From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has warned aggrieved party members not to sabotage the party’s anticipated victory in the 2023 presidential election with bitterness.
He spoke at the unveiling of the party’s vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, in Abuja yesterday, warning that the party’s winning strategy must be anchored on a unity of purpose.
“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,” he pleaded.
Defending the choice of Shettima, the ruling party’s boss, said: “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 stake holders in the party. Jagaban, being an astute politician, could not have made the choice of a running mate without widely consulting the stake holders 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,” he said.
Similarly, the vice presidential candidate, in his acceptance speech, described the ticket as a burden of trust, emphasising that his emergence emergence was not an imposition.
His words: “I must also firmly underscore the remarkable political journey of our leader, Bola Tinubu. His incredible vision and strength of character, have helped us to the point where our party evolved to, as the giant of the Nigerian political scene. We are lucky indeed, to be standing on the shoulders of these two remarkable political titans.
“There’s no weight I carry very carefully, as much as the burden of trust, and learning from public servants, who never take the expectations of the public, for granted. I am standing here today because of the benign testaments of those who believe in me—those who crawled so that some of us could walk, and those who walked, for others to run.
“The successes of APC in the past two presidential elections, were not magic shows. They were rewards for our foresighted, and pragmatic decisions, to sacrifice our personal interests and sectional sentiments, for the overriding prospects of our great party.
“We are again on the cusp of history, and left with no option, other than collaborating assiduously again, to pursue the collective interest of APC’s stakeholders, across ethnic, religious, and regional stations.
“Today, I must also testify to the cyclical nature of history. But, like those before us, we must resist the temptation to throw a feast, over an invitation to serve the people. We must always take the past as our finest teacher, one never to be taken for granted. This would guide our staring into tomorrow.
“I am 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 is not 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 tonnes 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 acknowledgment 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,” he said.
Goodwill messages came from the Chairman APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, Majority Leader House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, who represented Reps Speaker, among others.
While Governor Bagudu described Shettima as “one of Nigeria’s finest, he claimed that; “Tinubu’s emergence has resonated the hope of many Nigerians. The result is a reflection of the votes he will win. He is Nigeria’s presidential candidate.
“I have no doubt about his personality, capacity. Tinubu has found in Shettima an able, competent, patriotic, confidence person to help him give Nigerians good governance,” he noted.
Fayemi, in his message quipped that though the APC governors desired that Tinubu picked one of the serving Governors as running, the choice of Shettima is still perfect.
“I know Shettima very well. He won’t be a yes man. He is a leader we can trust and a leader we can recommend to Nigerians. He is a voracious reader.
“We would have loved the running mate to be a former and current governors, but we have to take all of them as current governors. We will support them with every vibre in our being to ensure that they are elected in 2023,” he promised.
Other Governors in attendance include, Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Borno, Babagana Zulum, Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, Zamfara, Bello Matawalle,
Katsina, Aminu Masari, Gombe Inua Yahaya, Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule, Ogun, Prince Dapo Abiodun and Kogi State deputy governor, Edward Onoja.