President Muhammadu Buhari struck a chord of humour on Wednesday at the State House in Abuja while responding to a flowery speech by Senator Kashim Shettima, the running mate and vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 elections, 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 the VP candidate shortly after he was unveiled by the leadership of the party and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said he was very happy with the choice of the former governor of Borno State as running mate to the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari said: “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 presidential ticket will emerge victorious in 2023.
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 Northeast,” adding, “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,” saying that “words cannot describe our appreciation of your support. We will remain eternally grateful.”
The former governor of Borno State and incumbent Borno Central Senator requested the President to appreciate his successor, Governor Babagana Zulum, who was in his company, along with the Minister of State, Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, for spurning “recurring mention” of him and pressure from his governor colleagues to bid for the Vice Presidential ticket.
The Candidate pledged to remain “loyal and devoted” to the President, promising that his Vice-Presidency will not be for the “troika of Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri,” but for all Nigeria, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or geographical place of origin.