By Abdulwahab Abdulah
LAGOS— Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Monday announced Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos as his running mate for the 2011 presidential election.
Speaking through his spokesman, Mr Yinka Odumakin, Buhari explained that his choice of Bakare was borne out of the fact that there was need to put the best feet forward in what promises to be a decisive political challenge for the soul of Nigeria.
He made public the name of his running mate to beat the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, deadline for nomination of candidates that expired yesterday.
Expressing his enthusiasm that Nigerians will pick the best out of those contesting for political offices during this year’s general elections, Buhari said: “We have seen the uncommon enthusiasm of our people to register to vote in spite of the many challenges of the exercise. That speaks to their desire to do what Tunisians and Egyptians are doing on the streets through the ballot box in April.”
He said he believed that Nigerians deserve the best, hence one of the reasons he picked Pastor Bakare as his running mate.
Buhari also expressed his regret over the resignation of Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN from the party over his (Ahamba’s) inability to realise his ambition as the party’s national chairman.
In a letter personally written to Chief Ahamba by Buhari, over the issue, the CPC presidential candidate regretted the lawyer’s action, while maintaining that the decision to zone the office of the party’s chairman to the South_South was purely on patriotism and “to ensure all parts of the country have a sense of participation and belonging to our party and our politics.”
Ahamba, was a lawyer to Gen Buhari and the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP in their struggle to claim their mandate in court after the 2007 presidential poll, claimed to have been won by the ANPP. He also joined Buhari in his new party, CPC after decamping from ANPP.
The letter personally signed by the General Buhari, stated in part, “I was very sorry to have read accounts of your press conference in which you indicated your decision to resign from Congress Progressive Change, CPC.
“Over the years since I joined partisan politics in 2002 and our paths crossed, I have come to value your commitment, knowledge of the law and politics and your immense personal charm and comradeship. You are quite aware of the reasons leading to the decision to earmark our party chairmanship to the South_South. This was to ensure all parts of the country have a sense of participation and belonging to our party and our politics.
“Like you, many are aggrieved but these painful decisions have been taken purely on national and party interests.”
Buhari therefore expressed his believe that Chief Ahamba will still reconsider his position and “find a way of resuming our close association and working relationship in the interest of the party and the country. Whatever happens, I hope I can count on your personal friendship in coming days.”
Meanwhile, General Buhari has condemned the serial killings going on in some parts of the country, especially in Borno and Plateau states, a situation he said has rendered the Federal Government helpless in bringing the situation under control.
“It is sad that these dastardly acts are taking place without any coordinated response from the government to guarantee the safety of lives and property. A responsible leadership must not agonize over the virtual breakdown of security in parts of the country, it must organize the security system to deal with the situation first and create the atmosphere for social justice to flourish to end the conditions that make citizens to let loose against each other”. He said.
Condoling with the affected states and those who have lost their relationship in the crises, Buhari sued for peace among all Nigerians and called on the government to sit up and bring an end to the killings and the state of insecurity in Nigeria.
Using the opportunity to dispel allegation that his supporters are responsible for a hate text message circulating after the PDP primaries in Jigawa state, General Buhari said it is regrettable that some people can’t appreciate that certain offices require a high degree of responsibility in utterances.
“What evidence has the governor got to say that the text came from any of my supporters? Has he gone to the service providers and they told him the text originated from a phone traceable to anyone who is my supporter? I condemn any attempt to spread hate among Nigerians but I suspect this may be a mischief from our opponents who cannot face issues but dwell only on weeping up emotions.”
He added that he has never been involved in the zoning debate because the Federal Republic of Nigeria with all the people within no matter how they talk to God is his constituency.
“Those who don’t want the progress of our people have spent fortunes over the years to raise silly propaganda about me. I have been around for some years and vie challenged them to bring out one person I ever discriminated against based on faith but they are yet to take up the challenge. They should continue to tell lies about me just as I will continue to tell the truths about them.”
He called on those contesting for political offices to discuss issues that will benefit Nigerians rather than score cheap political campaign.