The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday told the people of Lagos State that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is undeserving of their votes in Saturday’s election for working against their wellbeing during his tenure as Vice President.
Tinubu, speaking at the presidential campaign rally of the APC at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, said the then President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Atiku, subjected Lagos State to unnecessary suffering, and it is now pay back time for the PDP candidate.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, said at the rally that his administration owed Nigerians a duty to continue to send corrupt people to jail, and vowed that it would not relent in doing that.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Buhari government would focus on jobs creation and provision of electricity and infrastructure if re-elected while the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole warned about the danger inherent in voting the PDP into power.
Tinubu, who described the rally as a celebration of democracy, said: “Lagos is sure, very sure about voting for APC under the broom revolution.
“The party chairman, (Tunde) Balogun, has catalogued Buhari’s achievements. Buhari did not make empty promises. You could see action.”
Tracing the history of Lagos from 1999, the former governor said the people had struck a deal with the progressives, adding that they cannot endorse the PDP that has not catered for their interest.
Continuing, he said: “We have had progressive governments in Lagos since 1999. We have provided education and quality health. We were the first to pay WAEC fees of students. We catered for poor women and widows. I handed over to Babatunde Fashola. I asked him a question: ‘what will happen, if you are elected governor?’ He said: ‘Lagos will not spoil.’
“Obasanjo then came. We thought there was no way for a revolutionary economy without the Independent Power Project (IPP). I introduced IPP. He and Atiku opposed it. I went to court. My lawyer was Osinbajo. I won and we started generating 300 megawatts. If they had allowed IPP, Dunlop, Michelin would not have moved out of Nigeria.
“Look at our roads and the traffic density. Obi (Peter) said he will create jobs. But, he has not been able to make brake pads and wheel spanners for vehicles. He said we should go and extend our ports in Benin Republic. I call that container economy; Obi China.”
Tinubu asked the crowd: ‘how many of you are with your PVCs?’ The people replied by raising up their hands. Then, he conducted what he described as voter education that will make them pass the ‘INEC exam’ on Saturday, urging Lagosians to gird their loins.
His words: “Get to the polling booth early in the morning. Take your food. Go there. Tell people you want to teach PDP and Atiku, the stubborn guy, a lesson. Give your PVC to them. If the card reader is not working, rub your finger. If they say no, don’t leave. It is your day.
“After clearing you, study the ballot paper. Some of the parties have collapsed, 73 parties on the ballot. The space will be small. Use your index fingers. Go to the ink. Look for the broom symbol. Don’t put your finger on the broom. That is void vote. Vote and wait until they count the votes. If you use too much ink, it will spread to another party. That is INEC WAEC.”
To the youths and students Tinubu said: “There are reasons you should vote for the APC. They accuse the vice president because we are helping the poor. The poor people need help. It is not a crime to help them. “When it was their turn, they shared the money. Their SURE-P was Chop-P. They chopped the money. That was why Buhari started the TSA. Today, the money is being shared between capital projects and salaries.
“Atiku said he will create jobs. They were shutting down industries. They dissolved the Airways. It was Buhari that paid their pensions. The money should be spent on education, infrastructural development and job creation. PDP sent Michelin, Dunlop and Siemens out of the country. They want to take the money and businesses to their friends in Europe and America.”
Tinubu welcomed foreign observers to the country, urging them to stick to their primary assignment.
He said: “Observe, write your report and go home. This is our democracy. We are watching Trump and China.”
The former governor described Obasanjo as a master rigger, whose legacies in office were electoral fraud.
“CNN asked the late President Umaru Yar’Adua about election. He said the election that brought him to power was severely flawed. Who conducted the election? Obasanjo is the greatest election rigger. He has expired. Confine him to the dustbin,” he said.
Also speaking, President Buhari yesterday reiterated his commitment to the anti-graft battle, vowing that corrupt politicians would continue to be sent to jail.
“This is our duty, this is our responsibility and I assure you we will continue to do it,” he said, adding: “I assure you, whoever is entrusted (with public property), his primary responsibility is to account for it.
“If the proper thing is not done, we will eventually get a hold of them, take away what they have stolen and get them in prison.
He also promised to fulfill his campaign promises, if re-elected in next Saturday’s election, urging Lagosians to vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates “from top to bottom.”
The president, who stormed the venue around 2.45 pm, was excited at the crowd that had waited for him from sunrise.
For him, the visit to the stadium was historic. He and other party leaders were seized by nostalgic feelings. Four years ago, President Buhari had defeated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the APC presidential primary held at the venue.
It was a carnival-like rally. Security was tight. Party supporters outside the stadium were more that those inside the main bowl. Thrilling the crowd were ace musicians-Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, Lady Queen and ‘Small Doctor.’ Party faithful, who came from the 57 councils, mixed with other party supporters and followers-representatives of the entertainment industry, Community Development Associations (CDAs), women groups, youth associations and students.
