Thursday, September 29, 2022

I said Tinubu will be ruthless like Sani Abacha, not friendly: Kashim Shettima

State-run News Agency of Nigeria was the first to report that Mr Shettima said Mr Tinubu would show “hospitality,” towards Nigerians like Sani Abacha.

• September 16, 2022
Bola Tinubu and Sani Abacha
Bola Tinubu and Sani Abacha

Ruling party presidential running mate Kashim Shettima has clarified that he only said his principal Bola Tinubu will be ruthless like Sani Abacha if elected president next February and not hospitable as previously reported. 

“I never attributed hospitality to Abacha in my speech. I did a rundown of our past Presidents and played up “the taciturnity and a dose of ruthlessness of a Sani Abacha” to show we need strongmen to deal with the nonstate actors who’ve turned Nigeria into a vast killing-field,” Mr Shettima said in a tweet Friday night. 

Federal Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, also said that Mr Shettima never implied that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, would be hospitable to Nigerians in the similitude of late military dictator Sanni Abacha. On the contrary, Mr Keyamo says Mr Tinubu will be ruthless as president. 

As shown in the video below, @KashimSM never attributed hospitality to Abacha. He only played up “the taciturnity and a dose of the ruthlessness of a Sani Abacha” to show we need strongmen to deal with the non-state actors who want to disrupt our peace,” Mr Keyamo said on Friday. 

Mr Keyamo was addressing a Peoples Gazette article that had previously covered Mr Shettima’s remarks at the 96th anniversary of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday. 

In his remarks, Mr Shettima compared his principal to former Nigerian leaders, both of democratic rule and military regimes. He said that Mr Tinubu embodied their qualities altogether, which according to him, makes the former Lagos governor the best fit for the 2023 presidential elections. 

Mr Keyamo has now modified Mr Shettima’s comments to reflect that Mr Tinubu’s “will-be ruthlessness” is directed at non-state actors who threaten the peace of the country. 

State-run News Agency of Nigeria was the first to report that Mr Shettima said Mr Tinubu would show “hospitality,” towards Nigerians like Mr Abacha, but Mr Keyamo now says the word Mr Shettima used was “taciturnity.”

Mr Abacha was the ruthless kleptocrat who led Nigeria between 1993 and 1998 and was blamed for the assassination and jailing of many political dissidents.

He looted billions of dollars and vaulted it all in banks in Switzerland, Jersey and other jurisdictions. Nigeria has continued to receive billions in repatriations from those countries as part of the former head of state’s loot. 

Mr Tinubu was among scores of Nigerian politicians exiled by Mr Abacha and accepted on asylum in the United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere. 

Mr Tinubu has spent years criticising Mr Abacha as a murderous and corrupt dictator, blaming him for the assassination of Kudirat Abiola and other pro-democracy activists of the 1990s.  

A spokesman for Mr Tinubu did not return a request seeking comments about why the presidential candidate is now embracing Mr Abacha, a man he spent decades antagonising. But political analysts have speculated Mr Tinubu was toning down his rhetoric on Mr Abacha in order to endear himself to voters in Kano, Mr Abacha’s home state where he remained popular more than two decades after his death. 

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