“Here is where politics ends, and true leadership must begin.
Today, I announce my selection with pride because I have made it not based on religion or to please one community or the other. I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region.
May I say this to all of you, especially to those who will be disappointed in my selection based on religious considerations. I will not and cannot ignore the religious concerns and ethnic sensitivities of our people. Taking them into due consideration is an important part of good and able governance. But religion, ethnicity and region cannot always and fully determine our path. To forge ahead as a nation toward development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds. We must recalibrate our political calculations to where competence and fairness matter more than reductive demographics.
This is why, today, I announce the selection of SENATOR KASHIM SHETTIMA as my partner and running mate in the mission to advance and reclaim the fortunes of this great country and the hopes of its people.
Senator Kasim Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all important electoral victory, but, also, step into the shoes of the Vice President. As a man with the talent, maturity, strength of character, and patriotism he has my implicit confidence and faith.
I am aware that many will continue focus on a particular detail, the question of his faith.
However, if we truly understand the challenges upon us a nation, then we must also see the imperative of placing competence in governance above religious sentiment.”
MY POINT: If you boldly decide to go against the grain of our admittedly weird political reality, you should at least advance more copiously the examples and instances to buttress the claims of competence, administrative mastery and development accomplishments associated with Shettima – in order to underline the fact that he is not all about vote-grabbing on the wings of his religion and region. Of course, to choose a Muslim as vice is your prerogative, and if the votes/numbers support you, so be it. It’s also a kennel of leadership to shoot straight from the hip. It’s your right to seek political advantage; it’s quality leadership to be honest about it.