President Buhari and other party leaders, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Presidential Campaign Council Co-chairman Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Campaign Director Rotimi Amaechi, and Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, spoke on the achievements of the APC-led government in the last three and half years at the rally.
At the venue were Lagos State Deputy Governor Idiat Adebule; Nigeria’s Ambassador to United States Justice Oguntade; former APC Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Afenifere chieftains, led by Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) Gboyega Oyetola (Osun); and Godwin Obaseki (Edo), APC National Deputy Chairman (South) and former Ekiti State Governor Adeniyi Adebayo, National Auditor Chief George Moghalu, National Treasurer Adamu Fanda, National Welfare Secretary Ibrahim Masari, Legal Adviser babatunde Ogala, Vice Chairman (Southwest) Pastor Bankole Oluwajana, Vice Chairman (Northeast) Emma Enukwu, Vice Chairman (Southsouth) Ntifam Ita and National Youth Leader Sadiq Abubakar.
Other chieftains include former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, former Lagos State Deputy Governor Tawa Orelope-Adefulire, Lagos State APC Chairman Tunde Balogun, former Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda, Chief Olusola Oke, Bala Usman, Interior Minister Gen. Abdulsalam Dambazau, House of Representatives members Tony Nwoye, Rotimi Agunsoye, Babajide Benson, and James Faleke; Lagos State APC Governorship Advisory Council (GAC) members-Dr. Abayomi Finnih, Chief Olumuyiwa Sosanya, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, Chief Lanre Rasak, Chief Rabiu Oluwa, Chief Muftau Taiwo, Chif Mutiu Aare, former House of Assembly Speaker Yemi Ikuforiji, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat.
Others include Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Muniru Muse, Ayo Afolabi, Festus Keyamo, Lagos APC secretary, Dr Wale Ahmed, Publicity Secretary Comrade Joe Igbokwe, his deputy, Abiodun Salami, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Rotimi Abiru, Tayo Ayinde, Tunde Braimoh and Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who were masters of ceremony.
The highlights of the campaign was the handing of party flags by Oshiomhole to the Lagos State governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Lagos Central senatorial candidate Senator Oluremi Tinubu, her Lagos West and East counterparts-Senator Solomon Adeola and Sikiru Osinowo, and House of Representatives flag bearers who were represented by the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (Surulere Constituency).
Thanking Lagosians for their patience and commitment, the president said: “I thank you very much for defying the weather to be with us. I don’t think there is much to add to what the Minister of Works and Housing, the Minister of Transport and the vice-president has said. I thank you very much and I can assure you that the promise we have made in 2015 to those who elected us, we have fulfilled.
“We have made enormous progress in reviving the economy, on security and fighting corruption. I assure you that we will collect what they have stolen and send them to prison. This is our duty. This is our responsibility and I assure you that we are going to do it.”
Osinbajo, who spoke in Yoruba, said Buhari will provide three things, if re-elected. These, he said, are jobs, electricity and infrastructure, including roads and railway.
He thanked the president for making ‘June 12’ Democracy day and a holiday, in commemoration of the historic June 12, 1993 presidential polls and the injustice of annulment.
He added: “All these are easy, if we vote for Buhari. They don’t want Buhari to remain in office because he is opposed to corruption. Buhari made June 12 Democracy Day. When he was minister, three of the four refineries were built. The longest pipeline routes were constructed. He has built roads and he is doing railway. On February 16, use your index fingers to vote for Buhari.”
Oshiomhole said Nigeria had been beset with leadership failure in the past, advising Nigerians not to return PDP to power.
He said a huge gap exists between President Buhari, who is fighting corruption, and Atiku, who has promised to give amnesty to treasury looters.
The party chairman also chided the PDP candidate for promising to enrich his friends, instead of fighting poverty.
He challenged Atiku to tell the people what he has done for the Southwest, particularly Osun State where his wife hails from, adding that there is no single borehole there to his credit.
Oshiomhole also said Atiku’s running mate, Obi, cannot match Buhari’s running mate, Osinbajo, who is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Oshiomhole said he is very confident that the Nigerian people will vote for President Buhari, because they have no reason to bring PDP back to power. He said in three and half years that the APC has surpassed the achievements of the PDP in 16 years.
He said in 16 years the PDP brought poverty, corruption and mismanagement. He said for those who say there is no difference between the APC and the PDP, “we have a president that says Nigeria must work for Nigerians, unlike the PDP that believes Nigeria must work for the rich”.
Oshiomhole said it is interesting to note that the PDP that believes Tradermoni and Marketmoni is a waste of money has so many members that took loan from the bank and defaulted during their time and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) had to bail them out.
He said the Lagos example has demonstrated that a state and its people would succeed when it is united by sheer commitment to embark on sustainable growth and development.
He added: “Not many would remember that there was a time in Lagos when they had to deploy a colonel, Col. Paul Tarfa, to use horse whip to control traffic. That was the time when odd and even number vehicles plied the road on different days. This was because Lagos was not working then; today Lagos is the centre of infrastructure.