Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has assured Nigerians that there would be equitable treatment of all citizens on his watch if elected president next year.
Tinubu’s assurance came as Presidential Campaign Council of APC accused the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, of trying to swindle Nigerians with sugarcoated promises and flagrant lies, saying he does not mean well for the country.
But Atiku, on Sunday, asked Tinubu to explain the source of his wealth to Nigerians and stop beating around the bush.
Nonetheless, a group of prominent northerners declared that returning the ruling APC to power in 2023 would be destructive to the country. The group is led by former Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, Mahdi Shehu, and former Director General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ladan Salihu.
Speaking at a town hall meeting with Muslim leaders from the South-west in Ibadan, Tinubu commended religious leaders in the country for their continued prayers and sermons, which he said had contributed to national unity and peaceful coexistence.
In a statement by his Media Office, signed by Mr. Tunde Rahman, Tinubu promised to apply his wealth of experience to lead Nigeria in the spirit of innovation and pragmatic vision, uplift the nation, and renew the hope of Nigerians.
The APC candidate, who spoke partly in the Yoruba language, said, “This election season has been a hybrid of facts and falsehood, truth and lies. I would like the election to be one based on facts and truth.
“What is a candidate’s record of performance and what are his policies? I ask you to urge your followers to come out and vote and to do so wisely. Vote for a candidate that has a vision for a peaceful, prosperous Nigeria where tolerance and compassion undergird our constitutional and legal rights.”
Describing the 2023 general election as Nigeria’s momentous encounter with destiny, Tinubu urged the Islamic clerics to educate their followers on the importance of exercising their franchise and voting only tested candidates with a track record of excellent public service. He warned against falling for the lies and gimmicks of those with nothing to offer.
The former governor of Lagos State assured Nigerians that he would be “a fair and just leader,” stressing, “My pledge for fairness and justice is consistent with the tenets of Islamic faith. A leader in a plural society like ours is enjoined to be a leader of all. If elected, I shall govern in an honest and democratic manner in harmony with our nation’s constitution.”
On security, Tinubu vowed to end the reign of terror, kidnappings and other violent crimes by recruiting more personnel that would be trained and retrained, in addition to providing more security tools and gadgets for effective fight against criminal elements.
The APC standard bearer promised to diversify and restructure the economy towards achieving at least six per cent growth rate annually. He said the goals would be achieved through the reform of the country’s industrial policy, infrastructure enhancement, power sector innovation, and significant budgetary reforms.
Tinubu told the Muslim leaders, “Regarding the economy, we seek to repair the very structure of the economy. We can no longer flourish as an economy based on natural resource extraction.
“We must become a dynamic, diversified economy, where those who want to work can find a good job. But let us also be a society sufficiently compassionate to help those, who cannot help themselves.
“We must revive manufacturing and industrial growth so as to create jobs as well as produce the goods and services that improve the daily lives of the average person.
“We seek a minimum of six per cent growth annually through reform of our industrial policy, infrastructural enhancement, power sector innovation, and significant budgetary reform.”
Earlier, President of South-west Muslims, Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, said the event provided an opportunity for the APC candidate to interface with Muslim leaders in the geopolitical zone on his plans for the country if elected, “particularly on how he could make the country a land of great opportunities, where no man will be oppressed”.
National Chief Missioner of Anwar-ur-Deen Movement, Sheikh Ahmad Abdulrahman, said the gathering was not to campaign or endorse Tinubu or any candidate, but to seek to know if Tinubu could still deliver for the country as he did as governor of Lagos State.
Meanwhile, Director of Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, said, in a statement, that Nigerians should not be fooled by boldfaced lies being enunciated by Atiku and PDP.
Onanuga said PDP should be eternally shameful of its appalling record in governance between 1999 and 2015. He alleged that PDP was busy rewriting history and embellishing the locust years as if it was a golden era in the country’s history.
The APC campaign spokesman stated, “We need to warn Nigerians to be wary of the sugar-coated promises of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his Peoples Democratic Party as they embark on their inordinate and desperate campaign to gain power at all cost.
“Of course, this is fake history at its worst. We are not fooled. Nigerians should also not be fooled about the boldfaced lies, being articulated by the candidate and his party.”
