… Say he can’t be trusted with high office
For his unsavoury comments against the Labour Party’ presidential candiate Mr Peter Obi, a northern youth group, The Coalition of Arewa Youths for Peace and National Development (COAYPANU), has dropped the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, as its patron.
The decision was taken after what it described as a derogatory statement by Shettima on Peter Obi on his quest to preside over the affairs of Nigeria.
Adadainfo reports that Shettima had during an interview on Arise TV last weekend questioned the capacity and competence of the former governor of Anambra State to lead the country as president.
While condemning Shettima’s comment, considered by many as provocative, the youths called on Nigerians to reject politicians that promote bigotry and other tendencies that threaten peace and unity.
Shettima had said that the LP flag-bearer could best be a “president in Igboland”, thereby attracting criticisms from thousands of the latter’s supporters, who identify themselves as “Obi-dients” among other well-meaning Nigerians.
But the Arewa youths, in a statement by their National President, Alhaji Mohammed Gwadabe, said Shettima’s attack on Obi smacked of perceived bigotry, hence their decision to remove him as patron with immediate effect.
“Considering the weight of the provocative, divisive and reckless statement made by our patron, Alhajji Kashim Shettima which is against the spirit of unity we stand for, and following consultations from members across the 19 states of Northern Nigeria, and approval from National Executive Committee in our emergency congress held, we, by this statement, announce the immediate removal of the APC Vice Presidential candidate as our patron.
“We are ashamed to associate ourselves with someone of Shettima’s standing who, despite piloting the affairs of his native Borno State as governor for two consecutive terms, still does not know that Nigeria is for everybody, irrespective of tribe, religion and cultural backgrounds.
“The reckless and retrogressive statement he made against Peter Obi and Igbo presidency is his personal view and not that of our organisation which he was a patron at the time of the provocative statement,” Gwadabe said.
The northern youths stated that the caustic statement was a reflection of the former Borno governor’s state of mind, adding, however, that such disposition showed that he could not be trusted with the highest office in Nigeria.
The statement reads in part: “The era where Arewa youths just accept whatever choices, or decisions made by the APC, is gone for good, and that point must not be taken for granted.
“Henceforth, Northern youths, who are distinguished in every right, shall vote character and competence, while relegating tribe and religion to the background, as far as elections that will decide their future are concerned.
“We call on all well-meaning Nigerians, especially our youths and Northern elites, to, in the interest of our diversity and unity, condemn – in the strongest term – this unpatriotic statement capable of igniting ethnic tension in the already-charged polity.
“We hold that such crass propagation of bigotry must not be allowed in a decent society such as ours that is multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and secular in nature.”