Festus Keyamo, the spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, has issued a warning to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria to cease meddling in the business of the ruling party.
Keyamo added that because the two main Christian organisations are not APC members, they cannot choose Bola Tinubu’s running mate.
“Is PFN members of APC? Or CAN, are they members of APC? Picking a vice-presidential candidate for our party is an internal party decision. So, these external bodies are part of our party. If they wanted to take part in the decision process, they can as well come and join the political party, but they cannot stay outside and dictate to us,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics programme last night.
When Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, was selected as Tinubu’s running mate for the 2023 presidential election, CAN and PFN vehemently criticised the APC.
The ruling party had to choose a Christian running mate in addition to Tinubu, who identifies as a Muslim after the religious organisations insisted that it should abandon the concept of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
While the PFN condemned the Forum, some Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria members met with Tinubu on Friday in what looked to be a covert endorsement of the APC presidential candidate amid the same religious dispute.
Keyamo stated last night on Sunday Politics that the PFN AND CAN have options and shouldn’t be stuck on the APC.
“The PFN are not members of our party. They should go and vote that day.
“They should not be coming to question the decision of our party publicly. The purpose of pastors or their duty is to lead people to heaven, not to lead people to (presidential) villa,” Keyamo said
“Religion does not matter in the north. They want to vote for who they want to vote for,” he noted.
“We have northern Christians who are passionate about our party, who are genuinely supporting the party, who are part of the campaign council as I speak,” Keyamo remarked about the APC’s recent announcement of its list of the 422-man presidential campaign council.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, and former Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba were not on the list, which also included serving governors and former ministers.
Dogara and Lawal vehemently opposed Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim like himself as running mate. In contrast, Osinbajo and Nwajiuba had competed in the presidential primaries of the ruling party with Tinubu, who ultimately won.