President Muhammadu Buhari has again refused to make comment on the vice-presidential candidate of the ruling party, APC, Kashim Shettima, maintaining that unity and security of the country are his priority as he has some months to complete his tenure.
Newsonline reports that President Buhari disclosed on Friday during a visit of All Progressive Congress, APC, stakeholders in Aso Rock.
A delegation of APC stakeholders led by the National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Adamu had met to solicit his support immediately INEC lifts ban of open-air campaign ahead of the 2023 general election.
In a statement released by President Muhammadu Buhari Special Adviser of Media, Femi Adesina, the president stated that he stands on his earlier decision not to comment on the choice of the party to field Shettima as vice-presidential candidate.
President Buhari thanked the delegation led by the National Chairman of the party, Senator 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,’’ Buhari said.
President Buhari recounted that when the presidential running mate, Senator Kashim 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.
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.’’
The Kebbi Governor 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, Kashim Shettima, reiterated the willingness of the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed 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.