Onanuga.pointed out that what was more shocking was Atiku’s audacity in standing up to ask for votes despite what his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote about him in his book, My Watch.
He said Obasanjo wrote that it would have been an unpardonable mistake “and sin against God to foist him on Nigeria”, saying Obasanjo still believes so till tomorrow.
Atiku to Tinubu: Come Clean on Source of Your Wealth
Presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, asked his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, to explain the source of his wealth to Nigerians.
In a statement released by his Special Assistant, Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, the former vice president accused Tinubu of telling a “fable” about how he made his money, and wasting an opportunity to put the matter to rest once and for all.
A BBC reporter had asked Tinubu to disclose the source of his wealth, to which he responded by asking, “Are you an enemy of wealth?”
Tinubu, however, added that he inherited property.
“He subsequently told a fable of how he inherited properties and also traded stocks like Warren Buffet. This is complete hogwash,” Atiku said in the statement.
Atiku alleged that Tinubu had told a Lagos State House of Assembly committee set up to investigate his “dubious” academic records in 1999 that he could not complete secondary school because his family was too poor to sponsor him.
The statement said, “The governor spoke about his difficult and traumatic youth and how he scaled the hurdles of life as a self-made man. After his primary education, the governor said he was admitted into secondary school but he could not further his education because of his poverty. The governor, thus, had to engage in menial jobs before he proceeded to the United States of America in search of the Golden Fleece.
“So, how did Tinubu, whose family was too poor to send him to school, despite a free education policy at the time, inherit properties from the same family? This is obviously balderdash. Tinubu would do well to stop comparing himself with Warren Buffet, whose source of wealth has never been linked to narcotics by US authorities.”
The statement added that the controversies surrounding Tinubu’s source of wealth did not start today. It quoted the US authorities as having said Tinubu revealed in bank documents that he worked with Mobil Nigeria Limited in 1989 and his salary was just $2,400 and he had no other sources of income.
Don’t Return APC to Power, Northern Group Warns
A group of prominent northerners, led by Professor Usman Yusuf, Mahdi Shehu, and Ladan Salihu, warned against returning the ruling APC to power in 2023, saying that would be destructive for Nigeria.
The group also called on northerners, in particular, and Nigerians, in general, not to support Tinubu in order to save Nigeria from economic crisis, insecurity and disunity, and give Nigeria leadership with credibility and integrity.
Addressing reporters on Sunday in Kano, the northern leaders explained that they had embarked on massive awareness across the region to educate people at the grassroots on the need to vote out the ruling APC.
They described Tinubu as incompetent and battling with health issues.
The group further called on Nigerians, particularly, northerners, to vote for Atiku Abubakar of PDP due to his pedigree and ability to head the Nigerian economic team that paid off the country’s debts in the past.
They also condemned the APC-led federal government for leading over 130 million Nigerians into poverty in the last eight years, citing the records by Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and neglecting the plight of 20 million out of school children.
The group stated, “The present administration told us eight years ago that they want to fight corruption, they want to secure this nation and they want to improve the economy, all they have done so far is the opposite.
“I am from Katsina, one third of my state is under siege by bandits. We have never seen IDPs in Katsina until this government came in. My state capital is filled up with IDPs.
“We gave President Buhari 1.2 million votes in the last elections, what have we to show for it? Death and destruction.
“Kano gave him 1.8 million votes, what do you have to show for it? The whole of the north has nothing to show for the eight years of the APC rule.
“In recent years, we have not seen as much poverty as we have seen today. The National Bureau of Statistics said 133 million Nigerians are now in multidimensional poverty. We have never seen that, we have come to a time, when the president himself is blaming the governors for poverty.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we did not give him this presidency to blame anybody else, now that the game is over, you are blaming somebody else?
“They have failed, the APC government has failed. Fighting corruption, we have seen a lot more corruption cases under this government. He has not fought corruption, he has not improved the economy, the economy is worse and where we are today, insecurity is the worst ever in our lifetime.
“We are, therefore, educating our people that it is going to be suicidal for people to vote APC to power again.”
Emmanuel Addeh, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano