Governors, aspirants and delegates of the South-East extraction were conspicuously missing at the presentation of the All Progressives Congress’ Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday.
Shettima’s unveiling took place at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, amid the presence of heavy security operatives.
In attendance were party chieftains, members of the National Working Committee and leadership of the APC led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore.
Others were former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; former Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Governors Kayode Fayemi, Babagana Zulum, Atiku Bagudu and Abdullahi Ganduje.
However, the absence of South East political leaders and governors got many wondering whether it was a coincidence.
They include former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ikeobasi Mokelu; former Minister of State for Education, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; former Minister of Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and Senator Rochas Okorocha.
In his address, Presidential flag bearer of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, told Nigerians that he was delighted to showcase Shettima who shared the same ideology as him and will guarantee the party electoral victory in the 2023 election.
He said, “I stand ready to make this journey and, today, I am delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with my good friend, brother and running mate; His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima.
“Much has been said and written about my decision to select Senator Shettima to partner me on this journey. As a committed democrat and progressive, I have read and listened to all that has been written and said. It has been an emotional and moving period. I understand the strength of feeling that has been displayed by some within our party and I cherish and respect the views of all.”
The colourful unveiling ceremony was almost marred by a protest at the party secretariat, which took place almost at the same time the event was held on Wednesday.
Hundreds of demonstrators on Wednesday morning stormed the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress to register their grievance over the position of the party on the contentious Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The protest, which was led by a few party members under the aegis of APC Hausa-Fulani Youth Forum, saw the delegation arrive at the Secretariat in six luxury buses and few cars, raising different banners and chanting solidarity songs.
Some of the banners read ‘A cry for justice’, ‘Drop Shettima and give slot to our Christian brothers’, ‘Discrimination and mutual suspicion in our country’ among others.
Speaking to Media, Convener of the Forum, Abdullahi Bilal Mohamadu declared that they will not stop protesting until the party did the right thing.
On why the demonstrators took to protest on a day the party is presenting its vice presidential candidate, Mohammadu stated that it was a deliberate act to tender their grievances and ensure it reached the appropriate authorities.
In a letter addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Mohammadu stated that they saw the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as an aberration that should be corrected immediately by the leadership of the party.