A former governor of Edo State, Adam Oshiomhole, said the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has nothing to do with political decisions.
He spoke as a guest on Arise TV’s morning show on Wednesday.
The APC’s Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket had drawn widespread criticism across the country, with groups such as CAN frowning at its insensitivity to Nigeria’s religious realities.
Some APC Chiefs also criticized the move.
Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and a southern Muslim, has chosen Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno and a northern Muslim as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
“CAN in every respect is not a political party,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
“And you don’t expect people who have expectations and suddenly find they’re crushed to celebrate in terms of self-interest.”
Mr Oshiomole said the body should be more concerned with the character of the chosen candidates and not with religious affiliation.
“I think Nigeria’s challenges go beyond religion. If religion is the answer, we have the two churches and we have more mosques. I think the question we need to discuss is what any of the presidential candidates will do differently to expect a different result,” he said.
“I want to watch their journey because none of them are new or unfamiliar with the public service. I want to be able to assess what they have done before to convince me of what they will do differently if given the chance.
“I think those are the issues and given the dire situation we’re in, in terms of the economy, security, etc., I think that’s what we should be spending them on, to be honest. , to me that is dysfunctional, and the evidence exists that Nigeria was probably at its best where religion did not feature, whether under military rule and even afterwards.
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The former APC president also said he wanted to see evidence that “Muslims are safer right now, compared to Christians or Christians are safer compared to Muslims.”
Asked if Mr Tinubu would run his campaign in “continuity or departure from the past seven years”, Mr Oshiomole said that by “assigning blame or credit, you are looking at their role”.
“It’s the fact that Asiwaju by himself said yes, he co-founded APC. I was a co-founder governor of APC, along with Fashola and other governors.
“But he never participated in governance. Never held a government position. He did not perform any contract on behalf of the government.
He was also asked if he was proud of the administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari and said that Mr Buhari “inherited a terrible economic situation”.
He added that progress has been made in “many areas but new problems have emerged”.
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