Mr. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), told members of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria yesterday that his intention was to develop Nigeria and end hunger, not to preach religion.
Tinubu stated this in an address to the Bishops in Abuja, explaining that his choice of running mate went beyond religion.
The presidential candidate stated that he has always been a friend of the Christian community and that he should be considered based on his track record, plans, and agenda for Nigeria’s development.
Tinubu stated that his plans were to improve Nigeria’s fortunes as well as to mend fences across religious and ethnic lines in the country.
“How will Nigeria grow?” How can we put an end to hunger? How do we reduce insecurity and eliminate killing one another and the shedding of innocent citizens’ blood? That is what we must bring to work, not our religion.
“My intention is crystal clear. Not religion. My intention is to develop this country, to bring prosperity to our country, and I have better qualifications, track record, exposure, and vision than any of my colleagues.”
He reiterated that Senator Kashim Shettima was chosen as his running mate based on competence, capacity, and fairness.
“When the shortlisted names came, I looked at the characters on the list, their background and everything, and here is somebody (Shettima) who is so brilliant, so committed, who protected Christians during the crisis in Borno,” Tinubu added.
He then urged all Nigerians to reject religious sentiment in favor of intellectual inclusivity.
Archbishop John Praise, Chairman of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria, stated in his remarks that the Christian body was not committed to endorsing any candidate ahead of the 2023 elections.
“We are not committed to endorsing anyone,” he said, “but you should ask your conscience and make your own judgement of who will better rule and handle the country based on what you have heard and the explanation he (Tinubu) has given us.”
Senator Grace Brent of Adamawa State, a ruling party chieftain, expressed hope that Tinubu’s presidency would usher in a new era for the body of Christ in the country in general and northern Nigeria in particular.