All Progressives Congress Muslim youths, on Tuesday, kicked against the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the 2023 general elections.
They urged Tinubu to replace Shettima with a Christian political leader or cleric from the North without any delay to enhance the party’s fortunes ahead of the polls.
Leader of the group, Abdullahi Saleh, at a press conference in Abuja, said they were vehement and total in their rejection of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Saleh said though Tinubu reserved the right to take decisions on his choice of running mate, it must not be made against the collective sensibilities of the people.
According to him, “As concerned stakeholders of the APC in the 19 Northern States in the country, we find it worrisome that such a decision could be taken without recourse to its implication on the electoral chances of the party and the attendant uproar such a decision could bring about in the country.
“It is also worrisome that of all the country’s political parties, only the APC presented a Muslim-Muslim ticket. In our opinion, this is insensitive and a gross display of a lack of respect for our Christian brothers and sisters.
“This is on the heels that the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is a Muslim from South West Nigeria, and picking another Muslim from the Northern part of the country as his running mate is politically and morally indefensible.
“We hold the firm conviction that such a move can boomerang with unpleasant consequences for the APC at the general elections, hence the need for the party’s leadership to make haste to correct this error of judgment.”
Saleh stated that in Northern Nigeria there are credible candidates with rich credentials and with massive grassroots following that can complement the presidential ticket of the APC in the presidential elections.
He added, “As such, the 19 APC states Northern Muslims Forum sees the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected with immediate effect by the relevant authorities within the party.
“The implication of non-action in this regard can only be imagined, so much so that the majority of the eligible voters in Northern Nigeria have elected to boycott the APC in protest of the disrespect and disregard to Northern Christians, whose population and relevance in the scheme of things in the region cannot be overemphasized.
“As a group, we wish to state unequivocally that we reject the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the APC.
“This decision is hinged on the need to ensure a balance in the presidential ticket of the APC, as it has been since the return of democracy in 1999.
“The APC must respect the religious diversity of the country. We hold the opinion that emphasis must be placed on ensuring a united house before the elections and not a fragmented house.”
The youths, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Tinubu to replace the vice presidential candidate of the APC with a Christian as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
They stated, “If the APC is desirous of recording electoral success in the 2023 presidential elections, it must retrace its steps by selecting a Christian cleric as its vice presidential candidate. The party must not be perceived as promoting a religious agenda by fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“The 19 APC States Northern Muslim Forum condemns such a move in its totality as it is a recipe for the entrenchment of mutual suspicion between the Muslims and the Christians in the country, which won’t augur well for relative peace and tranquillity.
“We consequently say no to a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to kindly intervene to save the party from an electoral crisis. We urge Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to emulate the example of President Muhammadu Buhari in the choice of his running mate in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.
“This stance is hinged on the national interest. Our Christian brothers and sisters deserve a place in the scheme of things, and the APC must not be seen as a religiously insensitive party. The time to act is now.”