•Buhari explains why Tinubu announced Shettima in Daura
•Lawan, Gbajabiamila, N’East caucus back Shettima’s pick
•Linking ex-Borno gov to Boko Haram mischievous, says Sani
•Northern CAN says it won’t lose sleep over party’s choice
Segun James in Lagos, Sunday Aborisade, Udora Orizu in Abuja, Francis Sardauna in Katsina, John Shiklam in Kaduna, Laleye Dipo in Minna, Hammed Shittu in Ilorin and James Sowole in Abeokuta
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, urged the Yoruba people to see the aspiration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as their priority to enable him actualise his dream of becoming Nigeria’s president in 2023.
This is as President Muhammadu Buhari, at a meeting with governors of his party, yesterday, in Daura, Katsina State, pacified the aggrieved state chief executives over the manner Tinubu, announced his running mate, Kashim Shettima, on Sunday, saying the leakage of his plan to a section of the media forced Tinubu to take the initiative.
The governors, who had met Buhari, first to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir with him and also register their displeasure with Tinubu over the manner he announced Shettima, a former governor of Borno State, as his partner, however, lamented to the president that they would have wanted one of them asa sitting governor to pair with Tinubu.
This, nonetheless, lawmakers from the North East geo-political zone in the National Assembly, led by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, have congratulated Shettima over his choice as the vice-presidential candidate of the party.
In the same vein, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has equally commended the choice of Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate, saying, it was a wise option.
On his part, a human rights activist and senator in the eighth National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has faulted those linking Shettima to the dreaded Boko Haram sect, saying the idea of it was mischievous.
At the same time, the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (Northern CAN), has said it was not bothered about the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling APC as there are other political parties contesting for the 2023 elections.
Conversely, the Council of Church Leaders and Ministers, yesterday, expressed disappointment in the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC.
However, Sanwo-Olu, who made the plea while speaking as a special guest of honour at the grand finale of the 2022 edition of Ojude-Oba Festival, held in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, said there was more to benefit by Nigeria and Nigerians if Tinubu becomes the next president in 2023.
According to him, “Let me use this opportunity to make this rallying call on all true sons and daughters of the Yoruba race and pronounce that in the unifying spirit of the Ojude Oba celebration, it is my firm hope and belief that the Yoruba race will unite as one behind the momentous candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a proud son of the race and one of the most formidable and experienced politicians to have ever emerged from Africa. Yoruba lo’ kan! Asiwaju lo’ kan!”
On the importance of the festival and many collaborations between Lagos and Ogun States, Sanwo-Olu said, “It is noteworthy that the Ojude Oba Festival, has while staying true to its Islamic roots, also expanded to become a unifying symbol and occasion for people of all faiths, tribes, and tongues,as well as a global celebration of Ijebu heritage and culture.
“We must never lose sight of this unifying element, at a time, when the forces of division seem to be working so actively to undermine all that we cherish as a people. Celebrations like Ojude Oba remind us that evil will never triumph over good. As a proud son of Lagos, it is personally very pleasing to be in this colourful ceremony among my Ijebu brothers and sisters.
“We, the people of Lagos and Ogun, share a long history and cultural bond, shaped by the same forces and experiences, nourished by the same waterways, and living up to the same Omoluabi standards and ideals.
“This was what spurred my brother Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and I to, in 2021, establish the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission, to collaborate on key areas of mutual benefit and development, and accelerate socio-economic growth for all our communities and our people.
“The road network linking Ijebu-Ode, Epe and Lekki is yet another concrete manifestation of our collaboration. Ogun State has completed their own stretch, while we will complete our own end this year, opening up new commercial and logistics opportunities in that axis, and positively impacting the lives of our people, many of whose daily lives cross our joint borders.”
Buhari Explains Why Tinubu Announced Shettima in Daura
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, put up some defence for the president candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu, when he told some aggrieved governors that, the reason he unveiled his running mate while on a visit to him in Daura, was because his plan had already been leaked to a section of the media
Some APC governors had expressed shock at the manner Tinubu announced Shettima as his running mate, even though they claimed there was little or nothing they could have done to change his mind, because despite the procrastination under the guise of consultations, he had always wanted Shettima and also disposed to a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
However, just to have them on record as having protested against the process of announcement by Tinubu, which they claimed was contrary to the understanding they earlier shared, the governors decided to meet with Buhari, who was still observing the Sallah break in his Daura hometown.
