Details of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s meeting with Northern Christian leaders over his decision to pick former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate has emerged.
Recall that Tinubu met with the leaders of the Arewa Church under the aegis of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria last Thursday at the APC Presidential Campaign Headquarters in Abuja, where they discussed issues bordering on his choice of Vice-President and why he thought they should not be worried as a Christian community.
Tinubu, in his reply, stated he’s offering himself for the service of the nation with the absolute capacity and competence that can resolve the political and socio-economic challenges bedeviling the nation, noting he would never undermine the interest of any religion.
He said he has always been a friend of the Christian community and he should be considered based on his track record, plans, and agenda for developing Nigeria.
As reported by Vanguard, a source at the meeting confirmed that most of those in attendance had come with the intention to hear Tinubu’s reasons for picking a fellow Muslim from the North as running mate, and his explanation at the end of it all never disappointed them.
It was noted by the insider noted that the Pentecostal bishops were at the meeting not only to engage the former Lagos State governor on his decision for the Vice-Presidency, but also to ask him of his plans for Christians in the North.
Three Important Questions Northern Bishops Asked Bola Tinubu
The source disclosed that they grilled Tinubu on three questions considered to be of fundamental concern to Christians in the North, and they were not disappointed with his superior point of argument.
The source continued: “We were led to the meeting by the Deputy President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Archbishop John Praise, who had made it clear that the forum was to listen to Asiwaju with a sole view of understanding why he decided to go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket in spite of the array of qualified Christians in the North.
“To buttress his point and set the tone for the engagement, he quoted John 7:51 which reads, ‘’Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him out on what he has been doing?’’
“We asked Tinubu three burning questions agitating the minds of Christians in the North. First, we asked him: What are your plans for Christians in the North in light of your insistence on picking a Muslim vice-presidential candidate from our region?
“We also asked him to respond to the remarks by Shettima at the NBA Conference that he will oversee security while Tinubu will direct the economy. Finally, we asked the APC presidential candidate for his views on the incessant attacks on Christian communities in the North.”
Bola Tinubu’s Decisive and Convincing Responses
Multiples sources told Vanguard that Tinubu spoke of the Muslim-Muslim controversy in a bid to allay the fears of the Northern Christians, noting that his choice of a Muslim Shettima was strategic and not meant to undermine the importance of the significant northern Christian population. He stated that Nigeria should be looking forward to a day when it could be Muslim-Muslim or Christian- Christian; but with the present reality, he only considered Shettima after carefully studying his antecedent as a leader who stood with the Christian community in Borno and helped them re-built destroyed churches at the time Bokoharam terrorists were ravaging their land.
One of the sources said: “For our first poser to him, Asiwaju said much. He was able to confront us with a superior point of view that the decision of a major opposition party to jettison the power rotation between the North and South altered what would have been the initial political arrangement, noting that it is important to win an election first before considering any other factors. He summarise his response by saying we cannot talk about sharing a cake that has not been baked.
“His response to our second question was that the Constitution specified the roles and responsibilities of the President and his vice. So, there is no doubt about who will do what in the office if they win 2023.”
On the killing of Christians in the North and possible Islamisation, another source said Tinubu said he would not be part of such an extremist agenda, stating that he has not Islamised his immediate family and wouldn’t do so to over 200 million persons.
Another source added: “Tinubu was able to convince us of the strategic reason he opted for Kassim Shettima, citing the deviation of a major opposition party from the gentleman agreement of power rotation between the North and South as responsible for the paradigm shift. Most of us at the meeting were able to tap into his superior point of argument and we are satisfied with his sincerity of purpose.
“We believe that Tinubu will make a good President. His intentions are pure, and we absolutely find no reason why we can’t practically support him to become the President come 2023.
“The mood of everyone at the end of the meeting speak volumes,” he concluded.
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