The Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has received the support of some Christian clerics in Abuja to become Nigeria’s next President after Muhammadu Buhari.
The religious heads under the aegis of the Nigerian Coalition of Pastors for Good Leadership said as far as the presidential race is concerned, Nigeria is left with only two candidates, Bola Tinubu and Labour Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi.
The clerics, however, said the candidate of the APC has the right frame of mind to rule the country and is the best for the highest political position in the country come 2023.
Naija News understands that the Pastors stated this after a town hall meeting with some party chieftains of Tinubu’s support group, City Boy Movement.
In a statement jointly signed by the coalition president, Apostle Babatunde Oguntimehin, and secretary, Revd Friday Obi, the Christian spiritual heads said they are advocates of power shift and chose to support Tinubu being the ‘best’ when compared to Obi.
According to the clerics, it would be unfair for Nigerians to sacrifice the capacity of the APC candidate on the altar of the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The statement read: “It is with a deep sense of duty that we members of Nigerian Coalition of Pastors for Good Leadership decide this morning to make known our position on the coming national election, especially as it concerns the vexed issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket as adopted by the ruling APC.
“Our primary responsibility will be less arduous with a functional nation and a working system. Given this, we have considered it a civic responsibility and a noble cause to support and promote the candidates that can best serve the interest of our nation toward realizing her dreams.
“For a start, we fully support the power shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner would have ruled for eight years. This is for equity and fairness and in the spirit of the existing unwritten rule to have power rotate between North and South.
“We were left to choose between His Excellencies Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Peter Gregory Obi, the frontline candidates from the South. After consideration of so many critical factors and wide consultation, we have decided to settle for the candidacy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.”
Oguntimehin said the pastors hinged their decision to endorse Tinubu on several factors. Continuing, the coalition president described Nigeria as a complex nation that someone with demonstrable experience could only govern, capacity, ability, and capability, evident in the Tinubu/Shettima ticket.
He added that the APC national leader had remained loyal to the cause of Nigeria, which was demonstrated through his involvement in NADECO activities that brought the military to its knees and ushered in the current democracy in 1999.
“We have since noted that making religion or faith the top factor in choosing a candidate for the nation has never helped and will never help this nation. We cannot, therefore, sacrifice quality leadership on the altar of religion or tribe.
“It is therefore with sadness that we note the unnecessary controversies that have trailed the partnership of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, both of whom are Muslims.
“It would be pretentious and preposterous of the NCPGL to dismiss the concerns from some quarters over the Muslim-Muslim ticket. But it is important to urge Nigerians to look beyond religion in choosing the nation’s leadership,” he said.
Our Stand On No Same Faith Ticket Stands – CAN
The Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) has, however, reiterated its stand on kicking against APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Reacting to the declaration of the Abuja Pastors on Sunday, Luminous Jannamike, Special Assistant on Media to the CAN President, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, said the clerics who declared their support for the former Governor of Lagos are faceless.
Jannamike disclosed that since the body could not prevent individuals and self-acclaimed ministers from carrying out their activities, they could not be seen joining issues with religious blocs not affiliated with CAN.
He said, “The message is very simple and clear. We still stand on our earlier stance of ‘No to the same-faith ticket.’ As far as we are concerned, they are a faceless group. We can’t be seen joining issues with them. They are free to do what they want to do.
“We must be conscious that people can congregate under any platform they want and say whatever they want. These people are not affiliated to CAN, and we don’t even know them. They (Abuja pastors) are individuals who chose to endorse Tinubu. Good luck to them!
“Had it been that it was the Catholic Church, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria or any of CAN blocs that did this, the association would be in a position to give a response. The truth is we don’t even know them.”