The governors, 10 of them, were led by Chairman of the Progressives Governor’s Forum, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, along with the host governor, Aminu Masari of Katsina State.
Others were Governor Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Governor Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Governor Abubakar Bello (Niger); Governor Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa); Governor Hope Uzodinma (lmo); Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Governor Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Governor Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).
The governors, who drove into Buhari’s residence around 1:10 pm, and immediately commenced meeting, however, finished off at about 1:55pm, after which they had lunch.
After listening to their grievances, the president, a source at the meeting hinted, told them that Tinubu didn’t plan to disregard the understanding they had and had in fact, told him he was to meet with the governors for proper briefing before the unveiling.
But the president added that Tinubu was still with him when some section of the media had started breaking the news that he had settled for Shettima, apparently a leak from the inside, which he claimed forced Tinubu to take the initiative immediately and announced same whilst still in Daura.
The president, the THISDAY source claimed, had maintained that there was no arrogance in the approach or an attempt to disregard the understanding they had, but a situation had arisen and Tinubu needed to respond to it immediately, which was what happened.
However, addressing the media afterwards, Bagudu said, a Tinubu-Shettima presidency would complement all the achievements of the last seven years under the Buhari presidency.
Bagudu, also said the APC Governors Forum was working hard to win the upcoming Osun governorship election.
His words: “We are quite pleased that this formidable team of Tinubu and Shettima will usher in a new Nigeria in 2023. Kashim Shettima is one of Nigeria’s finest, who will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the governance of the nation.
“Nigerians should be convinced that this is about the best team from the party for the 2023 general election.
“We are proud and congratulated the President over the development, especially, with the manner the primaries held in the most transparent way leading to the emergence of Tinubu as the APC presidential flag bearer.
“This team will no doubt complement the achievements and track records by Buhari in the past seven years, especially, with the different policies put in place to bring back the country from the effects of COVID-19 and that of the Russia-Ukraine war.
“We have resolved to work hard for the victory of the APC in both the weekend Osun state governorship election and the 2023 general elections.”
On his part, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, equally described the choice of Shettima as a collective decision, noting that the 22 governors of the APC would deliver their 22 states in the 2023 general election.
Lawan, N’East N’Assembly Members Back Shettima’s Choice
Lawmakers from the North East geopolitical zone in the National Assembly, have congratulated Shettima for his pick as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC in the 2023 general election.
Reacting to the development in a statement, yesterday, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who is the Chairman of the North East Caucus in the federal parliament, said all his colleagues fully supported Shettima’s choice.
While noting that Tinubu and the APC, made the right choice in Shettima, Lawan said the National Assembly North-East legislators, were convinced that Shettima would demonstrate great competence, integrity and courage in the discharge of his responsibility.
“On behalf of myself and the North East Caucus of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), I heartily congratulate His Excellency, Senator Kashim Ibrahim Shettima, on his nomination as the running mate to our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for the 2023 general election.
“Asiwaju Tinubu and our party have made an excellent choice in Senator Shettima. The former two-term Governor of Borno State entered public service with impeccable credentials, which he has burnished by demonstrating great competence, integrity and courage in all the positions that he has held.
“His background in academics and the private sector prepared him for the achievements that he has recorded in politics as Governor and since his election to the Senate in 2019.”
Gbajabiamila: Shettima as Tinubu’s Partner a Wise Decision
Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has described the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to Bola Tinubu, as a wise decision.
Gbajabiamila in a statement said, Tinubu settled for one of the best hands for the job of Nigeria’s vice-president.
According to him, “Shettima has over the years proved his mettle as a shrewd and progressive politician, whose eight years as governor of Borno State – from 2011 to 2019 – was a defining moment for the state.
“Asiwaju is widely known as the biggest talent hunter in the country, who has over the years assembled an army of performers in governance irrespective of their ethnicity or religious leaning. This unique feature also can be found in Senator Shettima following his track record of excellence in both the private and public sectors.
“Shettima has the right character and intellectual capacity to turn things around hence having him as the Vice-President under a Tinubu presidency will be a masterstroke in the management of the economy.”
CAN Not Loosing Sleep over APC’s Muslim-Muslim Pick
The Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (Northern CAN), has said it was not bothered about the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC as there are other political parties contesting for the 2023 elections.
Secretary General of Northern CAN, Mr. Sunday Oibe, stated this in an interview with THISDAY in Kaduna.
