Since he was nominated as the All Progressives Congress (APC) vice presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima has been submerged in controversies.
His nomination was met with stiff criticism ridding on Muslims, Muslim ticket which is seen as insensitive in some quarters even within the ranks of All Progressives Congress (APC) members.
Rejecting the nomination of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate, the Coalition of All APC Support groups, in a communique by its Convener, Igwe Ude-umanta called on party leadership and Tinubu to reconsider Shettima’s nomination.
According to Igwe Ude-umanta, “we, substantive members of Coalition of All Progressives Congress Support Groups, here speaking in one voice and unanimously rejecting in totality the recent announcement of former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to the Presidential Candidate of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Like his nomination, Shettima’s unveiling as the All Progressives Congress (APC) vice presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections on July 20 at the Shehu Yar’adua center in Abuja is still being condemned within and outside political circles. This is even as some groups are calling for his resignation.
Middle Belt Congress, recently appealed to the former governor of Borno State to step down from his role as the vice-presidential candidate of the party.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja, convener of the group, Bilal Abdullahi, said the party’s national acceptance had dwindled following Shettima’s nomination, adding that by picking a Muslim to run with Tinubu, the APC displayed a religious insensitivity to the plurality of the nation.
Abdullahi explained that the Muslim-Muslim Ticket of the APC indeed comes with its attendant political baggage.
Describing Shettima as a friend of the Christian community in Nigeria, Abdullahi said it was disappointing that the former governor went ahead to be a part of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the face of religious and ethnic tension.”
The height of Shettima’s controversy happened at his unveiling as the All Progressives Congress (APC) vice presidential candidate which had in attendance some persons who dressed as fake Catholic bishops. Footages of the alleged fake bishops went viral on all social media apps.
Reacting to the alleged fake bishops at the event, Socio-Political activist, Reno Omokri asserted that the clergymen were hired to calm controversy surrounding the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party, saying that the APC was full of deception.”
Christian Association of Nigerian disowned the clerics at the event, saying they were fake. The body said they were hired mechanics and artisans by the APC with robes on them to give the impression that they were bishops and pastors.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said Tinubu, was free to “hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them.”
He said, “The people we saw at the unveiling of Shettima paraded as Bishops are people who did not have enough time to learn how to wear Bishop garments. Take a closer look at their photo and you will see another Nollywood movie.”
Like Siamese twins, Shettima’s controversy played out again at the just concluded Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) where his dressing has kept to tongues wagging.
Shettima choice of outfit to the NBA 62nd annual general conference held in Lagos generated reactions from social media users.
Representing his principal and running mate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the event, Senator Shettima, who usually dresses in a traditional Hausa large flowing gown known as Babban Riga, show up in a suit with a pair of sneakers.
Born 2 September 1966, Kashim Shettima Mustapha controversy didn’t begin today. It started when he served as commissioner under Governor Ali Modu Sheriff in five ministries with one of the founders of Boko Haram who was also appointed commissioner between 2007 to 2011.
Shettima was said to have ignored a letter written to him by Nyesom Wike, who was supervising the ministry of education then, on how to conduct exams in Chibok, given the rising Boko Haram terrorism challenge, during Dr Goodluck Jonathan, administration.
An act which president Jonathan said this act of omission or commission on the side of Shettima precipitated the kidnap of the Chibok girls.
There is also controversy in connection with Kabiru Sokoto, the bomber of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madala in 2011 where over 30 worshippers died. This terrorist was arrested in Borno state governor’s lodge in Asokoro, Abuja on January 1, 2012, when the same Shettima was governor. Till date, Shettima is yet to explain how the terrorist found shelter in the Borno governor’s lodge. (Kabiru Umar Abubakar Dikko predominantly known by his sobriquet Kabiru Sokoto is a convicted terrorist and commander of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram.
In the peak of the APC Presidential primaries, Shettima publicly wrote off the vice president of Nigeria being tipped as a possible consensus candidate of the APC, saying Prof Yemi Osinbajo was better suited as an ice-cream seller for his gentle mien. He also wrote off Peter Obi, who has turned the Labour party into a 3rd force, saying Obi can only be president of the Igbo people.
Under normal circumstances, a Moslem/Moslem ticket should never be an issue with governance, but unfortunately, Nigeria has gone through very difficult times with religious mistrust and intolerance in the last 10 years.
The nation needs healing, while citizens of all faiths need reassurances that no one will be lynched, mobbed, persecuted or discriminated against because of their relationship with God Almighty.
The national pledge, its meaning, and ethos should be taught as mandatory in schools.