National Secretary Shia Islamic Sect of Nigeria Amir Sadiq Mohammad has stated that over 5million members of the religious group have unanimously endorsed presidential candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Major General John Gbor (retd) for the February 16th general election.
Sadiq alongside other senior members of the group made the endorsement on Thursday in Abuja at the Campaign headquarters of the APGA’s presidential candidate.
He said the group decided to support the retired general in the February 16th election after a careful consideration of all the presidential candidates.
According to Amir, the group endorsed Gbor as an ex-army general who understood the challenges of the country.
The Shia scribe stated that the government in power not only failed to recognise the members of the sect but also resorted to treating them as slaves in their own country.
He wondered why the government of the day would give a shoot-at-sight order to the military to continue to kill its own citizens, adding that the religious group was particularly concerned about the security of its members.
He said, “Your Excellency, we came with a strong message. We the Shia group in Nigeria, more than 5 million of us, have unanimously agreed to give our bloc votes to you because of the challenge we have as Nigerians.
“The government in power didn’t recognise us, it takes us as slaves. That’s the reason why we the Shiites group agreed to pick one candidate that will know the problem of our people in Nigeria.
“So we looked round and couldn’t find anybody but the General that knows the beginning and end of Nigerians problem.
“That’s the reason why the chairman mandated me to come and explain our problems to you and any response from you, I will take it to the headquarters,” Amir said.
Responding, APGA’s presidential candidate Gbor thanked them for endorsing him and told them that his manifesto encompassed freedom of worship, fight against insecurity, education, youth and women empowerment amongst other things.
He also pledged to protect Nigerians both at home as well as those living abroad.
“I feel highly honoured that out of almost 71 presidential candidates competing to take over from presidential Muhammadu Buhari, who himself is contesting, the Shia group has viewed me the most suitable candidate to become the federal republic of Nigeria.
“I see myself capable to be the president of the country. You are a religious group and you have identified with me. This calls upon me to give Nigerians my own religious policy. On becoming the president of this country, I love Nigerians and I also love God, I know that we are all children of God.
“Our constitution allows individual Nigerians to worship his or her God freely and, therefore, on becoming the president of this country, I’m going to make sure that there is freedom of worship, freedom of religion, you can worship God according to your belief,” Gbor said.