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2023: Kaduna CAN Chairman Reacts to Tinubu’s Choice for Running Mate

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2023: Kadunna CAN Chairman Reacts to Tinubu’s Choice for Running Mate

By Collins Mbakwe

The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna chapter, John Hayab, has described Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s decision to pick a fellow Muslim as his running mate as not only insulting to Christians but aimed at causing further division in the country.

Tinubu, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, had on Sunday announced Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.

While some have commended the move, the majority of prominent people that reacted to the news have condemned it.

Hayab, while speaking in an interview on Arise TV on Monday, suggested that Christians will vote against the ticket just as Muslims would reject a Christian-Christian presidential ticket if it ever emerges.

When asked if Christians will line up behind a Christian presidential candidate due to Tinubu’s choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Hayab said: “Whenever you are hungry, what you do is that you look for food and you’re not going to eat any food that will become a poison to your stomach.

“The kind of food APC is offering to Nigerians is a divisive, it is a poisonous food, it is food that will create tension and will deny people sleep.

“And I’m saying without fear of contradiction that we are looking for a food that will heal wounds, that will unite the people, we’re looking for a food that will make everybody feel that they belong.”

The Kaduna CAN Chairman said Tinubu’s claim that he chose Shettima because he’s competent and the “best man” for the job, was a “flimsy” excuse.

“One of the excuses that was given when this whole idea came up was (that) they were looking for competence. And I have said earlier that I cannot imagine that you are telling me about competence.

“In Nigerian circles and in northern Nigeria, if you bring out ten experts, ten bests, you will definitely find that the first eight are Christians. I’m not saying others are not experts, but you see, it is an insult for people to start giving us this excuse.

“The simple truth about it is that we are looking for the best in Nigeria, but because I’m best and my wife is best, we cannot be the president and the vice-president of Nigeria. If we are looking for the best in Nigeria and because a Lagos man is best and some else in Lagos is also best, we cannot have a Lagos-Lagos person as president and the vice-president, heaven will fall, we know this in Nigeria.

“The same thing, If we are looking for best and we go for a Christian best and get a Christian best as vice, Nigerians will reject it. The fact is that flames will be going up in this country. So, why are we lying to ourselves? Why are we pretending (instead of) facing reality?”

“I will always come to you with the Kaduna experience. In 1987, a preacher in Kaduna told people that Muslims must never vote for a non-Muslim to be a leader. Gradually, this sermon is beginning to resurrect now and what we are telling the political class is don’t divide Nigeria, unite the people.”

The cleric said there are “best people” in every tribe, religion and region, therefore Tinubu could have sought balance in picking his running mate if he wasn’t intentional about causing further division in the country.

“Don’t divide us by using flimsy excuses that can further divide us. Why are we having Federal Character? Why are we sending our children to federal institutions? So that they will integrate with other people. What are we telling them? We don’t want to teach our children the wrong ideas, we want our children to know that anywhere you come from, you can be the best in Nigeria,” he said.

Pressed further on if CAN support a Christian candidate given the current circumstances, Hayab said: “I am sure that the Christian Association of Nigeria will not do that, the Christian Association will line up behind a team that can deliver, a team that has every face, a team that recognizes and respects shades of opinions, because as a conflict manager, if you want to discuss peace with people, you don’t shut down other voices, you don’t refuse to give others the opportunity to be on the table.

Nigeria is in dilemma, Nigeria is in crisis situation and we need leaders from every shade of opinion and we need representation from every interest so that when we come to the table of dialogue, you will know someone is speak what you are speaking.

“There are decisions that are taken when people become one sided and it has affected this country. And the security challenges we are facing in Nigeria today has refused to find solutions, not because we don’t know what to do, but because when decisions are taken one sided, the answer to that decision would be one sided and the solution would never come.

“So, Christians will never say we are going to vote for a Christian, but we will vote for a balanced meal, a meal that appreciates unity, a meal that appreciates understand and a meal that wants to carry everybody along, not a meal that says to hell with you, we don’t care or you’re not qualified, you’re not expert, you don’t know how to do things.”

Tinubu had claimed that his decision to pick Shettima as his running mate was not to please the northern Muslims who are believed to be in the majority in the region.

“Today, I announce my selection with pride because I have made it not based on religion or to please one community or the other. I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region.”
“Here is where politics ends, and true leadership must begin,” he had said.

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