2023: Nigerians will vote competence over sentiments – Shettima | Dailytrust

2023: Nigerians will vote competence over sentiments – Shettima

The vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general poll, Senator Kashim Shettima has said Nigerians will vote competence over “primordial sentiments” during the upcoming general elections.  

He spoke Wednesday in Abuja, during his unveiling as running mate to the presidential candidate of the ruling party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

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Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, was picked after a series of meetings and horse-trading among critical stakeholders of the party. 

His emergence however generated ripples in the polity on account of him sharing the same religious faith with Tinubu, a Muslim from the South West.

Christian organisations had kicked against the development and threatened not to vote for the party if it did not replace him with a Christian.

But in his acceptance speech Wednesday, Shettima said his joint ticket with Tinubu represented hope and progress of the nation, promising to unite the country and provide purposeful leadership.

“I’m not unaware of the difficult political arithmetic that produced this moment, especially the understanding of our great party’s stakeholders and supporters, across religions, regions and ethnicities. Their resolve to settle for this ticket is a testament to the faith they have in us.

“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 tones 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 sensationalize. 

“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 acknowledgement 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.”

 

Ex-Borno gov’s choice hard but best – Tinubu

Speaking at the event, Tinubu said the decision to pick Shettima as his running mate was hard to make but described it as the best one. 

Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State said, “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. 

“All my life, my decisions regarding the team around and supporting me, have always been guided by the principles of competence, innovation, compassion, integrity, fairness and adherence to excellence. 

“This chapter in our nation’s history demands a bold yet pragmatic approach. In selecting Senator Shettima, I have committed myself to this path. I have made the hard choice because I believe it is the best choice.

“This is where politics must end and leadership must begin. True leadership is not grounded in religion, populism or sentiment. To forge ahead as a nation toward development and prosperity, we must break free of old binds,” he said.

Tinubu eulogised Shettima, saying his career in politics and beyond shows that he is “Eminently qualified not only to deliver that all-important electoral victory but, also, to step into the shoes of the vice president. As a man with the talent, maturity, strength of character, and patriotism he has my implicit confidence and faith.”

 

11 govs, others attend unveiling of running mate; 11 others, Lawan, missing 

Of the 22 governors who are members of the party, 11 attended the unveiling while 11 stayed away without sending representatives.

The governors in attendance were Kebbi State governor and Chairman of the  Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Senator Atiku Bagudu, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano),  Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Prof Babagana Zulum (Borno), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe). 

Others were Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara). Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello however, sent his deputy. 

Similarly, Senate President Ahmed Lawan and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who contested against Tinubu at the primaries were equally absent at the event. 

A former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2011 general election, Pastor Tunde Bakare; a former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha;  Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State; Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State; former governor of Zamfara State,  Sani Yarima and others who lost to Tinubu at the convention were equally absent.

 

Tinubu/Shettima will run inclusive gov’t – Adamu 

Also speaking at the unveiling event, APC National  Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said Tinubu and Shettima would run an inclusive government if given the mandate. 

Adamu said Tinubu picked Shettima after wide consultation with critical stakeholders of the party. 

He said, “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a man who has also thrown his arms around every tribe in the country. He has offered his shoulders for those in pain to lean on; he has used his wealth to bring succour to the needy. 

“He can be trusted to run an inclusive government in which character, competence and vision matter to his administration. Our party has produced a candidate who is accepted by all zones in our country. 

“Senator Shettima brings to the joint ticket impressive antecedents as a political leader and administrator. Senator Tinubu could not have made a better choice of a running mate.”

 

Controversy trails presence of 30 ‘bishops’ at event 

Meanwhile, about 30 clergymen said to be bishops graced the occasion in their clerical regalia, a development, which generated controversy with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) disowning them. 

The clergymen, however, declined to speak when approached by newsmen after the event and disappeared thereafter.

In his speech, Shettima acknowledged their presence saying they were 30 in number.

 

They’re hired mechanics – CAN

The Vice President of CAN, 19 Northern States and Abuja, and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, said the attendees were desperados who went there for themselves.

“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.

“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 appreciate that we are in a democracy, no need to do funny and dubious things just to prove a point because it will in the end bounce back. BAT team should simply do what is right and stop the drama,” he said.

 

God willing you’ll succeed – Buhari  

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that the APC candidates will emerge victorious in 2023. 

The president said this on Wednesday at the State House, Abuja, while playing host to Senator Shettima. 

“I will respond to your speech when I am handing over to you and your boss. God willing, you are going to win,” he said.  

President Buhari, who received Shettima shortly after he was unveiled by the leadership of the party and the party’s candidate, said he was very happy with the choice of the former governor of Borno State as 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 in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.

 

Protest rocks APC HQ over VP candidate 

Dozens of protesters yesterday stormed the national secretariat of the APC in Abuja, over the party’s unveiling of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate. 

The protesters particularly said they were aggrieved because the party had decided to fly a Muslim/Muslim ticket. 

The protesters carried banners and placards with various inscriptions such as  ‘Cry for justice’, ‘Drop Shettima and give the slot to our Christian brother’, ‘Discrimination and mutual suspicion in our country’ among others. 

Addressing newsmen during the protest, the convener of the protest, Abdullahi Bilal Mohammadu, said they will not stop protesting until the party withdraws Shettima and fields a Christian. 

In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Mohammadu stated that they saw the selection of Senator Shettima as an “Aberration that should be corrected immediately” by the leadership of the party. 

He said, “As concerned stakeholders of the APC and those who constitute the voting strength of our party, we find it worrisome that such a decision could be taken without recourse to its implication on the electoral chances of the party and the attendant uproar such a decision could bring about in the country.”

 

 

By Saawua Terzungwe, Muideen Olaniyi & Abbas Jimoh

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