The Chairman of Borno State, Christians Association (CAN), Bishop Mohammed Naga has commended the selection of former governor of the state, Senator Kashim Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming 2023 Election.
The selection of Shettima, a Muslim from the North East to run on the presidential ticket of the APC with another Muslim, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu from the South West has been greeted with mixed reaction.
This would be the first time a major party would follow the footstep of Social Democratic Party’s Muslim/Muslim ticket of MKO Abiola/Babagana Kingibe which was the election the 1993 Presidential election that was notoriously annulled by the military.
Bishop Naga, in a statement on Monday said the Christian community in Borno State have never had a better deal than under Shettima who was at the helm in the state between 2011 and 2019.
Naga, who described Shettima as a compassionate leader, said: “My brothers, those who are not from Borno State may not know, but you and I know better. In the history of Borno State, there is no Governor that has been fair to the Christian Community in this State as much as Governor Kashim Shettima. I am saying this in the presence of God Almighty and this is nothing but the truth. Governor Shettima, in the history of Borno, is the only Governor that has sponsored highest number of Christian Pilgrims every year since 2011.
“I am speaking boldly without fear or favour because as CAN Chairman I do not receive salary or kobo from Government or any institution, but the facts need to be told. This Governor has shown compassion to the Christian Community.”
He added that: “For example, when Gwoza people were driven from their ancestral homes, they fled to Maiduguri, and the Governor personally came to CAN Centre in Jerusalem ward two times in June and July 2014. He gave N10 million for their upkeep at first instance, but the victims were not many. By the end of October 2014, the IDPs from Gwoza increased to 42,000 in that camp alone. Governor Shettima came again and gave another N10 million. He also gave additional N5 million for Christians from Borno who fled to Cameroon to be returned home.
“He gave another N5 million for non-indigenes who fled to Cameroon to come back to Nigeria.”
Naga said: “The Governor even directed the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA to be supplying food directly to the IDPs under the Christian leadership. In fact, the Governor insisted that he wanted Christian IDPs to stay together with their Muslim counterparts in various designated IDP camps here in Maiduguri but we the leaders felt it wise to separate Christian IDP’S to avoid frictions between displaced persons dealing with trauma.”
The clergyman said: “Sincerely speaking as a Christian and a preacher, absolutely I have nothing to fear about Asiwaju’s picking a Muslim as his running mate, because he’s not a religious bigot and I’m happy he has made his mind known to the public in the person of his preferred running mate.
He added that: “Seeing another Presidential candidate applauding him is a plus for him and supporters of Asiwaju. Congratulations to the awaiting president and vice president.”