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2023: Nigerians should rise above feelings of ethnicity and religion – APC Chief

Yunana Shibkau, former Special Advisor for Christian-Muslim Dialogue to former Governor Ahmed Sani Yerima, advised Nigerians to get rid of ethnic and religious considerations in choosing the candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

In an interview with Daily Trust, Shikabu advised voters to elect the next president on merit.

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Asked about the reactions of former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and former Federation Government Secretary Babachir Lawal to the Muslim/Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Shikabu, a Christian from North, said, “A 21st century Nigeria should rise above such ethnic and religious sentiments. Since independence, we have ruled our nation from these sentiments of religion and ethnicity and the question now is, where has this got us? We are much more divided than ever and we cannot go on like this.

“You see, I’m a Christian from Zamfara and I led the Christian/Muslim dialogue, there’s nothing wrong with a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim ticket. All we want is someone who can fix Nigeria. Dogara and Babachir positioned themselves to reap hugely when they sowed sparingly. What was their contribution to the emergence of APC and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu? They rose as Christians and did what for Christians? What is their background as Christians? Have they ever defended a Christian course? When the church was persecuted, where were they?

“I can understand the position of the CAN, its consistency and its real concerns, which need to be addressed. However, this is the time for us Christians to show the unity we preach, we must show leadership and prove that we are more civilized by extending the hand of brotherhood. Christians should not abandon a worthy candidate because of the Muslim/Muslim ticket. We should always vote on merit. At the 1993 SDP convention in Jos, I voted for MKO Abiola because he was the best.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the best candidate currently and should receive all the support he needs to become president. We need him to transform this country for good. He is not only articulate, organized and resourceful, he is tolerant, accommodating and humane. He has extended a fraternal hand to many, he is a unifier and breathes democracy. I implore all lovers of progress to vote for Tinubu.

On his views on the Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate, he said: “Peter Obi is fine but he does not understand the basics of the Nigerian political system. May he continue to expand his contacts and build bridges. In the future, he can do something. The fact is, in 2023, we need a trusted workhorse, and that’s Tinubu. He fought for democracy and his political credentials and pedigree are not in question, they are great. He is a bundle of political energy and leadership that Nigeria badly needs. We who are in politics have known his background for more than 30 years.

The APC leader added that “Tinubu is better equipped to lead Nigeria now” and meet the challenges he is facing at the moment.