Tinubu campaign organisation speaks on controversy over men in cassocks at Shettima’s unveiling
A spokesperson said the clergymen were not fake as was being speculated in the social media.
The Tinubu Campaign Organisation has described as ‘unwarranted distractions’ the viral pictures and videos of some Christian clerics at Wednesday’s unveiling of Kashim Shettima, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Vice-Presidential candidate in Abuja.
Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Communication, Tinubu Campaign Organisation, in a statement on Thursday, said the clergymen were not fake as was being speculated in the social media.
The APC formally presented Sen. Shettima to the public and its various organs as the running mate of its 2023 presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at a well-attended ceremony,” Mr Onanuga said.
He added that at the unveiling, Messrs Tinubu and Shettima, and former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, in their speeches, addressed fundamental issues of nation building.
This, he said, was the focus of the APC and its candidates with a view to ensuring a progressive and prosperous nation where all citizens could find joy and fulfilment.
Mr Onanuga explained that the event was an open affair, which allowed members of the public to attend, ”including the clergymen and others now being derided by hirelings of the opposition”.
“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.
“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 Sen. Shettima,” Mr Onanuga said.
Nirafinder reported how some men in cassocks on Wednesday attended the unveiling of Mr Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the APC.
The affiliations of the men, dressed in different attires representing various Christian denominations, remained unclear.
The presence of the cassock-wearing participants suggested some Christian leaders are in support of APC’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in spite of opposition by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
CAN has disowned the men, saying they were impostors hired by the APC to fake a Christian-community support for the Tinubu-Shettima ticket.
Mr Tinubu had on July 10 in Daura, Katsina State, named Mr Shettima, a former Borno State governor and serving senator, as his running mate.
The choice of the former governor sparked criticisms from those who believe Mr Tinubu, a southern Muslim, should have picked a Christian as running mate.
CAN said the unidentified Christian ‘clerics’ at Wednesday’s unveiling of Mr Shettima were not its members.
A spokesperson for the association, Bayo Oladeji, told Nirafinder the priests at the venue were ‘fake’. He did not say how he determined that the men were not genuine.
He accused the Tinubu Campaign Organisation of consistently peddling lies to justify the choice of Mr Shettima.
But the APC spokesperson said the orchestrated social media sensation over the presence of the clergymen was needless and all calculated to detract from the huge success recorded at the unveiling held at Yar’Adua Centre.
He expressed belief that Nigerians were too wise and discerning to see through this shenanigan.
He assured that Messrs Tinubu, Shettima and the APC were working very hard to provide purposeful leadership and good progressive governance that would 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 Nigerians with a view to confronting them and make the desired improvements in the standard of living of our people,” Mr Onanuga said.