By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, on Thursday, said the APC National Leader and presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the most qualified with the capacity to lead Nigeria among all the presidential candidates contesting to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023.
Speaking during the 95+1 anniversary lecture of the Yoruba Tennis Club held at the club’s Greeting Hall in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu and Shettima urged Nigerians to vote for capacity during the 2023 presidential elections and shun religious sentiments.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who urged Nigerians not to allow religious division, especially with respect to the APC Muslim-Muslim joint ticket for the presidential poll, said electing the next President of Nigeria should be about leadership, character, audacity to think and ability to think deeply and solve problems.
He said: “There is nothing in the issue of a Muslim-Muslim Ticket. I am a Christian and my wife is a Christian but we know too well that it is not about religion. We have forgotten that in 2011 the Action Congress of Nigeria fielded Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and his vice presidential candidate, Mr. Fola Adeola in a Muslim-Muslim ticket. We did not see any problem at that time.
“But suddenly because there is a likelihood of this ticket (Tinubu-Shettima) emerging as a winner, people now want to divide us. We will say no because that is not who we are. It is about leadership. It is about character. It is about the audacity to think. It is about the ability to be able to think deeply and solve problems.
“We do not want to despise other candidates. We all know too well what their antecedents are. We all know too what their credentials are. But we know that as a nation, we need a strong launch pad. We need to think out of the box and be able to put our best foot forward.
“I want to thank the leadership of the Yoruba Tennis Club again for making the right choice by inviting Senator Kashim Shettima to deliver the anniversary lecture. We are celebrating 96 years now and let it be on record that by 2026 during our centenary celebration, by the grace of God, we will have Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu coming here to celebrate with us as President on our centenary and of course by your grace and your support, I will still remain as your 15th Governor, coming here and celebrate in four years time and all of you will be here.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also charged Yoruba people and residents of Lagos State to work toward the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as the next President of Nigeria.
“We deserve to produce the next president. In Lagos we deserve it. Lagos requires it and it would be by the grace of God a bigger, better and stronger nation and state that all of you would be truly proud of to have been part of,” he said.
In his address, Senator Kashim titled, “Social Club and the search for a national cohesion in Nigeria,” described Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as an excellent example of national cohesion.
Shettima, a former Governor of Borno State, said the Tinubu-Shettima ticket was dedicated to the building of a progressive and united country, that would allow for harnessing the very best that the country had to offer, adding that candidacy will rekindle the spirit of patriotism and draw on all the positive lessons from the commendable history of the Yoruba Tennis Club.
He said: “We have seen the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC. We are convinced that the general political situation in Nigeria needs the competencies of a detribalized and committed Nigerian, like, ABAT (Tinubu), to re-ignite the requisite values that can help us rededicate ourselves and all Nigerians to collectively tackle the challenges of national cohesion.
“The 2023 general elections are just a few months away and Nigerians have a choice to make, in the determination of our destiny.
“In 2023, we need a Nigerian leader that has the humility and generosity of spirit of General Yakubu Gowon. We need a leader that has the commitment of Muhammadu Buhari.
”We need a leader that has the work ethic and broad-mindedness of an Olusegun Obasanjo. We need a leader that has the situational pragmatism and understanding of Nigeria’s security, the maradonic skill of an Ibrahim Babangida.
”We need a leader with a vision and sense of responsibility and commitment and somebody who understands the nation like an Abdulsalami Abubakar and in our systemic circumstances, we need a leader with a dose of the hospitality of a Sani Abacha.
”We need a leader with the intellectual acumen, with the action to catapult this nation to a higher pedestrian. We need a leader who is not bound by regional or religious sentiment.
”We need a leader that has established such records of excellence and commitment to good governance. There is no one, with all due respect, that fits this than Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Shettima also commended Yoruba Tennis Club’s leadership and members for sustaining one of the foremost social clubs in Nigeria in the last 96 years.
“We must get our politics right, in the same patriotic manner that the Founding Fathers of the Yoruba Tennis Club, and their successors, got it right, and have kept it going for 96 years. Social clubs play a vital role in the process of national cohesion.
“Inadvertently, you (Yoruba Tennis Club) have taught the lesson of brotherhood and enduring legacy having survived all the challenges of the past 96 years. This statement of success and continuity is a lesson we must take on board if we are to build a great country,” he said.
In his address, the Chairman of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Chief Babajide Damazio, said the club since its existence in 1926 has witnessed many seasons of bloom and gloom, and therefore enjoined members to continuously celebrate the essence of their togetherness.