The All Progressives Congress (APC) vice presidential candidate Kashim Shettima was introduced on Wednesday in Abuja, and the Tinubu Campaign Organization has said that the purported impersonators present were not the bogus clerics that had been reported on social media.
The organization’s spokesperson, Bayo Onanuga, claimed in a statement that the event was open to the public and that anyone could attend, including those wearing cassocks and some other individuals who are currently the target of supposed opposition hirelings’ mockery.
“We want to say that those clergymen were not fake, not mechanics or yam sellers as the purveyors of hatred have made Nigerians to believe in the social media. They are not big names in Christendom yet, they are gradually building up their missions,” the statement read.
“They are church leaders who genuinely believe that Nigerians must eschew politics of hatred and religious bigotry and rather embrace politics of peace and nation building.
“We, therefore, deplore the hysterical twisting of the presence of these men and women in cassocks and the false accusation against our candidates, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Shettima.
“The orchestrated social media sensation over the presence of the men is needless and all calculated to detract from the huge success recorded at the momentous event on Wednesday.
“We believe Nigerians are too wise and discerning to see through this shenanigan. Asiwaju Tinubu and his running mate and our great party are working very hard to provide purposeful leadership and good progressive governance that will improve the quality of life of Nigerians.
“We are well aware that the opposition parties and the sponsors of the social media charade are jittery and threatened by the intimidating political credentials of our candidates. The only way they hope to shift attention of public scrutiny away from their uninspiring candidates and credentials is to create social media distraction.
“Our campaign is determined on focusing on core governance issues that affect all Nigerians with a view to confronting them and make the desired improvements in the standard of living of our people.”
Many Nigerians, particularly Christians and Christian bodies have condemned the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the APC.
Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the party, who is a Muslim, has insisted on having Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate. Tinubu is from Southern Nigeria while Shettima, a former Borno governor, is from the Muslim-dominated Northern part of the country.
The Christian Association of Nigeria has also accused Tinubu’s camp of desperately trying to sell Shettima to Christians, and doing everything, including lying to push out a wrong narrative.
“CAN wonders why the desperation. First, a story was out claiming to have come from the Chairman of CAN Borno state only to be refuted. Secondly, there was another lie that BAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) and his running mate were on their way to meet CAN President one night. A meeting that was not true and was on a night that the CAN President was in Alabama USA attending Baptist World Alliance Conference of which he is the Vice President.
“Another desperation story was that they met Papa Adeboye which the RCCG later refuted. If Christians are not important why the desperation?
“BAT is free to hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them. An effort that will only add to their many ropes when the political exercise is over but will not change the need for fairness and justice that CAN is calling for.
“CAN appreciate that we are in a democracy, no need to do funny and dubious things just to prove a point because it will in the end bounce back. BAT team should simply do what is right and stop the drama,” CAN said.