Sen. Kashim Shettima, the running mate of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate for 2023 general election, says it’s time to end politics of religious sentiment in Nigeria.
Shettima said this on Friday when he hosted members of APC Professionals` Forum on a congratulatory visit at his residence in Abuja.
Shettima, a former two-term governor of Borno, said Nigerians should be more concerned about how to develop the country, rather than engaged in religious sentiments.
He said the world had gone past religious sentiment, hence the need for the country to focus on moving to the industrial age.
“I feel highly honoured and am delighted to receive you in my humble abode, the world is changing, the world has moved from agricultural age to industrial age.
“And now we are in the knowledge driven age, in other clans, people are talking of nano technology, biotechnology, and quick data and of artificial intelligence.
“While we are busy here talking about headsmen, farmers/herders clash, rural banditry, kidnapping and battling with Boko Haram and talking about religious mix,’’ he said.
Shettima commended the forum for the visit and expressed delight that it was made up of accomplished Nigerians of different background from different works of life, assuring that he would identify with it, going forward.
“The task before us is to transform this nation into a just and fair society where everyone will have a sense of belonging.
“We should learn to accommodate and embrace each other,’’ he said. According to him, hunger and insecurity knows no religion or ethnicity just as poor infrastructure knows no region, Nigeria is a great nation.
Shettima said that the Tinubu/Shettima ticket had more to do with the desire to provide quality leadership to Nigerians than any religious sentiment.
“I want to reassure Nigerians that; they are accusing him of an attempt to Islamising the country, has he started with Islamising his own family.
“Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu, yes, his Vice-Presidential running mate might be a Muslim, but his life mate for over 40 year is not only a Christian, but a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
“He did not enforce his own Islamic faith on his own children, he was the first governor to hand-over mission schools to the owners, and he has groomed people from all works of life.
“One of his Commissioners while he was governor of Lagos State, was from Katsina State and another one was from Delta, he also had a special adviser of an Igbo extraction,’’ he said.
Shettima said there was therefore need to have a look at the larger picture.
He said he was however, delighted that the APC Professionals Forum was solidly behind the party and Tinubu as its 2023 presidential candidate.
He assured that the party and its presidential candidate would reach out to all interest groups ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He added that while comments were free, facts were sacred, saying that; “people can distort facts, embellish reality, truth will always triumph over falsehood’’.
He said that Tinubu was a very decent man that was committed to the Nigerian project.
“We will support him in whatever way we can, so we can together; push the nation to a higher pedestrian,’’ he said.
Earlier, Alhaji Mohammed Hassan, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S who led the delegation, said its members were open to work with Shettima and his principal.
He said the forum which was an intellectual bank with members within and outside the country, was a conglomerate of over 107 associations and could deliver in any aspect of governance and social life.
He said the forum plans to organise a town hall meeting where it intended to feature the APC presidential candidate and his running mate to unveil their blueprint to Nigerians.
“The aim and objective of the town hall meeting which has been fixed for September is to provide a venue where all the professionals as represented, will gather.
“You and our presidential candidate will be there to enlighten and answer questions from the professionals and Nigeria as a whole on what your intensions and plans for the country are for the country, ” he said.