From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja


For the second time in a row, All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential candidate for 2023 elections, Bola Tinubu, was absent as President Muhammadu Buhari hosted stakeholders of the ruling party in the State House, Abuja.

Among the delegation was the Vice Presidential candidate, had met Kashim Shettima on Wednesday shortly after he was unveiled as Tinubu’s substantive running mate at Yar’Adua center but without the party’s flag bearer.

Also absent from the meeting held at the chambers were state governors from the south-west region elected on the party’s platform, as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

In a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari expressed confidence that Shettima would not disappoint the party and Nigerians at large.

He stressed that the unity, security and prosperity of the country would matter most to him, beyond his days in office as President.

The President expressed delight that the party is on towards that eventuality.

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.

“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.’’

He said: “When the Vice Presidential running mate was presented to me a couple of days ago, I said I will reserve my comment till I handover to him and the new president on Mah 29th 2023 at the Eagles square. I still maintain that position.

“But am glad you have come out to state his many virtures which qualify him for the noble position. He will not disappoint the party and Nigerians at large”

President Buhari recounted that when the presidential running mate, Shettima, was presented to him a couple of days ago, he had said he would reserve his comments till the handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, at the Eagle Square.

‘‘I still maintain that same position,’’ the President said, lauding party members for acknowledging the many virtues that qualify the Vice Presidential Candidate for the noble position.

The President expressed confidence that Shettima would not disappoint the Party, and Nigerians at large.

He also commended the Party for resolving to further mobilize more Nigerians, particularly youths, to register, and get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), saying ‘‘It is the way to go.’’

The National Chairman of the party, the Chairman, the Progressives Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Shettima, in separate remarks, expressed gratitude to the President for his exemplary leadership which has strengthened the Party in the aftermath of the convention and primaries.

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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, saying:

“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.”

He attributed the gradual return of normalcy to the North Eastern part of the country to the spirited interventions approved by the President, acknowledging the rise in agricultural activities and food production in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.

The Vice Presidential candidate reiterated the willingness of the APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu and himself to serve Nigeria with justice, equity and fairness.

“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,” he said.

The meeting was attended by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase;

Others include Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State; Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State; Governor Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe State; Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, former Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.

A former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator representing Taraba South Senatorial District, Emmanuel Bwacha were also in attendance.









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