‘He showed compassion to the Christian community’ – Borno CAN backs Shettima’s nomination as running mate

Akinwande Soji-Ojo

The Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has applauded the selection of former state governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as the running mate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Despite opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket in some quarters, including the CAN national leadership, APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu announced on Sunday that Shettima was his running mate.

But in what appears to be strong support for Shettima’s candidacy from a group outside his religion, the CAN’s Borno State branch led by its chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga, hailed the choice of the former governor as Tinubu’s running mate.

Naga, in a statement on Monday, said the Christian community in Borno state had never had a better deal than under Shettima who ruled the state between 2011 and 2019.

Naga, who described Shettima as a compassionate leader.

“My brothers, those who are not from Borno State may not know this, but you and I know better. In the history of Borno State, no governor has been so fair to the Christian community of this state as Governor Kashim Shettima. I say this in the presence of Almighty God and it is nothing but the truth. Governor Shettima, in Borno history, is the only governor who has sponsored the highest number of Christian pilgrims every year since 2011.

“I speak boldly without fear or favor because as the president of CAN I do not receive any salary or kobo from the government or any institution, but the facts must be said. This governor showed compassion towards the Christian community.

“For example, when the Gwoza were driven from their ancestral homes, they fled to Maiduguri, and the Ggovernor personally came to the CAN Center in the Jerusalem neighborhood twice in June and July 2014. He gave 10 million naira for their maintenance in the first instance, but the victims were not many. By the end of October 2014, the number of people displaced from Gwoza had risen to 42,000 in this camp alone. Governor Shettima returned and gave another 10 million naira. He also gave an additional 5 million naira to Borno Christians who fled to Cameroon to be sent home.

“He gave an additional 5 million naira to non-indigenous people who fled to Cameroon to return to Nigeria.

“The governor even ordered the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to provide food directly to people displaced under Christian leadership. In fact, the Governor insisted that he wanted the Christian IDPs to stay with their Muslim counterparts in various designated IDP camps here in Maiduguri, but we the leaders felt it was wise to separate the IDPs Christians to avoid friction between displaced people facing trauma.

“Honestly, as a Christian and a preacher, I have absolutely nothing to fear that Asiwaju will choose a Muslim as his running mate because he is not a religious bigot and I am happy that he has made his spirit known to the public in the person of his favorite running mate.

“To see another presidential candidate applauding him is a plus for him and Asiwaju’s supporters.
Congratulations to the President and Vice President-in-waiting,” the statement read.

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