Our reporter| In an attempt to douse the fear of Christians over the choice of the ruling APC to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket, the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu on Wednesday met with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Abuja.
The meeting is the second leg of the CAN presidential interaction session.
The APC candidate was accompanied by his wife, Oluremi; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, governors, federal lawmakers, and some chieftains of the party.
At the meeting, Tinubu told the CAN leadership that his decision to vie for the nation’s top job is in line with the country’s Constitution as he allayed fears over his same-faith ticket.
“I seek to become Nigerian president not on religious grounds but on the Constitution. Thanks to the body for the invitation to candidates to speak of their plans for the nation,” he said.
“I believe in the need for a secular government and for us to work in the interest of the country just as I did in Lagos State by returning the missionary schools to the rightful owners.
“I never chased people out of Lagos. My choice of Shettima is borne out of the urgent need to address the challenges facing the country as Shettima possesses strong leadership abilities which he exhibited when he was the governor of Borno State. I wanted a progressive government that was why I selected Shettima.
“Choosing a Christian running mate would have been easy but that is not the case. We have urgent challenges that do not depend on religious leanings but on the best of hands that can address it.”
On his part, the CAN President Archbishop Daniel Okoh said the platform is an opportunity “to come together to review our understanding of the Nigerian crisis of development and governance and collectively find a lasting solution”.
“As an association of Christian citizens who believe in this country and continue to pray for its unity, peace, and prosperity, we have spent time reviewing the problems that hinder peace and progress in the country and are hereby making suggestions on how best to improve them,” he added.
“We have consulted with Nigerians of diverse religious, ethnic, and social identities on the problems of the country and the solutions to them have been articulated in the strategic document we call, the Charter for Future Nigeria.”
While Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges, the cleric reiterated that CAN’s interest is for all presidential candidates to “clearly understand the concerns of Nigerian Christians and propose policy and programme to address those concerns. We believe that with this kind of respectful and sincere conversation we will find lasting solutions to these crises”.