“…I am handing over to you and your boss. God willing, you are going to win,”
President Muhammadu Buhari struck a chord of humour on Wednesday while responding to a flowery speech by the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, at the State House in Abuja.
“I will respond to your speech when I am handing over to you and your boss. God willing, you are going to win,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President who received the vice-presidential candidate shortly after he was unveiled by the leadership of the party and the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, said he was very happy with the choice of the former governor of Borno State 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,“ he said.
The President expressed strong optimism that the APC ticket would emerge victorious in the 2023 elections.
In his remarks, the vice-presidential candidate 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,” adding, “I can cite 20-30 instances of support you have rendered, for which you will be remembered.”
Shettima 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,” saying “words cannot describe our appreciation of your support. We will remain eternally grateful.”
The former Borno State governor requested the President to appreciate his successor, Babagana Zulum, who was in his company, along with the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Shehuri, for spurning “recurring mention” of him and pressure from his governor colleagues to bid for the vice-presidential ticket.
He pledged to remain “loyal and devoted” to the President, promising that his vice-presidency would not be for the “troika of Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri,” but for all of Nigeria, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or geographical place of origin.