• Buhari to Shettima, I’ll hand over to you and your boss in 2023, God-willing
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – It was the rain of rousing commendations for Senator Kashim Shettima by all stakeholders at his unveiling as the Vice Presidential candidate today in Abuja.
As President Muhammadu Buhari hosts Shettima and looks forward to doing the honours of handing over to Tinubu/Shettima presidency after the 2023 election.
Buhari while receiving Shettima after his official unveiling as the APC Vice Presidential Candidate, said, “I will respond to your speech, when I am handing over to you and your boss. God willing, you are going to win,” adding that, he is very happy with the choice of the former governor of Borno State as Tinubu’s running mate.
“I wish you the best. Your consistency in the party is very respectful. You served your two terms as governor and finished well. You have kept touch with your base. At every important occasion or event, you are maintaining support for the one who succeeded you. This is commendable,” he said.
The National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu at the event, noted that the 1993 presidential ticket and the current one bridged one of Nigeria’s fault lines in the management of our diversities.
“Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for that ticket because they trusted Abiola, a man who opened his arms to every tribe and religion in the country, to run an inclusive government in which no man or woman would be denied his or rights as a Nigerian citizen by the profession of his faith” he said.
On the suitability of Shettima, he said: “At this time in our national development, and given the myriads of our national challenges, we should look for men and women of character, competence and demonstrable evidence of their performance in public or private offices. We believe these informed Jagaban’s decision to select Senator Shettima because he fits the bill.
“Senator Shettima was a two-term governor of Borno State before being elected into the senate of the federal republic. As governor, he did what one might rightly describe as titanic things. He demonstrated his capacity as a focused leader when his state was virtually under siege by Boko Haram. When the bombs were exploding and the bullets were flying, he bravely continued to provide for his people, building new primary and post-primary schools, health facilities and housing projects. He never abandoned his people. He continued to serve them under virtually impossible conditions. Senator Kashim Shettima is not a stranger to the security challenges confronting our dear country going by his personal and first hand experiences with Boko Haram while they were at the peak of their operations in Borno State”.
The presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu reiterated that he was committed to his choice of a Muslim-Muslim preference, even as the former Borno State governor explained that his pick was in no way an imposition but a product of wide consultation.
Tinubu said: “Every election brings with it the promise of renewed hope. This one shall be no different. For our party and for our nation, we hold the chance to move the nation and our collective cause forward as never before.
“To do this, we must be wise of thought and courageous of action. We must win this election so that we can bring jobs, education, food, medicine, hope and belief in a better life to the people of this country.
“I stand ready to make this journey and, today, I am delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with my good friend, brother and running mate, His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima.”
Tinubu who noted that much has been said and written about his decision to pick Shettima as partner, insisted that he remained committed in the choice of Shettima.
His words: “As a committed democrat and progressive, I have read and listened to all that has been written and said. It has been an emotional and moving period. I understand the strength of feeling that has been displayed by some within our party and I cherish and respect the views of all.
“Yet, I remain steadfast in my belief in the selection of Senator Shettima. I am unwavering in my belief that, he is the very best person to run for office and to, hopefully, govern by my side.
“I believe in the project this party embarked on at the moment of its foundation. I believe our diversity is our strength and I believe that we must be victorious in order to achieve the greatness of which this country is capable.”
The APC National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore in his address noted that with the combo of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, Nigeria have two best candidates on the party’s ticket.
Gov Abubakar Bagudu who called Shettima one of the country’s finest, says Asiwaju had spent almost his lifetime building the project Nigeria which was reflected in the votes scored at the Presidential primary which makes him a Nigerian candidate for all.
He said, “We are confident our choice of Presidential Flagbearer will bring his experience and boldness and understanding of contemporary economics to bear in building upon the progress made.
He praised the brilliance of the party’s Vice Presidential candidate and said Tinubu has found an able hand for the campaign and after their victory to govern Nigeria.
