Buhari Vouches for Shettima, Says He’ll Live up to Expectations
*Tinubu, Gbajabiamila, 5 South-west govs absent as APC leaders meet with President
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday hosted leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and expressly vouched for the vice-presidential candidate of the party, Senator Kashim Shettima, saying he will live up to the expectations of the party and Nigerians at large.
However, the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, its five South-west governors, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila were absent at the meeting with Buhari.
During the meeting held at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari recalled that when Shettima was presented to him a couple of days ago, he said he would reserve his comments till the handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
‘‘I still maintain that same position,’’ the President said, lauding party members for acknowledging the many virtues that qualify Shettima “for the noble position.”
He said: “I’m glad the party chairman has come out to state Shettima’s many virtues.”
Buhari told party stalwarts that the unity, security and prosperity of the country would matter most to him, beyond his days in office as President.
He thanked the delegation led by the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, “for the kind words on my role in processes leading to the emergence of our candidate, and his running mate, for the Presidential election in February, next year.”
He adds: ‘‘I want to thank you all for the roles you played in the build-up, first to our national convention earlier this year, and later, to the primary elections.
‘‘You were all of one mind, wanting the best for the party, with the candidate emerging in a free and fair manner.
‘‘For us all, the cohesion and unity of the Party was the first priority, and ambition was second. I am glad that you all saw the larger picture, rather than narrow, self-serving interests.’’
Earlier in their speeches, the National Chairman of the party, the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Shettima expressed gratitude to the President for his exemplary leadership which has strengthened the party in the aftermath of the convention and primaries.
Adamu said: ‘‘our main goal is to see the success of the APC in the forthcoming general elections. There’s no better parting gift than to ensure that the APC produces the next President.’’
Bagudu told the President that he had set a worthy precedence on internal democracy in political parties, adding, ‘‘Under pressure to dictate or suggest, you were determined that the democratic process should be given the opportunity to work and what we have seen is that democratic processes can produce very excellent results. We have a Presidential candidate and a running mate, whom we are all proud of.’’
On his part, Shettima reiterated the willingness of Tinubu and himself to serve Nigeria with justice, equity and fairness.
He said: ‘‘We want to solicit the support of the President once INEC lifts the ban on open-air campaigns and we want to latch on to your achievements and brand name to victory, and consolidate the leadership of the party”.
The meeting was attended by President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Idris Wase; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole; former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe; former Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar; former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, and Senator representing Taraba South Senatorial District, Emmanuel Bwacha.
APC governors in attendance included those of Kebbi (Atiku Bagudu); Borno (Babagana Zulum); Nasarawa (Abdullahi Sule); Yobe (Mana Buni) and Gombe (Inuwa Yahaya).