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Muslim-Muslim ticket winning option for Tinubu – APC Chieftain

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An All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in Ondo State, Mr Alex Kalejaiye, has defended the party’s presidential standard bearer, Bola Tinubu’s choice of Sen. Kashim Shetima as his running mate, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

It was reported that Tinubu had, on July 10, unveiled Shetima, a former two-term governor of Borno, as his vice-presidential candidate, with the decision generating mixed reactions from Nigerians.

Kalejaiye, in a telephone interview with our reporter on Thursday in Okitipupa, Ondo State, said that by picking Shetima, Tinubu had only explored the available option, based on his political calculation on wining the presidential election.

Kalejaiye, who is also the APC Spokesman in the state, said that Tinubu must have gone through serious consultations with an array of Christian political friends, ardent supporters and allies before settling for the former Borno governor.

He noted that a few months ago, the initial clamour was for power to shift to the South, which, he said, APC had acceded to.

“It behooves the candidate to look at the array of eminently qualified party stalwarts from the North and pick the one he believes can assist him in winning the presidential election.

“Many people have curiously refused to demonstrate understanding over the matter. And it is simple; a politician will always explore avenues open to him in his political calculations, all aimed at winning election.

“This is exactly what happened in 1993 when the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola opted for Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe as his running mate and this was without any objection from any quarters on the choice of Muslim-Muslim for the election.

“Before him, the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, contested on a Christian-Christian ticket with Chief Philip Umeadi and nobody raised any eyebrow,” he said.

According to him, even though some people had expressed displeasure with the option, the party will continue to educate its members, supporters and Nigerians in general on the why it is the choice, given the present circumstance in the country.

Kalejaiye described APC as a disciplined party that would not take Nigerians for granted, urging people to look beyond the Muslim-Muslim ticket but focus on the quality of the running mate and his readiness to team up with him to provide good governance.

The APC chieftain expressed optimism on the party’s chances at the poll, owing to its formidable structure and intimidating membership, with high degree of stability in terms of internal rancour.

“It is my candid opinion that we should give it to Tinubu that he must have taken that decision in the overriding interest of Nigeria.

“We all agree that he has the vision, capacity, exposure and the requisite experience to lead the country,” Kalejaiye said.

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Aderemi Bamgbose

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