The All Progressives Congress has postponed the unveiling of Kassim Shettima as the running mate of its presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 general election.
Shetima was scheduled to have been presented to party members at the APC national Secretariat on Thursday.
However, the Chairman of the APC Press Corp has informed reporters the event has been moved forward.
He said a new date will be announced in due time and that the date would probably be sometime next week.
The Press Corp chairman said the directive for the postponement was given by the party’s Deputy National Secretary.
No reason has been given for the decision which comes amid controversy over the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the party.
Tinubu gave reasons for picking former Governor of Borno State, Kasim Shettima, as his running mate despite agitations against the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
According to Tinubu, he prioritised national growth and development above “religious sentiments” in picking Shettima.
Tinubu said Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that “he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all-important electoral victory”.
The APC presidential candidate recalled that in 1993, Nigerians embraced Chief MKO Abiola and a fellow Muslim running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe, in “one of our fairest elections ever held”.
He explained that if we truly understood the challenges upon Nigeria, citizens would place competence in governance above religious sentiment.
“The spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023,” he added.
Part of the statement read, “I have never been an indecisive man and have no present intention to become one.
“Having now listened to the sage, careful advice of a broad section of the party and the nation, there are a few points I feel I must make about the exceptional and extraordinary person with whom I will share the APC ticket and the principles of open and good governance that informed this choice.
“I am mindful of the energetic discourse concerning the possible religion of my running mate. Just and noble people have talked to me about this. Some have counselled that I should select a Christian to please the Christian community. Others have said I should pick a Muslim to appeal to the Muslim community. Clearly, I cannot do both.
“Both sides of the debate have impressive reason and passionate arguments supporting their position. Both arguments are right in their own way. But neither is right in the way that Nigeria needs at the moment. As president, I hope to govern this nation toward uncommon progress. This will require innovation. It will require steps never before taken. It will also require decisions that are politically difficult and rare.
“If I am to be that type of President, I must begin by being that type of candidate. Let me make the bold and innovative decision not to win political points but to move the nation and our party’s campaign closer to the greatness that we were meant to achieve.
25. Here is where politics ends, and true leadership must begin.
“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.
“May I say this to all of you, especially to those who will be disappointed in my selection based on religious considerations. I will not and cannot ignore the religious concerns and ethnic sensitivities of our people.
Taking them into due consideration is an important part of good and able governance. But religion, ethnicity and region cannot always and fully determine our path. To forge ahead as a nation toward development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds. We must recalibrate our political calculations to where competence and fairness matter more than reductive demographics.”
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