The Borno State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has applauded the selection of former governor of the state, Senator Kashim Shettima, as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Despite opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket in some quarters including the national leadership of CAN, the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, on Sunday, announced Shettima as his running mate.
But in what seems like great support for Shettima’s candidacy from a group outside his religion, the Borno State chapter of CAN led by its chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga, welcomed the choice of the former governor as Tinubu’s running mate.
Naga, in a statement on Monday, said the Christian community in Borno State has never had a better deal than under Shettima who governed the state between 2011 and 2019.
Naga, who described Shettima as a compassionate leader.
“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 the 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 the government or any institution, but the facts need to be told. This governor has shown compassion to the Christian community.
“For example, when Gwoza people were driven from their ancestral homes, they fled to Maiduguri, and the Ggovernor 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 an additional N5 million to Christians from Borno who fled to Cameroon to be returned home.
“He gave another N5 million to non-indigenes who fled to Cameroon to come back to Nigeria.
“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 IDPs to avoid friction between displaced persons dealing with trauma.
“Sincerely speaking as a Christian and a preacher, absolutely I have nothing to fear about Asiwaju 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.
“Seeing another Presidential candidate applauding him is a plus for him and supporters of Asiwaju.
Congratulations to the awaiting president and vice president,” the statement read.