BusinessDay

I remain unwavering on Shettima – Tinubu

...says APC must win 2023 polls

Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday said he remained unwavering in the selection of Kashim Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 general election.

There has been a flurry of opposition, especially amongst christians in Nigeria, against the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket of Tinubu/Shettima.

But, speaking at the unveiling of Shettima in Abuja, Tinubu said he was not perturbed as the former Borno governor was the very best person to run for the office of vice president and govern by his side.

The APC presidential candidate said Shettima’s career in politics and beyond showed that he was eminently qualified not only to deliver that all-important electoral victory, but also, step into the shoes of the Vice President.

He 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.

“In politics, these principles are sacrosanct. Without them there can be neither victory nor good governance. I seek both. I applied them as governor of Lagos. I apply them again now.”

Tinubu also declared that the APC must win the 2022 election so that the party can bring jobs, education, food, medicine, hope and belief in a better life to Nigerians.

He 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.”

In his acceptance speech, Shettima said his joint ticket with Tinubu was not an imposition but an outcome of democracy at its practical best, and based on the aggregation of the ideas and insights of great party’s stakeholders.

He said if that were an unpopular option, as the cast of partisan provocateurs has attempted to paint, there would not have been the tonnes of goodwill messages, especially from Christians all over the country.

He said: “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.”

The former Borno governor described his pairing with Tinubu as “reincarnation of the 30-year-old hope that produced the late MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe,” which he said: “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.”

Shettima said Nigerians witnessed the decisive blows dealt the bigotry dispensed by a hopeless minority, ahead of the APC presidential primaries, last June.

He said: “The futility of their propaganda showed that Nigerians aren’t the unthinking robots some are quick to call them. Nigerians are rational beings, with the capability to tell an invidious agenda apart, from sincere concern for them.
“They are not the uncritical consumers of clickbait and falsehoods, as some of us think they are. They see through the bigots, masquerading as patriots and, very importantly, they know those who represent their interests, even in the quietest and darkest of meeting rooms.”

Abdullahi Adamu, APC national chairman, in his remarks after unveiling Shettima, said the 1993 presidential ticket and the current one bridged one of Nigeria’s fault lines in the management of her diversities.

Read also: APC unveils Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate

He said: “Those of you who are students of our recent political history will note that in choosing Shettima as his running mate, Jagaban chose also to walk along the path that other great son of this country, Aare Onakakanfo, the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, did. He chose a Kanuri, Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe from the North-East geo-political zone, as his running mate in the 1993 presidential election.

“We are beginning to suspect there must be some synergy between the Yoruba and the Kanuri. Maybe, there is a mutual attraction between them that the rest of us do not know. Never mind, we will put the searchlight on them.

“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 her rights as a Nigerian citizen by the profession of his faith.”

The former Nasarawa state governor said Shettima brings to the joint ticket, impressive antecedents as a political leader and administrator, adding that Tinubu could not have made a better choice of a running mate.

“The unveiling of the vice-presidential candidate today sends out a strong signal to the country that our great party is ready and united around the common cause of coasting home with victory at every level in 2023. But we must not be unmindful of the hurdles ahead. It is time to purge ourselves of the bitterness arising from our individual losses in the party primaries. It is time to submit ourselves to the will of God and the party and do nothing to sabotage its well-laid plans for victory.

“The other political parties want what we want, and that is, to win and form the next government. If by any acts of omission or commission we give in to bitterness and pettiness or fail to see the larger picture or take any of the political parties for granted, we would constitute an obstacle to the victory of our party,” he further said.

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