In what could ordinarily pass for the celebration of victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, took a swipe at one of his predecessors, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku, who was the nation’s number two citizen between 1999 and 2007, ran against President Bola Tinubu in the February 25 election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Tinubu winner of the election.
Dissatisfied, Atiku and some other rivals headed for the court, which struck out their petitions and upheld Tinubu’s election.
Addressing reporters outside the courtroom where he spent over 12 hours, Shettima spoke on different issues.
Just about the time he was rounding off, a female journalist asked him if he would still fulfil the vow of retiring Atiku as stated during the campaign, the vice-president said, ”Atiku Abubakar is an elder statesman that I hold in very high esteem and anybody who knows the social cultural interaction between the Fulanis and the Kanuris in the North will know that I have the liberty to haul all insults at him and he will bear.
”We are not going to retire him to Dubai or Morroco, I will retire him to Fombina, I will buy him goats, broilers and layers so that he can spend his days rearing goats and broilers.”
However, Shettima made it clear that he said that on a lighter note.
RETIRING POLITICAL TOURIST ATIKU
When he hosted the APC National Integrity Movement, a support group, in Abuja in the buildup to the election, Shettima had described Atiku as a “political tourist” who returns to the country every election cycle.
“Atiku Abubakar is like a father to me and I hold him in high esteem. But he is a political tourist who is only in this country’s electoral circle and we are going to retire him back to Dubai to go and relax. In every situation, for people to see your worth, they need to see your output at home. I am from the North East – he is from the North East.
“Atiku cannot point to three projects that he brought to the north-east or to Northern Nigeria for the eight years that he served as the vice president. He cannot show us three people that he has mentored,” Shettima had said.
TINUBU HAPPY WITH TRIBUNAL VERDICT
Before cracking the joke on Atiku, Shettima had earlier told journalists that Tinubu was happy with the outcome of the ruling.
“My principal, President Bola Tinubu is eternally indebted to the Nigerian people and to the leadership of the party who have been here since 9 a.m.
“Our energetic chairman and national secretary of the party, members of the national assembly, ministers have all been here.
”One cannot adequately convey our debt of gratitude to the Nigerian people, my principal will issue a formal statement but we felt compelled to talk to you having spent nearly 14 to 15 hours in this chambers. There is dignity of every person that we need to honour and cherish. We want to thank you; the journey is just beginning and we want to call on Nigerians, let us unite,” he said.
“What binds us together supersedes whatever divides us, let us unite as a people and face our common challenges. As I have always said, the trajectory of global growth is facing Africa and Nigeria the greatest black nation on earth will make or mar that trajectory.’
A five-member panel of the presidential election petition tribunal had dismissed the suits filed by Atiku and Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election.
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