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Major Talking Points from APC Vice Presidential Candidate Presentation



Fake Clerics Controvery:
The unveiling of Senator Kashim Shettima as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on July 20, 2022 may go down well as one of the most controversial pre-electioneering event of Nigeria’s ruling party.

With the dust trailing the decision of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, a Southern Muslim to pick a Northern Muslim as his running mate yet to settle, the unveiling ceremony sparked off another cloud of controversy as 30 strange-looking clerics attended and endorsed Shettima on behalf of the Christian religious groups around the country.

At the unveiling, Tinubu and Shettima, former Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Jigawa and the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, in their speeches, addressed fundamental issues of nation building, but it was the suspected fake clerics that dominated discussions.
Muslim-Muslim Ticket Protest Rocks Unveiling Ceremony
One of the tell-tale signs that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was still bedeviled by internal strive played out almost as the presentation of its vice-presidential candidate was taking place in Abuja. The colourful unveiling ceremony was almost marred by a protest at the party’s secretariat.

As APC leaders headed to the Shehu Yar’Adua center for the elaborate ceremony, hundreds of flag-waving and placards-brandishing demonstrators stormed the party’s national secretariat to register their grievance over the controversial Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The protesters under the aegis of APC Hausa-Fulani Youth Forum were armed with placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘A cry for justice’, ‘Drop Shettima and give slot to our Christian brothers’, ‘Discrimination and mutual suspicion in our country’ among others.

The Convener of the group, Abdullahi Bilal Mohamadu declared that they would not stop protesting until the party dropped Shettima for a Christian candidate. On why the demonstrators took to protest on a day the party is presenting its vice-presidential candidate, Mohammadu stated that it was a deliberate act to tender their grievances and ensure it reached the appropriate authorities.
In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the group said they saw the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected immediately by the leadership of the party.

Bishop Chanomi Denies Leading Delegation
A new twist to the controversy emerged when pictures of the Director General of the Interfaith Association and the presiding bishop of Peace Chapel, Mararaba, Karu Local Government of Nasarawa State, Bishop Edward Williams Chanobi exchanging pleasantries with the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and other party leaders went viral on the social media. Biship Chanobi, who had earlier on July 17, 2022 declared that he would mobilise members of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) to work against the APC’s controversial Muslim-Muslim ticket, was promoted as the leader of the unknown bishops’ delegation to the event.

Dominic Alancha wrote: “Bishop Edward Williams Chanomi led the Council of Bishops to the unveiling of Sen Shettima as Running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Yesterday. He was contracted by a Known PDP Chieftain. This is one of their pictures during the briefing. I will expose the hypocrisy of all of you soon. Watch out for Pictures and details on my page…”
However, hours later, the fake picture was busted as the cleric clarified that the photographs being promoted only line was taken during his courtesy visit to the APC chairman on April 26, 2022, and that he was not at the unveiling ceremony.
“Check the date of where you got this picture from. Is an old picture, it has nothing to do with the recent picture. Thanks”, Biship Chanobi wrote in response to Alancha’s earlier post.

Another social commentator simply identified as IamAtikulate also wrote: “APC supporters claimed Bishop Edward Chanomi, the respected presiding Bishop of Peace Chapel in Mararabar, Nasarawa attended Shettima unveiling. It’s a fake lie from hell fire. They are circulating old pictures he snapped with Abdullahi, APC chairman when he paid him a courtesy visit in April to complain about APC misrules. Here are the pictures they are circulating. Kindly look at the date.
CAN Disowns 30 Clerics
Hours after the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu unveiled his running mate, Kashim Shettima, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) disowned the 30 persons who attended the event dressed in religious attires to endorse the vice presidential candidate of the party. CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, in a statement issued through his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Mr Adebayo Oladeji, dismissed claims by the APC presidential candidate that CAN members were in attendance to endorse the party’s controversial Muslim-Muslim candidature.

He said, “Let them name the CAN officials at the programme and their offices. If they could use 2017 photos to claim that some Pastors visited Shettima and lied that Pastor Enuch A Adeboye has endorsed them, they could do anything. Our position on Muslim-Muslim ticket is irreversible. Anybody can claim anything but one thing is clear, CAN was not part of the unveiling programme of Shettima.”
The Vice President of CAN from the 19 Northern States and Abuja, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, also dissociated the organisation from the visit. Hayab had earlier in his reaction said: “The people we saw at the unveiling of Shettima paraded as Bishops are people who did not have enough time to learn how to wear Bishop garments. Take a closer look at their photo and you will see another Nollywood movie.

