The Director General of Asiwaju Tinubu-Shettima Coalition for Good Governance, Adebayo Shittu, has advised those against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket to seek redress in court.
Recall that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, had vowed to mobilise northern Christian electorates to vote against the candidate of the ruling party in the 2023 election over his decision to field a Muslim as his running mate.
Reacting in an interview with The PUNCH, Shittu, a former Minister of Communications, accused Lawal and Dogara of trying to incite Nigerians to cover up the frustrations of losing out to a better candidate.
He asked the duo to go to court for redress if they felt Tinubu’s action ran foul against the Constitution of Nigeria.
Adebayo Shittu said: “I don’t even want to believe there is anything called APC Northern Christians or Muslims. I see that as rubbish. APC is not a religious organisation but a political party guided strictly by laws of Nigerians and the Constitution of the party. I have not seen in what way Tinubu violated either the Constitution of Nigeria or the APC. If he violated such, people know what to do. They can head straight for the court. If it is that of the APC Tinubu violated, of course, the party should know what to do.
“I suspect that some people who have been positioning themselves for the vice presidential candidate ticket, if religion was the major determinant and not satisfied with happened, are trying to sensationalise the issue.
I am not speaking for Tinubu, but I want to say with all humility and as a knowledgeable Nigerian who also happens to be in the APC, the candidate was not elected as a flagbearer because he was a Muslim. He was elected out of the 23 aspirants because he was considered to be the most fitting who could give other parties a good fight. And he also didn’t choose his running mate based on religion but on the basis of zone and who can best deliver the votes from the section he comes from.”
When reminded that even Christian candidates from the same region can also deliver the goods, Shittu said, “I can’t say unless you give me the evidence. Election is not a matter of people taking risks. It is not about religion. It won’t have made sense to pick a minority. It is about who can deliver the votes and it is the prerogative of the presidential candidate to choose his running mate.
“But where you have people threatening that because they are Christians from the North, they won’t vote, they are just shooting themselves in the leg. Are you saying that Muslims didn’t vote Dogara during his election or the other Senator from Adamawa? Can he win without the Muslims’ votes? These are the issues. They ought not to have restricted the whole thing to just religion. It is not even in their own interests. In any case, election period is near. Let’s see what will happen.”