The clerics who attended the unveiling of Kashim Shettima, ex-Borno State governor as the running mate of Bola Tinubu, have justified their presence at the event, noting that they have a right to identify with any candidate of their choice.
The clerics noted that they are not fake as being speculated on social media.
Pictures of the clerics attending the event July 20 sparked outrage online, with many calling them “fake bishops” The development came amid criticism over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is a Muslim from the Southwest, while Shettima, his running mate is a Muslim from Borno State.
Speaking on Monday at a media briefing in Abuja, Adams King, secretary of the Christian-Muslim Love Foundation, an umbrella body of the clerics, said they did not portray themselves as representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The clerics who said they have strong belief in Shettima’s nomination, expressed dismay over “attacks and harassment” they have faced following their participation at the event.
King said their ministries have existed for several years, while praising Shettima as a supporter of the Christian faith.
“Although Senator Kashim Shettima took the mantle of the state at a difficult time marked by terror attacks and deadly insurgency, his mature, cautious, and decisive management of the state’s affairs helped preserve the social fabric that held several communities together, and reassured members of the Christian faith that the government remained committed to their freedoms and wellbeing,” he said.
“His (Shettima) rebuilding efforts targeted at the Christian community, include the reconstruction of churches affected by terrorist activities. For the avoidance of doubt, we have never attempted to portray ourselves as representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria. We went as clergymen and pastors called by God to serve in His vineyard and bring His word to our communities.
This is a calling we have devoted ourselves to for several years. If anyone wishes to verify the truthfulness of this claim and maybe even join our respective ministries, we welcome you to visit our ministries.”
King also said it is their right to identify with any political candidate. They gave the names of some of their churches as Christian Revival Evangelical Mission Worldwide (led by Godwin Livinus, an apostle), Divine Prophetic End Time Gospel Faith in Kubwa, Abuja (led by Emeka Theodore, a bishop), and LightHouse of all Nations Ministry (led by Emmanuel Sunday Jayeola, identified as a bishop).