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June 12 fall: Shettima berates those mocking Tinubu

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Friday took a swipe at Nigerians who took to the media to make a frenzy of President Bola Tinubu’s misstep during the democracy day celebration on June 12.

Recall that President Tinubu had a misstep as he climbed onto the back of a military parade vehicle at Eagles Square, during the commemoration.

Specifically, President Tinubu tripped clumsily and fell as he attempted to climb onto the military Landrover meant to convey him to inspect a guard of honour mounted by officers and soldiers of the Guards Brigade led by their commander.

It was part of his (Tinubu) role, as the Reviewing Officer and Commander-in-Chief, to inspect the parade already formed by the elite brigade to mark the 25th democracy day anniversary.

The incident sparked a media frenzy with many Nigerians making a caricature of Tinubu, just as others made humorous portrayals of the incident and ridiculed the President.

The incident became a hot topic, with the opposition repeatedly questioning his stamina for office.

But, during the anniversary dinner held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, President Tinubu clarified the circumstances relating to the incident at the Eagle Square.

Responding to the social media reaction after he missed his step and fell while climbing into the Land Rover, President Tinubu described the incident as an involuntary action in deference to democracy, saying it was a day worth falling for.

According to him, as a traditional Yoruba ‘boy’ he was doing dobale (Yoruba word for prostrating to greet elders) for democracy.

Expressing dismay over the negative portrayal of President Tinubu during his remarks at a PEBEC Town Hall Meeting held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Shettima veered off from his prepared speech and berated those who made a caricature of the President.

He said: “When the Presidents stumbled in the June 12 celebration. It is not only disheartening and disenchanting, but stultifying and heartbreaking that some of our countrymen were celebrating. But I dare to put it to you that the hallmark of true leadership is not the ability to lift a bag of cement, but the capacity to come up with robust ideas to solve a nation’s problems.

“We have never had it so good in terms of leadership. President Tinubu means well for the nation. And most importantly, he is inbuilt with the skills set to drive change and in this country.”

Vice President Shettima noted that “one of the greatest presidents of the United States was FDR (Franklin D. Roosevelt). FDR, with all his health challenges, was able to shepherd the American economy during the Great Depression and the Second World War, and because of the quality of his ideas, America became a superpower.

He also alluded to the accident that confined Mua Kibaki to a wheelchair, saying that the unfavourable incident did not confine his (Kibaki’s) abilities to come up with robust solutions that made Kenya to record double digit growth during his stewardship.

“I can tell you, with all sense of confidence that the president we have now is a man of ideas, who is robustly imbued with the capacity,” he said.

While stressing that leadership is about competence, Shettima lamented the sundry unfavourable remarks which dodged the June 12 incident at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

He said, “We’re not asking you not to question the eligibility of your president’s condition. But there is this mischievous fixation on the President’s health status.

“We are not preparing for the Olympics but an institution that builds on the superiority of ideas.

“You excellencies, this is a man when he became the governor in 1999 of Lagos State in 1999. Lagos was a monstrosity, a huge slum. When you’re coming into Lagos through Maryland, there is even a statue that says this is Lagos, no one welcomes you to Lagos.

“But because of the quality of his leadership, ably assisted by the likes of the Minister of Finance, the monthly IGR of Lagos is now N61 billion per month. Lagos, as of last year, was the fifth-largest economy in Africa and projected to be the third-largest economy by the end of the decade.

“So, this is a man that we need to all rally around. We need to support.

“Yes, our economy is going through turbulence, but is it confined to Nigeria alone? Let’s talk about the global picture. Is any economy immuned from the challenges of the times?

“So, I urge you to be fair to this poor man. There’s no doubt that every thriving economy draws life from the quality of reforms adopted to offer the people happiness, which will translate their business ideas into formidable enterprises.

“These reforms must become ingrained in the fabric of our public institutions. By doing so, we pave the way for sustained progress and lasting impact that will outlive us all, creating a better Nigeria for our children and their children afterwards.”


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