Facts have emerged on why Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, the chairman of Igbos Elders Consultative Forum and former governor of Anambra state, visited Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Ezeife claimed that he had visited the former Borno governor as part of efforts to secure justice and compensation for a young businessman who was contemplating suicide after the authorities in the state allegedly demolished his business premises and other properties.
Beyond asking Shettima to intervene and prevail on his successor, Governor Babagana Zulum, to look upon the condition of the suicidal youth with an eye of clemency, the octogenarian said there was nothing more to his visit.
There were reports penultimate week that the meeting between the Ezeife and Shettima which held behind closed doors in the latter’s place in Abuja was related to the 2023 presidential election.
It was learnt that the meeting had caused a crack within the ranks of the Igbos Elders’ Consultative Forum, and therefore made it necessary for the leadership of the socio-cultural body to address the essence of the visit to Shettima.
Therefore, Ezeife in a statement late Tuesday night, said he decided to open-up, having previously heard rumours that he betrayed the position of the Forum on the 2023 elections.
While describing the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as too old to run for the office of president, Ezeife said ruling party’s Muslim-Muslim ticket further knocks him out in the search for a new Nigerian leader in 2023.
Ezeife’s statement titled, ‘Why I visited Shettima’ reads in full: “Yes, I went, uninvited, to Shetima, I was accompanied by a Maiduguri-born and brought up businessman of south-east extraction. Why?
“More than a year ago a well built young man came to my office in Abuja crying desperately. He talked like someone considering suicide! He told me that he was finished, that the clothes on him were the only property left for him.
“He inherited a hotel from his father and built two more hotels by himself. All three hotels and a warehouse were bulldozed by the Borno State government. His other properties were also seized. He had helped the campaign efforts of the current Borno State Governor. He also bought a bus for the campaign. He was directed to come and see me.
“I made efforts to see the Borno State governor but did not succeed. Recently, the young man rushed to my office and told me that Shettima who handed over to the current governor can influence him to listen to his (the business man’s) case and do some justice.
“He told me that if I met Shettima and pleaded with him, the problem would be solved. He added that Shettima was in town (Abuja) that day. That if we went, we would meet him at his Abuja residence.
“As he saw it, my meeting with Shetima would end his frustration, suffering and threat to his life. I did not give it a second thought because the young man spoke from the depth of his heart. I jumped into the car with him and we headed to where he knew Shetima was.
“Shettima received me with great respect and did not keep me waiting too long before calling me in for discussion. I pleaded with Shettima to appeal to his successor for some justice to be done to the business man.
“He listened carefully and I was amazed by his positive responses which included a commitment to help the business man directly by himself, if the Governor does not do enough. I was elated and I thanked him profusely.
“As we were leaving the office, Shettima bade me goodbye with a handshake. I did see camera men taking pictures of us. But I knew what I went for. I shall go to anybody who can genuinely help a person in life-threatening distress. There was nothing political in the visit. Truly, I do not consider Shettima an opponent in the 2023 presidential election. Why?
“His principal, Jagaban Tinubu, is really not well. Only people who are not well informed, or have lost sanity, will vote for him to go and die in AsoRock.
“Also, Tinubu is too old for the office of President of Nigeria. A very representative group of Northern youths came to my house and declared that nobody above 65 years old should contest for the office of the President of Nigeria.
“The greatest problem of the old is brain power deficiency, especially loses of memory. I explained this to Yoruba youths who proposed my joining the race for President of Nigeria. Should everything had been alright for the Tinubu ticket, it’s Muslim-Muslim nature knocks it out – removes it from consideration.
“I appeal to Nigerians of every ethnic group and religious faith to bow to the will of the Almighty God, who seems to have taken over from our conscienceless politicians, to bring about a new Nigeria, to rescue Nigeria and revive her destiny – the country to which He poured an abundance of His blessings, making her the very most gifted Country on earth.
“Yes, Ecclesiastes says there is a time and a season for everything under the sun. This appears to be the time and the season for the manifestation of the new Nigeria which must develop to a world super power, raising the respect and dignity of all blacks on earth and participating in, and improving the leadership of the world. God’s design and will must dominate man’s will in, and mess up, of Nigeria.”