There is no agenda to Islamise Nigeria – Shettima

NIGERIA’S Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima has said the Muslim-Muslim ticket with which he and his principal Bola Tinubu emerged winners of the 2023 presidential election was not an agenda to Islamise the country.

Speaking during a lecture held as part of the presidential inauguration process in Abuja on Saturday, May 27, Shettima said his emergence as vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the February 25 presidential election, despite his religion, was an issue borne out of necessity and not an attempt to Islamise Nigeria.

“I was a child of necessity. There is no Islamisation agenda. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a Muslim who is married to a Christian, not only a Christian but a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Someone who has not Islamised his family, people are alluding that he has the intention to Islamise the nation.

“Politics is about perception. As we begin the formation of a new administration, I deliberately picked an Igbo man, a Catholic, to be my Chief Security Officer,” Shettima said.

The announcement of Shettima as running mate by Nigeria’s President-elect Tinubu, who is also of the Muslim faith, had further fuelled an already existing rumour of an Islamisation agenda and generated controversy.

Convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and elder statesman Edwin Clark had criticised the choice of a Muslim running mate, describing it as a threat to the nation.

Clark said the ticket pointed towards a rumour of an Islamisation agenda.

“There are rumours of an attempt to Islamise the country. Are all these pointers to the confirmation and actualisation of such rumours? One needs to bear in mind the antecedents of the major backers of Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu’s ambition,  who include Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna state; Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Governor of Kano state; and the chosen one, Kashim Shettima,” he said.

Some members of the APC, to which Tinubu and Shettima belong, had also condemned the choice of presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the same faith.

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, while condemning the ticket, accused Tinubu of surrounding himself with bigots.

The senator who represented Adamawa North in the 9th Assembly, Elisha Abbo, also resigned from the Tinubu Campaign Organisation in protest of the ticket.

Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via or @ije_le on Twitter.

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