Kashim Shettima, vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says Nigerians should focus on issues and not the same faith ticket presented by his party.
Shettima and Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the APC, are both Muslims.
The ticket has drawn criticism from Nigerians, including members of the ruling party.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock villa, Shettima said in 2011, there wasn’t opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket presented by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the time.
Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Fola Adeola, founder of GTBank, were the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the ACN in 2011 — they are both Muslims.
Speaking on the APC’s ticket, Shettima added that making the country great is the priority of his party.
“In 2011, the presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidates of the ACN, both of them were Muslims. Nobody raised an eyebrow,” the former governor of Borno said.
“Now, the opposition has seen a winning combination and they are petrified, deep down to the marrow of their bones.
“We will not trade in insults, lies and mischief. We have established a track record of excellence. Let our opponents show what they have done in their respective states. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s discuss issues.
“How to propel this nation to greatness is more important than playing on the sentiments of Nigerians. Poverty knows no religion or ethnicity. Insecurity knows no religion or ethnicity.”
Also speaking, Abdullahi Adamu, APC national chairman, said there are Christians who have welcomed the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Yes, we have been hearing concerns being expressed,” Adamu said.
“In the APC, we believe very strongly that no matter what description, no matter what faith you will associate with any one of our candidates, we are first and foremost Nigerians.
“There is no doubt in the fact that we have people who stock trade on some of these religious issues.
“Just like you have people expressing fears or concerns about a Muslim-Muslim ticket, there are Christians that welcome it as a positive development, in Nigerian politics. They are Nigerians.”