Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu has said the choice of his running mate has nothing to do with religion.
He said selection of Sen. Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as his running mate had to do with competence, experience, ability and vision.
Tinubu made this known in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Tunde Rahman on Saturday in Lagos.
The APC presidential candidate was reacting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s comment in a television interview on Friday.
Abubakar had said that a Muslim-Muslim Ticket made him reject Tinubu when he wanted to be his running mate in 2007.
According to Tinubu, Atiku can attest that the person I selected as my running mate is more qualified for the position than the man who joined him.
“In his desperate attempt to win the election by stoking religious bias, Atiku has reduced himself to uttering baseless lies.
“My running mate and I are here to build a more just and prosperous society for all Nigerians, be they Christian, Muslim or adherents of other faiths.
‘Atiku will fail in this sad attempt to trick an entire nation,” he said.
The former governor of Lagos State, therefore, restated his position on religion and politics, saying that when he decided that Shettima was the best selection as his running mate, he listened to, weighed and balanced the advice received from a broad and representative array of wonderful Nigerians.
“Nigerians who deeply care about this nation and the path it must go.
“Some people counselled that I should select a Christian to garner support of the Christian community.
“Some said I should select a Muslim for a similar reason but l clearly could not do both because both positions had merit and right on their side.
“Neither position expressed what was most right and needed for the moment in which we find ourselves and the nation,” Tinubu explained.
The APC presidential candidate noted that all his life, the decisions regarding the team supporting him had always been guided by the principles of competence, innovation, compassion, integrity, fairness, and adherence to excellence.
He stressed that he was not going to depart from those principles at this important period.
Tinubu added that it was more important than ever before, that he adhered to these principles.
“As governor of Lagos state, these principles helped me assemble one of the most capable governing cabinets any state or this nation has seen.
“I trust in these principles to allow them to, once more, guide me to construct another exemplary teams that can do Nigeria proud.
“In this crucial moment, where so much is at stake, we must prioritise leadership, competence, and the ability to work as a team over other considerations.
“This is the standard I will use to select the rest of my campaign team and if you elect me as your president when I staff my government,” he said.
The APC presidential candidate said that if elected, he would select the best people for the right jobs so that they could construct a better Nigeria now and for generations yet to come.
Responding to the false account of the PDP presidential candidate, Tinubu recalled that Atiku was not among those who founded the Action Congress (AC).
“It was the actual founders of the AC who offered the party’s flag to Atiku because of the need to fight the authoritarian designs of then President Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP had on Nigeria’s democracy.
“At that moment, Atiku, the vice president then, had been unceremoniously pushed aside if not out of the PDP by Obasanjo.
“We needed to rally all forces to confront the one-party state Obasanjo had in mind and Atiku was simply a beneficiary of this collective duty to fight the attack on multi-party democracy the PDP had launched,” Tinubu explained.
The former governor of Lagos state said he felt sorry for Atiku, adding that the love of his own ambition had eclipsed his relationship with the truth and an honest account of the past.