CAN disowns ‘hired’ bishops as APC unveils Shettima

Says Tinubu free to sew clerical garments to mechanics, artisan

I consulted widely before picking Shettima, Tinubu insists
Religious bigotry did not start from the North – Group

By Tunde Joshua

There was mild drama at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, venue of the unveiling of Senator Kashim Shettima as Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as men in cleric garments stormed the event on Wednesday.

Their presence was meant to create an impression that the Christian community is comfortable with the Muslim- Muslim presidential ticket of the party.

Tinubu had on July 10, announced Shettima as his running mate, as a replacement for Ibrahim Masari, who was an ‘interim placeholder’.

The Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and the party have been widely condemned by Nigerians, particularly Christians. Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has totally dissociated itself from Bishops who attended the unveiling describing them as hired personalities who have no link with the Christian body.

But the body said Tinubu, was free to “hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them”

Rev. Joseph John Hayab, Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its chairman in Kaduna State, said, “the people we saw at the unveiling of Shettima paraded as Bishops are people who did not have enough time to learn how to wear Bishop garments. Take a closer look at their photo and you will see another Nollywood movie. The Trumpet Gathered

“CAN wonders why the desperation. First, a story was out claiming to have come from the Chairman of CAN Borno state only to be refuted. Secondly, there was another lie that BAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) and his running mate were on their way to meet CAN President one night. A meeting that was not true and was on a night that the CAN President was in Alabama USA attending Baptist World Alliance Conference of which he is the Vice President.

“Another story of desperation was that they met Papa Adeboye which the RCCG later refuted. If Christians are not important why the desperation?

“BAT is free to hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them. An effort that will only add to their many ropes when the political exercise is over but will not change the need for fairness and justice that CAN is calling for.

“CAN appreciate that we are in a democracy, no need to do funny and dubious things just to prove a point because it will in the end bounce back. BAT team should simply do what is right and stop the drama.”
The presidential candidate, Tinubu, however, said he widely consulted before settling down for Shettima as his running mate.

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Tinubu said “much has been said, written about my decision to select Shettima to partner me on this journey. As a committed and progressive leader, I have read and listened to all that has been written and said. It has been an emotional situation for me.

“Out of many competent Nigerians and out of many advice, I know it has to be my decision. And the hallmark of leadership is taking a decision at the right time when it ought to be taken

“I did consult and I am proud to see all of you here acknowledging the quality of our Vice President Kashim Shettima.”

National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu while commending Tinubu over his choice of Shettima said the presidential candidate is a detribalized Nigerian.

“The 1993 presidential ticket and the current one bridged one of our fourth lines in the management of our adversities. Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for that ticket because they trusted Abiola – a man who opened his arms to every tribe and religion in this country,” Adamu stated.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a man who has also thrown his arm around every tribe in Nigeria. He has offered his shoulders for those in pain to lean on. He has used his wealth to bring succour to the needy.

“He can be trusted to run an inclusive government in which character, competence and vision matter to his administration,” Adamu said

Meanwhile, a group supporting Tinubu has said that the former Lagos State governor should not be castigated because the issue of religious bigotry did not start from the North.

The group, Progressive Volunteers for Tinubu traced the history of religious bigotry to 1962, when a Northern Muslim, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa registered Nigeria as a member of the World Council of Churches and International Bible Society in 1963, without complaint from the Muslim North.

George Udom, National Coordinator of the group stated that Saturday was a working day in Nigeria until 1973, Gowon, a Christian minority from the North declared it a work free day, to enable the Seventh Day Adventist Church to worship, adding that there was no complaint from the Muslim North.

Udom said “In February 1979, Olusegun Obasanjo denied Ahmed Deedat, an Islamic Preacher, entry into Nigeria, no complaint from the Muslim North.

“In 1982 pope John Paul II was welcomed to Nigeria by a Muslim, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

“Reinhart Bonke, a Christian Crusader, had a free entrance to Nigeria at will, no complaint.

“Abacha welcomed Pope John Paul and established Papal Square along Kubwa expressway, no complaints from Muslims.

“But in 1986 when Babangida registered Nigeria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) there was a riot in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, orchestrated and organised by CAN.

“Please who are the Religious Bigots?

“Just recently, the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs distanced itself from all kinds of politics, but what about CAN?

“In 2013, a private jet belonging to the CAN President was intercepted in South Africa loaded with foreign currency, imagine it belonged to the Sultan?

“So people of God, let’s ask ourselves who are the real Religious Bigots before we make another major mistake as a people.”

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