Oibe said, “As an organisation, we are not loosing sleep over the decision of a political party,who has no regards for our diversity and the ethno-religious tensions threatening our fragile peace and existence as a country.”
He said the APC was insensitive to the challenges of ethnic and religious tension that have continued to raise suspicion and keep the country divided.
“As a Christian leader, I will not support Christian-Christian ticket. I have many of my Muslims friends, who are opposed to Muslim- Muslim ticket. People are free to vote for candidates or parties of their choice,” Oibe said.
While calling on politicians to strive to unite Nigerians rather than adopting divisive tendencies to achieve selfish political ends, he said, “Any politician, who has no regards for the diversity of the country does so at his or her peril.”
Oibe said, the reasons advanced for Muslim-Muslim ticket were laughable, pointing out that competent people abound in every religious and ethnic group in Nigeria.
“We don’t want religious bigots, who will promote nepotism over issues of fairness and equality. We need a leader, who will be fair to all,” he said.
Church Leaders Berate APC for Trampling on Christians’ Rights
The Council of Church Leaders and Ministers has expressed disappointment in the choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the ruling APC.
The group said the behaviour of the political class in the country most of the time evidently showed that personal ambition and interest were the overriding goal and not patriotism.
Speaking at a press conference in Ilorin, Kwara State, on the state of the nation, Chairman of the Council, Pastor Abel Aiyedogbon, said “our political leaders are not sensitive to the feelings of the citizens of the country.
“How will anybody think about fielding candidates of the same religion for the first and the second place, when the constitution of the country recognises secularity?
“One will not be wrong to say that trampling on the religious rights of Nigerian is manifest in the idea of the Muslim-Muslim ticket, which some people are now championing.
“It should be noted that people maligned and presented as inconsequential are not likely to forget. The suggestion of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is all about impunity and a callous and most importantly, it is a lack of consideration for others.
“It is a form of religious intolerance to even contemplate either a Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket. Any party that thinks or believes that the Christian population can be ignored without consequences will be doing so to her peril.
“One may ask: as the case presents, does it means that the Northern Christians have no electoral value? Contrary to the perception of some political leaders, who believe that religion will not be a factor in the choice of presidential running mate, we hasten to warn that any party that underrates our electoral value will be doing so to her disadvantage.
“The political class can decide to field whosoever they like just as much as we have our right to vote candidate of our choice,” he maintained.
Sani: Linking Shettima to Boko Haram Mischievous
Rights activist and senator in the eighth National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has faulted those linking Senator Kashim Shettima, to the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
He, however, said those who were aggrieved over the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling party have the constitutional right to express their objections.
Sani, in a statement yesterday, noted that the remarks that trailed the choice of Shettima including insinuations and allegations linking him to the formation, growth and deadly destruction by the Boko Haram group was condemnable and mischievous.
According to him, “Shettima as the Governor of Borno State, has invested his much time,energy and the resources of Borno State, in combatting, containing and curtailing the activities of the terrorists group.
“Shettima has no hand in the abduction of the Chibok girls. He has done more than anyone in contributing and supporting the operations of the Army and other security agencies in protecting the people of Borno state and by extension Nigeria.
“As a stakeholder and former chairman, Senate committee on the Humanitarian crisis in the North East, I’m privy to the fact that Shettima attracted massive presence and intervention of international NGOs and donor countries to the humanitarian situation in Borno.
“I’m not a member of the ruling party but the truth is that other than issues of religion, he is better qualified in terms of competence than many who were paraded. Religion is a sensitive matter in Nigeria, other than that, Nigeria’s most important challenge is security, Shetima’s experience can be useful and is very much-needed.”
Bago Backs Senator Tinubu’s Choice of Running Mate
The 2023 governorship candidate of the APC in Niger State, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Bago, has thrown his weight behind Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Choice of Kashim Shettima as his presidential running mate.
Bago, in a statement made available to newsmen in Minna, described the choice of Shettima as “The best thing that has happened to the political growth of the APC.
“A highly trusted and committed party man, who has done a lot to reposition Borno as two term governor, Shettima played a major role during the special presidential convention, which brought to the fore his qualification, competence and exposure to lead the party and move country forward”
He, therefore, expressed confidence in the ability of Shettima to bring his experience to bare on the ticket, saying he would work with the presidential candidate to take Nigeria to greater heights.
“The combination of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Shettima is an assurance of success for the party at the polls next year,” and therefore called on all APC members to rally round the ticket to ensure its success.