Former Governor of Lagos State and current presidential flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has insisted that ‘clerics’ who attended the unveiling of Kashim Shettima at Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Wednesday are real, terming the shenanigans that has followed as distractions.
Tinubu, who aired his view via a statement made on behalf of his campaign organisation, described the event as one opened to all, while stating the ‘bishops’ were not hired despite negations from netizens and several Nigerians.
According to the released statement, criticism of the men dressed in cassocks, and as clergies of the Christian faith, is the work political distractors who released footages to damn the APC political ambitions for 2023.
‘Tinubu Campaign Organisation has described as unwarranted distractions the viral pictures and videos of some Christian clergymen and women at the unveiling of the All Progressives Congress Vice presidential candidate, Senator KASHIM SHETTIMA, on Wednesday in Abuja.
‘APC formally presented Senator Shettima to the public and its various organs as the running mate to the party’s presidential standard-bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the well-attended ceremony at Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
‘The TCO through its Director of Media and Communication, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, said the event was an open affair, which allowed members of the public to attend, including the clergymen and some 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 Senator Shettima.
‘The orchestrated social media sensation over the presence of the men is needless and all calculated to detract from the huge success recorded at the momentous event on Wednesday.
‘We believe Nigerians are too wise and discerning to see through this shenanigan. Asiwaju Tinubu and his running mate and our great party are working very hard to provide purposeful leadership and good progressive governance that will 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,’ the statement read.
Since the unveiling of Tinubu’s running mate on Wednesday, footages and pictures of the loosely dressed ‘clergymen’ have continued to circulate on social media; with many stating that they were hired by APC to get validation from the Christian community, on the choice of a Muslim-Muslim presidential candidacy.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has dissociated itself from any ties to the validation of APC running ambitions. The Christian Body confirmed that no representatives were sent to the event in Abuja on July 20, 2022.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has however failed to name the Christian leaders who attended the unveiling of Kashim Shettima, the party’s vice presidential candidate, despite members of the Conference of Concerned Christians of Nigeria (CCCN) challenging them to do so.