By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, has said 2023 is payback time for the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Shettima, who chaired a nationwide conference of the Tinubu Support Groups (TSG) held on Monday in Abuja, said none of the 2023 presidential aspirants has made sacrifices to the growth of the nation’s democracy than Tinubu.
He said the top echelon of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari should compensate Tinubu for his political contributions to the formation of the APC and ensuring that Buhari won the presidential election in 2015.
Shettima argued that for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, APC should zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the South and give Tinubu the right of first refusal.
“In 2015, some aspirants with very huge war chests were itching to clinch the ticket of the APC, but like the rock of Gibraltar, Asiwaju and his progressive team stood solidly behind the candidacy of President Buhari.
“My simple question, distinguished ladies and gentlemen is, where were the new members of what I call ‘the Buhari’s church of latter days’ saints’; where were they?
“We knew where their political loyalty lay in that particular convention when Buhari emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC. Where were they?
“Some people say everything goes in politics. Not everything goes in politics. We shall have minimal thresholds below which we won’t operate and the irreducible minimum is that after eight years of presidency in the North, the logic, common sense, equity, justice and fairness demand that power should move to the Southern part of the country.
“And who is better qualified? Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu should be given the choice of first refusal. More than any other person, he has sacrificed more for this democracy; for the APC,” the Senator said.
The former Borno governor described Tinubu as a tested, accomplished and large-hearted leader, who has invested his resources in building an extensive network of political mentees who have risen to the peak of their careers.
He tackled those who are saying Tinubu is unfit to be the country’s president due to ill-health.
“The mark of true leadership isn’t the ability to lift a bag of cement. It’s the mental effort to think rationally of solutions designed to redeem one’s people and territorial jurisdiction,” he added.
Also, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, said the event was to present Tinubu as the APC flag bearer.
“Therefore our task, beginning from today, is to develop a smart strategic plan that we will faithfully execute to deliver Sen Tinubu as the candidate of APC and to thereafter deliver him as a landslide winner of the 2023 presidential election,” he said.
Some of the dignitaries at the event include Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Hamisu Chidari; Senator Abu Ibrahim; member of the House of Representatives, James Faleke and Abdulmumin Jibrin among others.