The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, says he understands the reservation and apprehension of Christians in the country over the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket fielded by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had picked former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate. Both Tinubu and Shettima are Muslims from the South-West and North-East respectively.
The choice of Shettima has met stiff criticisms from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), as well as prominent northern Christian leaders of the APC.
But Governor Akeredolu, however, noted that it will be unfair to pass up the opportunity of the southern presidency because of the same faith ticket.
Akeredolu, who spoke on Sunday, at the 40th Holy Ghost Convention Dinner of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Agbowo, Ibadan, Oyo State capital, said he led his colleagues in the Southern Governors’ Forum to demand a Southern Presidency, despite stiff opposition from some quarters.
The Governor in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said, “Luckily, it did not only come to South, it came to the South-West. Now, where do we stand? I understand our feelings because I’m one of you. I am a Christian. All of us here are worried. What will be our gain, and that, why is my party, the APC, throwing up a Muslim/Muslim ticket.
“It has been a real issue for all of us. Even members of the party, it has been an issue for us. We have debated it, fought it and we have done so many things on it. I have always said to people, my fight was for Southern President.
“Now it has come to the South-West, will I now throw the baby away with the bathwater? Can I, in all honesty, do it? Should I, in all honesty, do it?
“We call it a matter of coincidence. It is a matter of conscience. All of us are here, why don’t we look at it from one angle. The buck stops on the table of the President. Do we have a capable hand who can manage the affairs if given the opportunity? Do you have a man who is bold enough to challenge incursion into our land? That is it.
“All of us here have lived together for years and we didn’t allow religion to bring fight among us. We have Muslims in our families and there is no fight. We have many leaders in Yoruba land who have both Muslims and Christians in their families and there is no fight.
“So, we want to appeal to our people that this is our time. I want to appeal to all our senior Pastors and General Overseers to help talk to their followers. We politicians can only do little. This is our time, please don’t be angry.”