The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, met with some Christian clerics under the aegis of Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria.
The clerics, led by John Praise, the presiding bishop of Dominion Chapel International Church, met with Mr Tinubu in Abuja.
At the meeting, Mr Tinubu informed the clerics that several names were shortlisted as his running mate but that he picked Kashim Shettima because of how he (Shettima) protected Christians while he was governor of Borno State.
Mr Tinubu told the delegation that his intention is clear, which is to develop the country. He added that he is one of the best friends of the Christian Community in Nigeria.
“How will Nigeria develop? How do we banish hunger improve security and eliminate killings of one another? That is what we must take to the office, not our religion. When the shortlisted names came, I looked at their characters, their background and everything.
“Yes, somebody so brilliant, so committed, who had, during the crisis in Borno, protected Christians. My intention is clear, not for religiosity. My intention is to develop this country, to bring prosperity. I have better qualifications, a better track record and better vision than any of my mates.
“Why do we want to stay divided? I am standing before you that I have one of the best friends of the Christian community in this country. Let us develop intellectual inquisitiveness. To build an understanding. Which way Nigeria.”
The decision of Mr Tinubu, a Muslim from the south, to tap Mr Shettima, a Muslim from the north, as his running mate is still generating backlash from some quarters in the country.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had strongly opposed it. During the unveiling of Mr Shettima as the APC vice presidential candidate in Abuja, CAN disowned the clerics that attended the event, calling them fake bishops.
Equally, some northern politicians in the APC who belong to the Christian faith, have vowed to defeat the Muslim/Muslim ticket.
On Tuesday, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, asked Christians not to waste their votes on a Muslim/Muslim ticket.
Similarly on Wednesday, Babachir Lawal, a former secretary to the government of the federation, during an interview on Arise TV, said he will be mobilisingsupporters to defeat the Muslim/Muslim ticket.