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, could not be chosen in 2015 as Vice President to Muhammadu Buhari because he is a Muslim and Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim. Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, in his own words, confirmed this in his statement in Abeokuta, Ogun State. What has changed? One quality of a good leader is consistency. A good leader must act in the same way at all times. He must not display double standards.
“Today, what has the Presidential candidate of the APC, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, done? He has picked a person of his religion, a Muslim, as his Running-mate. Such choice is not inclusive. It is not good for a secular state like Nigeria.
“There is presently a sharp division in the country, even on religious lines, and all patriots are seeking ways to salvage the situation. Therefore, Alhaji Tinubu’s decision to take a fellow Muslim as his running mate will further worsen the situation in the country. He should know that patriotism is a quality of a good leader.
“On the reasons adduced by Alhaji Tinubu on why he chose Kashim Shettima as Running-mate, is the APC Presidential Flag bearer telling Nigerians that there are no Christians in the APC from the north who are “competent, capable and reliable?”
“There are rumours of an attempt to Islamise the country. Are all these pointers to the confirmation and actualisation of such rumours.
“One needs to bear in mind the antecedents of the major backers of Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu’s ambition, which include Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State, and the chosen one – Kashim Shettima.
“Both the Governor and Deputy Governor in Kaduna State are Muslims. A blatant action by the Governor, Nasir el-Rufai. Unfortunately, the APC Gubernatorial candidate for the 2023 election is following suit. Is there a deliberate move of making Kaduna an Islamic State?
“Unconfirmed statistics put the ratio of Christians and Muslims in Kaduna State as 50/50; some statistics even put it as 55% for Christians and 45% for Muslims, yet Nasir el-Rufai, despite complaints and agitations by people not only from Kaduna State but from the entire country, ‘decided’ to pick a Muslim as his Deputy,” Clark’s statement titled ‘On Muslim – Muslim Ticket’ partly reads.
It is a fallacy, in Chief Clark’s opinion, to believe that if you are not from the north, you might not be elected. The argument that you cannot win an election unless you are from the north, a Muslim, or a Muslim supports you even though you are not a Muslim should therefore be promptly abandoned by those who accept it.
He believed that just as the south required the north to be in power, so did the north. No component can accomplish it on its own.