All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday justified the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate in next year’s election.
He also explained why the ruling party should retain power.
Tinubu also said the APC and Nigeria have a unique opportunity to rekindle hope for a better country.
He said: “Every election brings with it the promise of renewed hope. This one shall be no different.
APC leaders, led by National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu, were in one accord at the ceremony.
The vice presidential candidate described the Tinubu/Shettima ticket as one of hope, reminiscent of the Third Republic Abiola/Kingibe ticket.
Shettima, who was accompanied by his wife, Nana, said he was honoured by the consensus of eminent party stakeholders, who had reposed trust in the ticket.
Lauding the decision to pair Shettima with the standard bearer, Adamu said the ruling party will be victorious at the poll.
The event was witnessed by members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by House Leader Ado Doguwa, members of the National Assembly, former governors and ministers and governorship and parliamentary aspirants.
At the ceremony were PGF Chairman and Kebbi State Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Other governors present were Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Aminu Masari (Kastina), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Prince Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Kogi State Deputy Governor Edward Onoja.
Others are Senator Kabiru Gaya, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, former National Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso, Sen. Musilu Obanikoro, Sen. Solomon Adeola, former National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomole, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio, former Interior Minister Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau; Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechuhwu; Alhaji Fouad Oki, former Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al’Makura; former National Vice Chairman (Southsouth) Hillary Etta, former presidential aide Sen. Enang Eta and Director-General, Nigeria Diaspora Commission Abike Dabiri
Others are Niger State governorship candidate, Mohammed Bago, Chairman, House Committee on Finance James Faleke and former national chairmanship aspirant, Sunny Moniedafe.
Remarkably, many Christian leaders also witnessed the ceremony, contrary to the insinuation that the clerics loathe a Muslim/Muslim ticket.
Tinubu believes the 2023 election is a “must win” in a bid to set a new stage for tackling the challenges confronting the country.
He emphasised that the preparation for the poll has brought a promise of renewed hope.
The standard bearer, who acknowledged the popular support for the ticket, said there is a determination to change the country for the better.
Tinubu, who thanked party members and supporters for their backing since his nomination, reflected on the reactions that have trailed Shettima’s choice.
He said: “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, His Excellency, 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 he is the very best person to run for the office and, 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 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.”
Justifying his choice, Tinubu said his decision required a bold, but pragmatic approach.
He said: “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.