Kayode Fayemi says, “Asiwaju will find no better partner than Kashim Shettima. He will find a partner, a bridge builder, talent spotter, a hard worker, and voracious reader.
“Asiwaju does not like Yes men around him and Shettima will give him verifiable, accurate and robust ideas. He pledge the total support of the Progressives Governors till the victory of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket in 2023 election.
Hon Ado Doguwa speaking on behalf of the speaker and the entire green chamber promised that the house members will take the Tinubu/ Shettima ticket like a civic responsibility. He charged all progressive lawmakers at the state, and federal to take the message of bat Shettima ticket to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
In his acceptance speech, Shettima thanked the President for his remarkable contribution to the party’s progress. And the National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
According to him, “There’s no weight I carry very carefully, as much as the burden of trust, and learning from public servants, who never take the expectations of the public, for granted. I’m standing here today, because of the benign testaments of those, who believe in me – those who crawled so that some of us could walk, and those who walked, for others to run.”
Shettima noted that he was not unaware of the difficult political arithmetic that produced this moment, especially, the understanding of the party’s stakeholders and supporters, across religions, regions, and ethnicities, adding that, their resolve to settle for this ticket, was a testament to the faith they have in them.
“This ticket isn’t an imposition; it’s an outcome of democracy at its practical best, and based on the aggregation of the ideas and insights, of our great party’s stakeholders. If this were an unpopular option, as the cast of partisan provocateurs has attempted to paint, there wouldn’t have been the tonnes of goodwill messages, especially, from distinguished Christians, from all over the country. This ticket is a Nigerian project, not a sectional agenda, that the frightened camps have been struggling to sensationalise.
“I’m sincerely proud of the rational citizens, who view this, as nothing but a pragmatic permutation, to defeat our opponents at the polls, and based on acknowledgment and implementation of the candid perspectives of our Christian brothers and sisters in the APC, who, like us, are bound by the passion for us to retain power, in order to deepen the delivery of unifying and transformative governance, to Nigerians.”
Shettima recalled that about 30 years ago, Nigerians came together to market the Muslim-Muslim ticket of MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, adding that, the Abiola and Kingibe ticket defied the stereotype of Nigerians, as hopelessly sectional, and incapable of prioritizing reason over sentiments.
He said; “This reincarnation of the 30-year-old hope that produced the late MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, came at a time the country is being pushed to the edge of anarchy, by conflict entrepreneurs, in gaudy suits and babanriga.
“But the overwhelming endorsement of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, at the APC presidential primaries, by aspirants from the very groups predicted to reject him; and his subsequent election by delegates from the same groups, is a clear message, that Nigerians are beyond the stereotypes of those desperate to tear the people apart.”
He promised to work for the Nigerian project and not as a religious or ethnic bigot as being wrongly alleged in some quarters.
At the state house, Shettima thanked the president for his empathy, support and positive role, leading to his emergence as running mate to the APC presidential candidate.
While acknowledging the special place he occupied in the heart of Borno and Northeast citizens, he said: “I can cite 20-30 instances of support you have rendered, for which you will be remembered.”
He mentioned the establishment of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Independent Power Plant for Maiduguri by the NNPC, “after many years of darkness,” noting that, “words cannot describe our appreciation of your support. We will remain eternally grateful.”
He requested of the President to appreciate his successor, Babagana Zulum, who was in his company, along with the Minister of State, Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, for spurning “recurring mention” of him and pressure from his governor colleagues to bid for the vice-presidential ticket.
Shettima, however, pledged to remain “loyal and devoted” to the President, promising that his vice-presidency would not be for the “troika of Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri,” but for all Nigerians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or geographical place of origin.
The unveiling ceremony at the Musa Yar’dua Centre was witness by some governors and leaders of the party: Borno, Prof Babagana Zulum; Gombe, Inuwa Yahaya; Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi; Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Zamfara, Matawalle; former chairman, Adams Oshiomole; God’swill Akpabio; Danjuma Goje among others.