The former governor of Borno State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, has apologised to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, over the scornful remarks he made on their presidential ambitions.
In a Channels Television interview, the Director-General of Tinubu Campaign Organisation had described the Vice President as gentle man who would be better selling ice cream than be president of Nigeria.
He also made a passing comment on the Senate President who are both presidential aspirants on the platform of the APC
However, in a statement on Sunday, he personally signed, Shettima said the comments were well-intentioned and that he “never set out to subject them to ridicule but, rather, to stir up interest in the contrasting virtues of the cast of aspirants putting up a fight against my preferred aspirant, one most favoured and advantaged to guarantee APC’s victory in the forthcoming presidential election.”
He noted that his comments were blown out of context as he didn’t mean to portray them as unworthy aspirants, but merely to qualify them as non-threatening contenders.
He, therefore, tendered an unreserved apology to them.
The statement said in part: “When I appeared on Channels TV last Thursday amidst the tension rippling through our political arena, it was to underline the promise Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential bid held for those yet to establish the certainty of the hurdle ahead of the APC. I never set out to denigrate the personality of any aspirant, and definitely not that of my dear friends and allies. None of them is an opponent, so their aspiration isn’t a threat to us. They appear so in the sprint to become the party’s presidential flag-bearer in the 2023 elections, but they are our allies in the marathon.
“My assessments of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, were well-intentioned. I never set out to subject them to ridicule but, rather, to stir up interest in the contrasting virtues of the cast of aspirants putting up a fight against my preferred aspirant, one most favoured and advantaged to guarantee APC’s victory in the forthcoming presidential election.
“The interpretations of my remarks on Professor Osinbajo and Senator Lawan are, thus, being done literally and overblown. My words weren’t woven to portray them as unworthy aspirants, but merely to qualify them as non-threatening contenders. I, however, take full responsibility for my utterances and wish to appeal to our teeming supporters to neither take my words out of their metaphoric contexts nor interpret them as a measure and declaration of hostility towards my dear friends and allies.
“I hereby tender my unreserved apologies to the Vice President and the President of the Senate for the unintended pains my jibes might have caused them and their families and supporters.
“As we approach the finishing line of this tense political race, I’m not unaware of who the actual opponents are. A divided house, even if in the assumptions and imaginations of supporters with a distant grasp of our relationships with other aspirants, is the last impression we wish to create among Nigerians.
“I want this to be taken as an appeal to our supporters across all political camps to build bridges and mend fences as the actual journey is just about to begin. Victory, for the discerning, has always been the first lap of the race. Thank you for your understanding.”