I Was Quoted Out Of Context On Abacha’s ‘Hospitality’, Nigeria Needs His Ruthlessness — Shettima


Kashim Shettima, the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says he was misquoted on a recent comment he made that cited a reference to the late Sani Abacha.

Speaking on Thursday at the 96th-anniversary celebration of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Ikoyi, Lagos state, NAN quoted him as saying Nigeria needs the “hospitality” of Abacha, former military ruler.

However, Shettima had said the country needs a president with “a dose of ruthlessness and taciturnity” of Abacha.

The APC vice-presidential candidate had also listed some qualities of leaders such as Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdusalami Abubakar, Ibrahim Babangida, and President Muhammadu Buhari, and said Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate, has such qualities.

“We need a leader with the patience and sense of responsibility and commitment, and somebody who understands the national psyche and mood of the nation of an Abdulsalami Abubakar, and in applicable circumstances, we need a leader with a dose of ruthlessness and taciturnity of General Sani Abacha,” he had said.

“Nice men do not make leaders. We need a leader with intellectual acumen, with the passion to catapult this nation to a higher pedestal. 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 better than Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Clarifying the comparison of Abacha to Tinubu in a series of tweets on Friday, the former governor of Borno said he did not attribute hospitality to Abacha, adding that he meant Nigeria needs a president who is ruthless like the late military ruler, to address insecurity.

“The obsession with distorting one’s views to settle partisan scores brings to mind a certain WBC Commentary. ‘The trouble with deliberate bias,’ it says, ‘is that it cannot be erased by sound education. The video of my speech in Lagos is out there for those sincerely curious,” he tweeted.

“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 the ruthlessness of a Sani Abacha’ to show we need strongmen to deal with the non-state actors who’ve turned Nigeria into a vast killing field.

“I was quick to tease the audience, appreciating the humor hovering around the hall, with the familiar jibe that nice men don’t make good leaders.

“By nice men, I meant those who get easily manipulated and pressured to divert state resources to appeal to private expectations.”

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