Shettima stated these at the flag-off of Multi-Billion Naira food intervention for Northeast by the Acting President on Thursday, June 8, in Maiduguri, Borno State. Read his full speech below:
"Your Excellency, Mr. Acting President, I want to start by saluting your courage and unquestionable patriotism.
"Frankly speaking, after Boko Haram made another violent but failed attempt on a community in Maiduguri last night, I concluded in my mind that we were likely to receive a signal from the Villa putting this event on hold or sending a Minister to represent the Acting President.
This was the practice we were conditioned to accept judging from our first term in office.In May, 2014, we had a time our entire security architecture was put in place for a Presidential visit to Chibok. Everything was in place; even parents of the Chibok schoolgirls were on standby. But that historic andgolden opportunity to show leadership was cancelled at the last hour based on some imaginary considerations.
I reminded some persons at the Villa,that within days after the unfortunate abduction, my wife had driven to Chibok from Maiduguri without me and I had gone a day after her visit. I said it was defeatist for us as a country to mark any part of Nigeria were citizens live as a place a sitting President cannot go. Unless where war is in motion, Nigeria has always had the security arsenals, with air and ground troops that should be able to secure the President's visit to any part of this country. If we believe there is a no-go-area for a Commander In Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, then what message are we sending to citizens who live in that area or are compelled to pass through it. The very day that the Presidential visit was cancelled, we had sent Government officials from Maiduguri to Chibok by road not by presidential helicopter. They weresafely in Chibok and had mobilized the entire community.
Some people would accuse always making comparisons between the incumbent Federal administration and the past, but then, life itself is acombination of the past and the present. You can only appreciate the present or the past, when you compare them.
Mr. Acting President, Sir, we salute your good sense of judgment, your courage, patriotism and passion for the northeast which must have shaped your wisdom tin proceeding with today's event. As I believe the acting President must have thought, the fact that a community was traumatized and displaced last night is the more reason the event should hold.
Your Excellency, Sir, this visit is a major psychological warfare that sends amighty and raw signal to the remnants of atrocious murderers, that this time around, Nigeria has a Presidency that cannot be intimidated backwards. This is a progressive Presidency that is forward ever and backward never.
Your Excellency, we will forever remain grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for his enormous commitment to ending this insurgency. We are grateful to your dedicated self for the empathy and passion you have shown to us. Today marks your fourth visit to Borno State and like I always cite, each of your visits comes with cheering news for us.
We are particularly happy, that this time around, your visit is not just for Borno, but also for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States which makes up the troubled Northeast.
We are most appreciative of the far reaching food intervention you are here to launch.
Your Excellency, I will not preempt you by going into details of the food items you are about to launch. This is another moment of your good leadership and we cherish the protocol of allowing you lead the way.
Your Excellency, I will not be kind to those who have been of immense support to us if I fail to acknowledge their help before you. Only yesterday, the Dangote Foundation launched this year's intervention in Ramadan food aide. They did same last year in addition to donating building materials worth two billion naira to support our ongoing reconstruction works.
Sometimes, I forget to mention the support of international humanitarian partners from agencies of the UN to organs like the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the MSF and establishments of countries like Norway and the United States. The reason I sometimes forget to mention them is because they have become part of Borno. Food intervention from especially the ICRC, WFP... have been so regular that they have become us.
It is my singular honour and privilege to welcome you and the entire members of the Presidential and Federal Government's team for the purpose of today's major intervention. This intervention is coming at a good time and God in His infinite Mercy will bless you and all those who contributed in whatever way, to conveying this intervention.
It is on this note that I most respectfully invite Your Excellency, the actingPresident, Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deliver your address and launch this major intervention for the northeast and for humanity.