“CAN wonders why the desperation. First, a story was out claiming to have come from the Chairman of CAN Borno state only to be refuted. Secondly, there was another lie that BAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) and his running mate were on their way to meet CAN President one night. A meeting that was not true and was on a night that the CAN President was in Alabama USA attending the Baptist World Alliance Conference of which he is the Vice President.
“Another desperation story was that they met Papa Adeboye which the RCCG later refuted. If Christians are not important, why the desperation? BAT is free to hire mechanics and other artisans and sew clerical garments for them.

An effort that will only add to their many ropes when the political exercise is over but will not change the need for fairness and justice that CAN is calling for.
“CAN appreciates that we are in a democracy, no need to do funny and dubious things just to prove a point because it will at the end bounce back. The BAT team should simply do what is right and stop the drama.”

APC South East Leader Busted
Another controversial moment in the event was a claim that one of the 30 men posing as a cleric from northern Nigeria was allegedly a known APC youth leader, Ambassador Prince Ugo Ugokwe. Ugokwe who hails from Anambra state contested for the position of APC Deputy Youth Leader (South East) at the March 26, 2022 national convention of the party. He blew his cover when a journalist trying to get his opinion eventually forced him to talk and he wasted no time in making the only comment by the group.

“We have said it before…we believe in peace and unity of Nigeria. Muslim-Muslim ticket is not a crime. We projected Rev. Pam Yakubu but the party decided who they want. So, let press and every media report what can unite Nigeria, not bring disunity…”, he said amidst interrogation from the unknown pressman.
Hours after the video of that dramatic interview went viral on the social media, it emerged that he was not a cleric but a party youth leader posing as cleric. In reaction to the viral video, Ugokwe dismissed the reports as handiwork of fake news merchants. In a statement, he posted on his Meta page, he said: “I have seen ‘many’ fake news about me and my foundation. It’s okay. Anybody can write what they want to generate traffic.

I know the guy that I allowed to interview me was out for fake news. He was desperate to see something, to rubbish men of God. We are for peace and love not hate. Jesus Christ is love. Christians and Muslims should preach love no matter the challenge in our country Nigeria.
“Just vote your heart in 2023. Don’t hate”, he adds.
Tinubu Denies Claims of Imported Fake Bishops:
Even as members of the 30 religious’ garb-wearing persons that endorsed the APC Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket were later captured in photographs and video clips sharing money after the event, the Tinubu Campaign Organisation has denied renting fake bishops and religious leaders to the event.

The campaign team described as ‘unwarranted distractions’ the hoopla that greeted the viral pictures and videos of the clergy’s appearance at the event.
Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Communication, Tinubu Campaign Organisation in a statement on Thursday, defended that the event was an open affair, which allowed members of the public to attend, including the clergymen and some others now being derided by hirelings of the opposition.
“We want to say that those clergymen were not fake, not mechanics or yam sellers as the purveyors of hatred have made Nigerians to believe in the social media. They are not big names in Christendom yet, they are gradually building up their missions. They are Church leaders who genuinely believe that Nigerians must eschew politics of hatred and religious bigotry and rather embrace politics of peace and nation building.

“We therefore deplore the hysterical twisting of the presence of these men and women in cassocks and the false accusation against our candidates, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Sen. Shettima,” Onanuga said.
“We are well aware that the opposition parties and the sponsors of the social media charade are jittery and threatened by the intimidating political credentials of our candidates. The only way they hope to shift attention of public scrutiny away from their uninspiring candidates and credentials is to create social media distraction,” Onanuga stressed.

SouthEast Leaders Stay Off:
One of the notable outcome of the presentation of Senator Kashim Shettima last Wednesday was the conspicuous absent of APC Governors, top political aspirants and delegates from the South-East geo-political zone at the event. Shettima’s unveiling took place at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, amid the presence of heavy security operatives.
In attendance were party chieftains, members of the National Working Committee and leadership of the APC led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore. Others were former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; former Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Governors Kayode Fayemi, Babagana Zulum, Atiku Bagudu and Abdullahi Ganduje.
However, the absence of South East political leaders and governors got many wondering whether it was a coincidence.

They include former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Minister of State for Education, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; former Minister of Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and Senator Rochas Okorocha.

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