By Our Reporter
Contrary to reactions against criticism about Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a chieftain of the party from Delta state, Chief Ayiri Emami, has said the real Nigerian voters trust the candidacy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and won’t care about the same faith issue.
Chief Emami, however, pleaded with all Nigerians to give the Tinubu a chance to deliver on his plans and programmes for the nation instead of playing up issue of religious sentiment.
There have been voices against the decision by the APC presidential candidate to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket of Tinubu/Shettima.
But seaking with newsmen, Saturday in Abuja, the APC chieftain said Tinubu consulted widely before announcing Senator Shettima as his running mate, adding that that Nigerians should overlook the religious affiliation and give priority to character of individuals seeking elective offices.
According to Chief Emami, “Some of us even supported the candidacy of Shettima. We advised Asiwaju to go and look for good person that will give you support, whether Muslim or anything. Religion has not brought anything to our table.
“For example, Niger Delta Development Commission is an agency that is supposed to be taking care of the Niger Delta and so much money has come into the NDDC but the people monitoring those affairs are all Christians, no Muslim. Go and see whether you will see any development. Governors running the region are all Christians.
“So, if Asiwaju has a partner that will make him succeed, will give us protection, good roads, good schools, I don’t care because not everybody are even Christians. How many people are even Christians in the South South? This Christianity of a thing, if a man wakes up in the morning and he doesn’t even love his neighbour and he goes up to the pulpit to preach.
“I know a lot of them who don’t have the fear of God because things they do are not what is being written in the Bible. For example, you arranged us to go and rig an election, you rig the election and you go and do thanksgiving. I won’t come to Church that day because it means you don’t have the fear of God. So, whatever that can work for us, that is what we need at this time and Shettima is going to be a very good pair with Asiwaju.
“I know some people who are Christians, who will donate huge money in the church, built schools but members of that your church cannot attend the schools. In my house, my wife is a Deaconess, I used to tell her, I said look, if Asiwaju pick Muslim, that is who we are going to vote for. To me, I have very little and I am very grateful to God.
“I share the little with people but those that are preaching are not doing so. When it comes to politics, they are complaining of Muslim-Muslim ticket. To some of us, a lot of majority of people that are going to vote don’t understand what they are saying about Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“What we are saying at the moment is Asiwaju for transformation. We are not seeing the religion aspect of it because to some of us, the Vice President is a Christian under Buhari, what is the difference. Some Christians because of politics will go to the North to go and turban, if you know you forbid something so much, don’t even go to their palace to turban. Why are you going there, don’t you know it is a different faith?”
On the media reports that chieftains of the party from South-east and South-south boycotted Senator Shettima unveiling to express their disaffection, Emami dismissed the claim as unfounded.
The businessman and philanthropist said most people who stayed away from the unveiling of Senator Kashim Shettima did so because they thought having been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, the ceremony of the formal unveiling was no longer necessary.
“Even me I was not there, because to us, Shettima has been unveiled before now by Asiwaju himself. So, I was sleeping at home that day, when they called me. What did I need to go and do there? So, I don’t see any political undertone in that. We have been told that it is Shettima and we have been talking. Everybody has congratulated him and working towards Shettima. The unveiling was just a ceremonial thing. I assumed other leaders not in attendance were very tired and couldn’t attend. So, it is not an issue for me.”