President Muhammadu Buhari has finally reacted to the emergence of Kashim Shettima as Bola Tinubu’s running mate.
Recall that Tinubu, a Southern Muslim is the flagbearer of the All Progressive Congress, APC. While choosing his Vice, the APC national leader named former Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, a Northern Muslim his running mate for the forthcoming presidential election.
Tinubu’s choice of running mate elicited lots of condemnation from all quarters as many said the Muslim-Muslim ticket will bring more division to a polarized country like Nigeria.
However, lending his voice, President Buhari in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the emergence of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress was “purely democratic.”
The President said this during his Sallah homage to the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman.
He said there was no need for him to interfere in the APC’s process of choosing a presidential candidate knowing the competence of all the aspirants in the race before the primaries.
According to him, “When the Independent National Electoral Commission signaled parties to elect their presidential candidates, we had 30 aspirants, mostly ministers in my cabinet and governors.
“I told each of the aspirants to go and do their best. One particular governor, in his wisdom, came to meet me and asked who they should vote for at the party convention, checking if I had a preferred candidate.
“There was no need for interference, knowing the competence of all the aspirants. They went and elected Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and he picked his running mate, Sen. Kashim Ibrahim process for the 2023 elections. I am praying that we will have peaceful and successful elections.”
The President said the openness and fairness with which the election convention and the nomination convention of the APC were conducted should be seen as the affirmation of the spirit of fairness and openness with which the 2023 general elections will be conducted.