Fashola Speaks On Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket

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NIGERIA’S Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has declared his support for his former principal’s choice of presidential running mate ahead of the 2023 polls.

Mr Fashola, in an interview aired on Channels Television on Sunday, endorsed the choice of Kashim Shettima as running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu and Shettima are Muslims, and their candidacy has been criticised by many Nigerians and groups, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Of all the 18 parties set to take part in the 2023 presidential election, the ruling APC is the only party with a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.

Mr Tinubu, the former Lagos governor, however, defended his choice, saying Mr Shettima, a former Borno governor, was chosen based on his competence.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Fashola said religion should be put aside for competence when Nigerians elect their next set of leaders in 2023.

He argued that people leading the debate against Mr Tinubu’s candidacy should face real political and socio-economic issues and avoid religious sentiments.

“‪In my own opinion, Asiwaju is the best person to drive that vehicle because I have worked with him at close quarters and I know his capacity. I know his tenacity. And I think sometimes that we need to test some hypothesis and the opportunity to test this hypothesis is there,” Mr Fashola, who served as Mr Tinubu’s chief of staff when the latter was governor, said.‬

“My position about religion has been made known on different platforms. I think religion should leave the public space and go back to where it belongs – to the homes and the religious centres.

“‪There is too much religion in our public life and there is no nation that I know that is valorizing religion. It is a private thing. I think we should just stop them. When you are in the office, just go and do your work,” the minister said.

‪He argued that winning elections is about numbers and some decisions may appear irrational. He said Mr Tinubu made his calculations based on what he thinks will favour him in the coming poll.

“Sometimes we should stop being afraid of fear itself. If this is something that is real, the votes will show eventually. Who cares really? We both drank water here and we didn’t ask who made the water. People want good schools, good healthcare. ‬‪People want infrastructure. They want to be secured.

“If you go in both sides, there have been a Christian VP under a Muslim President. Sadly people were killed in church. Priests were murdered the same way Muslims have been murdered. Neither the president nor the vice president loves those things to happen. I don’t, you don’t but it has very little to do with our faith,” Mr Fashola said.