His­tory Does Not Favour Des­per­ate As­pi­rants – Shet­tima

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Stella Iyaji

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.”

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