Two-term Borno State Governor Senator Kashim Shettima was formally unveiled as the All Progressives Congress(APC) Vice Presidential candidate on Wednesday, and he has declared that with his nomination comes a burden of trust not to disappoint the party presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other stakeholders of the party who chose him as a result of competence.
Shettima made the declaration in Abuja shortly after his presentation by the national chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
“I carry the burden of trust. I won’t take that for granted. I am here because of the trust and expectations of those who believe in me,” Senator Shettima declared.
Reacting to the sustained criticisms that have trailed the single faith ticket of the APC, the former governor described his nomination as a reflection of democracy, not an imposition while submitting that the fear of domination by one faith over others was misplaced.
He said:” This ticket is a Nigerian project, not a sectional agenda that they are trying to portray. This is about a transformative agenda. The goodwill that has poured in since my nomination underscored the hope in our ticket. It is an accomplishment that Nigerians are again bent on pushing for good governance over primordial sentiments.
“Nigerians have the capacity to see through bigots masquerading as patriots, with an insidious agenda to tear the nation apart. We give our commitment that no discrimination will arise from this single faith ticket.
“I don’t need to be Vice President to represent the interest of the Muslim faith, the Sultan of Sokoto is capable of doing that. ”
Earlier in his remarks, the national chairman of the ruling party, Abdullahi Adamu, acknowledged that the Presidential candidate of the party consulted widely before picking the former Borno State Governor as his running mate.
Senator Adamu recalled that the nation experienced a single faith in the 1993 presidential election when the defunct Social Democratic Party presented the duo of late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as presidential and vice presidential candidates stating that Bola Tinubu enjoined the same goodwill and trust across religious and ethnic divides in the country.
He said:” The 1993 presidential ticket and the current one bridged one of our 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.
“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. He enjoys the trust of every stratum in our national socio-economic structure. We are confident that Nigerians will entrust him with the leadership of our country in 2023. We offer our gratitude to Nigerians for the continued trust they repose in the APC.
“In our political tradition, the choice of a running mate is the exclusive right of the presidential candidate. He exercises that right with due consultations with the stakeholders in the party.
“Jagaban, being an astute politician, could not have made the choice of a running mate without widely consulting the stakeholders in our party, including President Muhammadu Buhari. Having made his choice, the party wholly and unconditionally accepts his choice. The party has a duty to work for their victory at the polls next year.
“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 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. He chose a man he believes can partner with him to undertake the urgent task of our economic recovery as well as social and political development in peace and security. ”
The APC national chairman also cautioned tendencies in the ruling party who lost our in the power game for the presidential ticket of the party to rise above pettiness and bitterness and work for the success of the party in next February’s general elections.
He raised the alarm that the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party could take advantage of internal dissension within the ruling party to supplant it.
“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. As the faithful would like to say, that will not be our portion. Our winning strategy must be anchored on a unity of purpose. I urge us to begin our march now towards the sunrise.”
The party presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu in his presentation, restated his position that the former Borno State Governor remained his best choice as running mate.
“Much has been said and written about my decision to select Senator Shettima to partner me on this journey.
“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 is the very best person to run for office and, 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.
“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.
“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.
“Senator Kashim Shettima’s 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.”
Kebbi State Governor and Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, said the choice of former Borno State Governor was reassuring that Tinubu sought a competent hand to compliment him.
“No one that has interacted with Shettima will be left in doubt about his brilliance, his capacity. He made brilliant contributions as a member of the Economic Advisory Council. His contributions were laudable. We are in no doubt that Asiwaju has found a credible, competent compatriot who will inspire a sense of inclusion so that Nigeria will take its rightful place in the comity of nations. ”
Ekiti State Governor, Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum and former presidential aspirant, Kayode Fayemi, spoke in a similar vein as he noted that Senator Shettima’s capacity, commitment and competence were not in doubt.
“I have always admired him. A Vice President should be the number one presidential Adviser, the last person with the President when a decision is to be taken. Asiwaju will find no better partner than Shettima. Even in the toughest of times, we knew the courage of conviction that he demonstrated as governor of Borno State. So, Aswaju will find no better partner as a talent hunter, a bridge builder and a voracious reader. He is a passionate reader and he applies himself to the book.
“Our presidential flag bearer is someone I know very well; he doesn’t like yes men around him. Shettima isn’t going to be a yes man. But he also submits himself to superior logic. That’s the leader we can trust. So, I have absolutely no doubt that he will represent the interest of governors very well. He is a former governor just like Asiwaju. We in the Nigeria Governors Forum would have loved this ticket to be a former and current governor. But be that as it may, we will take both of them as current governors.”
Honourable Ado Alhassan Doguwa who represented Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the National Assembly was proud of the APC presidential candidate and his running mate as he noted that both were products of the National Assembly having served as Senators.
“We are equally proud that both of you are former Senators. Just like the governors have said you were one of them, you are also our own. We will do everything possible to ensure that Asiwaju takes the mantle of leadership. This is a ticket for Nigeria that our youths will be proud of. With Shettima, an aggressive administrator, we have a choice that will deliver. ”
In attendance were Governors of Borno, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Katsina, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun and the Zamfara States.
Checks revealed that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, was pencilled on the programme to deliver a goodwill message. He was however absent and sent no representative.
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