2023: I only said Nigeria needs a dose of Abacha’s ruthlessness, Shettima clarifies

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The vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kashim Shettima, has clarified that he never attributed hospitality to the late General San Abacha.

According to him, rather he only played up “the taciturnity and a dose of ruthlessness” of the late head of state.

Speaking Thursday at the 96th-anniversary of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Ikoyi, Lagos state, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had quoted him as saying that “Nigeria needs the hospitality of Abacha.”

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

“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,” he had reportedly said.

However, clarifying the comparison of Abacha to Tinubu in a series of tweets on Friday, he said he did not attribute hospitality to Abacha, adding that he meant that “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 a 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 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 humour 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.”