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Presidential election must win for APC –Tinubu – VELOXNEWS

From Romanus Ugwu, Fred Itua, Abuja, Tony John, Port Harcourt

In spite of stiff opposition, particularly from the Christian community over his decision to hoist a Muslim-Muslim flag,  the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has boasted that the ruling party would win the 2023 presidential poll.

He made the declaration at the unveiling of his running mate, and former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, in Abuja, yesterday.

He hinged the desperation to win the presidential poll on the opportunity to reposition the country in agriculture, education, health and infrastructures.

Defending his choice of running mate, the former Lagos State governor emphasised that Shettima’s career in politics and beyond showed that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver the all important electoral victory, but also step into the shoes of the vice president.

“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 so that we can bring jobs, education, food, medicine, hope and belief in a better life to the people of this country.”

He thanked all APC members and supporters for the outpouring of support he had received in the weeks since his nomination by the party.

“I stand ready to make this journey and, today, I am delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with my good friend, brother and running mate; Senator Kashim Shettima.

“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 to, 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.

“Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all important electoral victory, but, also, 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,” he said in defence of his choice of Shettima.

Meanwhile, South East stakeholders including two governors, former ministers like Ogbonnaya Onu, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Chris Ngige, and even former Senate President, Ken Nnamani were conspicuously absent at the ceremony.

Also, chieftains and leaders of the party from the South-south notably Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Ben Ayade, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege among others were equally missing at the event.

Those in attendance included members of the national leadership like Deputy National Chairman (South), Emma Enukwu, National Welfare Secretary, FN Nwosu, former National Organizing Secretary, Emma Ibediro, Director-General Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu among others.

However, while dignitaries gathered at the venue of the unveiling, protesters, numbering hundreds, were at the national secretariat of the party to demand that APC reverse its decision on Muslim-Muslim ticket.

The protesters were to converge on the venue of the unveiling, but got security report of a possible clash with supporters of the ticket, which made them to divert to the party’s national secretariat to register their disapproval.

The demonstration led by members under the auspices of APC Hausa-Fulani Youth Forum arrived the secretariat in six luxury buses and few cars holding different banners and chanting solidarity songs.

Some of the banners read: ‘A cry for justice’, ‘Drop Shettima and give slot to our Christian brothers’, ‘Discrimination and mutual suspicion in our country’, ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket will deny APC victory’ among others.

Convener of Forum, Abdullahi Bilal Mohamadu, who spoke to newsmen, warned that they would not stop protesting until the party do the right.

Asked why they chose to protest on a day the party was unveiling him, Mohammadu said it was a deliberate act to tender their grievances and ensure it reached the appropriate authorities.

“We write to your good office in light of the prevailing circumstances arising from the decision of our Presidential candidate to select a Northern Muslim as his vice presidential candidate.

“While it must be stated that there is a right to make decisions, such decisions must not be made to the collective detriment of the sensibilities of the people that make up the country, especially at a time of mutual suspicion amongst Christians and Muslims in the northern part.

“As concerned stakeholders of the APC and those who constitute the voting strength of our party, we find it worrisome that such a decision could be taken without recourse to its implication on the electoral chances of the party and the attendant uproar such a decision could bring about in the country.

“In our opinion, this is insensitive and a gross display of a lack of respect for our Christian brothers and sisters especially the Middle Belt minority who have given all their best to us as one northern Nigeria. Picking another Muslim from the North Eastern part of the country as his running mate is politically and morally indefensible.

“In Northern Nigeria, there are credible candidates with rich credentials and with massive grassroots following that can complement the presidential ticket of the APC in the presidential elections. As such, the Hausa- Fulani Youths Forum sees the selection of Senator Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected with immediate effect by the relevant authorities within the party.

“The implication of non-action can only be imagined, so much so that the majority of the eligible voters in Northern Nigeria have elected to boycott the APC in protest of the disrespect and disregard to our Northern Christian brothers, whose population and relevance in the scheme of things in the region cannot be overemphasised. 

“If our party is desirous of recording electoral success in the 2023 presidential elections, it must retrace its steps by selecting a Christian from the Middle Belt as its vice presidential candidate. The party must not be perceived as promoting a religious agenda by fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket.”

•Loss in Osun lesson to party members –Support group

Supporters on the platform of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu National Canvassers (BATNC) have said the loss in Osun State is a lesson.

President of the support group, Murtala Muhammad Garba, urged supporters to get their permanent voters’ card.

He said: “We must be able to represent our candidate, anywhere, anywhere, anytime in this country and outside. Let the electorate know that our candidate is a good example of good governance.

“He has been doing it and he will do more if given the opportunity to govern. He has a road map. He lives in Nigeria and his businesses are here too in the country.

“He believes in empowerment of youth and women. He participated and contributed to many developmental projects within the country. Let out campaign convince the electorate out there.

“What happened in Osun State is a big lesson to all support groups and party loyalists. Let us build bridges and not walls. The time of box snatching is gone.

“Electorate now vote for individuals and not party. We need to defend the reason for the reason for the emergence of a Muslim as Vice President “

•Buhari: Tinubu/Shettima ticket’ll emerge victorious

President Buhari has predicted that Tinubu and Shettima, would win the 2023 poll.

Malam Garba Shehu, president’s spokesman, said Buhari made the prediction when he received Sen. Shettima, at the State House, Abuja.

Shehu said the president struck a chord of humour while responding to a flowery speech by Shettima, saying, “I will respond to your speech when I am handing over to you and your boss. God willing, you are going to win.”

President Buhari, who received Shettima shortly after he was unveiled by the leadership of the party and Tinubu, expressed delight over the choice of the former Governor of Borno as running mate.

“I wish you the best. Your consistency in the party is very respectful.  You served your two terms as Governor and finished well.

“You have kept touch with your base. At every important  occasion or event, you are maintaining support for the one who succeeded you.  This is commendable”.

The president expressed strong optimism that the APC ticket would emerge victorious  in 2023.

Shetima thanked the president for his “empathy, support and positive role,” leading to his emergence as running mate to the APC Presidential Candidate.

He praised the president for having “a special place in your heart for Borno and North East.

“I can cite 20-30 instances of support you have rendered, for which you will be remembered.”

He mentioned the establishment of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Independent Power Plant for Maiduguri by the NNPC, “after many years of darkness.”

•Tinubu has chosen to walk along Abiola’s path –Adamu

Senator Abdullahi Adamu, national chairman,  said Tinubu has chosen to walk along the path of great Nigerians like the late MKO Abiola in picking Shettima as running mate.

“It is now time for the APC to step out to the public space with one of its best. Since the presidential candidate of our party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, announced the choice of his running mate on July 11, the nation is yet to know who he is, we welcome this opportunity to unveil him.

“As the national chairman of our party, it is both my honour and duty to unveil this distinguished son of our country and formally present him to this august body and through it, the Nigerian public,” he said.

Adamu said that the late MKO Abiola in 1993 presidential election,  chosed a Kanuri man, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe from the North-East as his running mate.

“We are beginning to suspect there must be some synergy between the Yoruba people and the Kanuri people.

“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,” he said.

According to him, the 1993 MKO Abiola-Kingibe presidential ticket and the current Tinubu-Shettima ticket, bridged one of our fault lines in the management of our diversities.

Adamu said 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.

He said that Tinubu was a man who has also thrown his arms around every tribe in the country and has offered his shoulders for those in pains to lean on.

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