A founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Prince Preye Aganaba, has expressed disappointment over inflammatory and extreme views expressed by a former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Babachir Lawal on the same faith presidential ticket of the APC.
Aganaba, the prince of Odi Kingdom, who was addressing APC party faithfuls in Yenagoa on Friday, said Lawal crossed the line of responsibility expected of him as an elder and delved into the arena of scaremongering as he dissipated his energy promoting unfounded fears capable of further dividing the country.
Aganaba, a Christian, said it was unimaginable that Lawal, who should have known better, toed the path of the opposition political leaders, who whipped similar religious sentiments against his brother, President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 and 2019 general elections.
“This is the same Lawal, who as SGF, couldn’t balance political appointments between contending political groups within the APC and between geopolitical zones that led to a lot of backlash on the President.
“We recalled how the opposition continued with their narratives that Buhari was going to Islamise Nigeria despite having a Christian Vice-President. Buhari has been the president for over seven years. Has he Islamised Nigeria? The answer is no. It is on record that the Boko Haram insurgents are the enemies of everyone. These terrorists have killed more Muslims than Christians.
“The fact is that nobody can Islamise Nigeria. The Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has built a track record of tolerance, inclusiveness and liberalism.
“In Tinubu’s years as a politician, he has never expressed extreme religious views on any issue. His running mate and former Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has proved himself over the years as a fine gentleman, who as a governor of Borno, ran an all-inclusive government that accommodated all religions, a fact that had been attested to by the christian community in that state”.
Aganaba said apart from playing politics of hate, there was no basis for fear over the Muslim/Muslim ticket of the APC.
The former governorship aspirant said Tinubu’s choice of Shettima remained a masterstroke, that had further created confusion in the camp of the opposition especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said: “The choice of Shettima or another strong Muslim northern politician was a tough decision the PDP and its likes thought Tinubu and the APC would not make. They prayed against it because they knew it would destroy all their plans and calculations in the north.
“But they were disappointed that the presidential candidate of the APC, governors and other party leaders summoned courage to make that tough decision. The PDP, whose house has been in disarray since this decision was made, has suddenly rushed to the court praying that Shettima should be stopped as Tinubu’s running mate. They are really scared.
“It is now obvious that the PDP resorted to religious politics because they know that the choice of Shettima has destroyed the area they initially thought was their stronghold.
“Members of the public should know that Shettima was chosen because of his strong political character and other qualifications to enable the APC win the forthcoming election. Party men should be judged not by their religious inclinations but by the value they bring to the table, qualifications and character”.
Aganaba assured the people that Tinubu/Shettima combo would restore the country to the path of progress; tackle insecurity and build a prosperous Nation.