History Does Not Favour Desperate Aspirants – Shettima
The history of presidential succession in Nigeria does not favour anyone who is desperate to become the next president, Borno Governor Kashim Shettima said yesterday. He said as such, it is only those who disregard history that lose sleep over replacing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Shettima spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday on telephone from Makkah, when our correspondent asked for his comments on recent verbal skirmishes regarding the 2019 Presidency. The governor is coordinating the return of Borno pilgrims after serving as this year’s Amirul Hajj.
He said, “Like I have repeatedly said in previous interviews since 2015, it is someone that has no regard for history that loses sleep over becoming Nigeria’s President because history doesn’t favour anybody with desperate aspiration to become Nigeria’s President. I am a student of history. As I have cited before now in published interviews, from 1979 to date, nobody with desperate aspiration for the presidency has ever succeeded in getting to that seat. President Shagari never aspired to be President; he was invited to contest without aspiration in 1979. President Obasanjo was even in prison when he was invited to contest without aspiration in 1999. In 2007, powerful people that included powerful governors aspired by then, Governor Umaru Musa Yar’adua who was never in contention was invited to contest without aspiration. President Jonathan who eventually succeeded Yar’adua was also not in contention to become Vice President in 2007 but he made it to the post.
“Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s overwhelming grassroots support, he failed to win the presidential elections when he wanted to become President in 2003, 2007 and 2011 until such a time when the seat wanted him. He had retired from politics but was recalled from retirement to contest the 2015 elections and he won. I am not saying people have no right to aspire for the position or those who aspire are not good for the country. I am talking about history as someone who doesn’t joke with history.
“In fact even the position of Vice President, if you go back to history, all those who became Vice Presidents in Nigeria never aspired for the position from onset. Chief Alex Ekwueme didn’t aspire to be Shagari’s Vice President from the onset ahead of the 1979 elections. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar aspired to be Governor of Adamawa State in 1999, he won the election before he was called to become Obasanjo’s running mate in 1999. Governor Goodluck Jonathan was probably aspiring to seek election for the Bayelsa Governorship in 2007 when he was invited to be late Yar’Adua’s running mate. Architect Namadi Sambo didn’t aspire to be Vice President since he couldn’t have known Yar’adua was going to die. Professor Yemi Osinbajo was never in contention for the seat of Vice President before he was invited to serve.
“So, if history is anything to go by, it doesn’t favour desperation for Nigeria’s Presidency. The seat of Nigeria’s Presidency sought for its occupants; those who eventually got to occupy the seat hardly sought for it. This is based on history. Some people don’t have to follow history but I am a student of history and I do not disregard history. We have a sitting President and if we are to once again go back to history, history favours his re-election. From 1979 to date, we have had seven presidential elections out of which incumbents won re-election in 1983, 2003 and 2011. It was only on one occasion that an incumbent failed to win re-election. So, historical records still favour the incumbent President Buhari’s re-election. What we should do is to support him to continue his good works of fighting Boko Haram, resettling IDPs, rebuilding destroyed towns, fighting corruption, creating fiscal discipline and repositioning our country. He is very capable of transforming this country and he has paid his dues and earned a reputation that is equal to none in Nigeria.”