A former governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, has apologised for his remarks about Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In an interview on Channels TV, Shettima said about Osinbajo “nice men should be selling popcorn, ice cream” while adding that Bola Tinubu, former Lagos governor, will make a better president.
The utterance had stirred negative reactions from political figures within and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In response, Shettima, in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday, said his remarks were not meant as “ridicule but, rather, to stir up interest in the contrasting virtues of the cast of aspirants putting up a fight against my preferred aspirant”.
He added that his words were interpreted “literally and overblown”.
“When I appeared on Channels TV last Thursday amidst the tension rippling through our political arena, it was to underline the promise of Bola Tinubu’s presidential bid held for those yet to establish the certainty of the hurdle ahead of the APC presidential primary,” he wrote.
“I never set out to denigrate the personality of any aspirant, and definitely not that of my dear friends and allies. None of them is an opponent, so their aspiration isn’t a threat to us.
“They appear so in the sprint to become the party’s presidential flag-bearer in the 2023 elections, but they are our allies in the marathon.
“My assessments of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and Ahmad Lawan, were well-intentioned.
“I never set out to subject them to ridicule but, rather, to stir up interest in the contrasting virtues of the cast of aspirants putting up a fight against my preferred aspirant, one most favoured and advantaged to guarantee APC’s victory in the forthcoming presidential election.
The interpretations of my remarks on Osinbajo and Lawan are, thus, being done literally and overblown.
“My words weren’t woven to portray them as unworthy aspirants, but merely to qualify them as non-threatening contenders.
“I, however, take full responsibility for my utterances and wish to appeal to our teeming supporters to neither take my words out of their metaphoric contexts nor interpret them as a measure and declaration of hostility towards my dear friends and allies.
“I hereby tender my unreserved apologies to the Vice President and the President of the Senate for the unintended pains my jibes might have caused them and their families and supporters.
“As we approach the finishing line of this tense political race, I’m not unaware of who the actual opponents are.
“A divided house, even if in the assumptions and imaginations of supporters with a distant grasp of our relationships with other aspirants, is the last impression we wish to create among Nigerians.
“I want this to be taken as an appeal to our supporters across all political camps to build bridges and mend fences as the actual journey is just about to begin. Victory, for the discerning, has always been the first lap of the race.”