Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has disclosed that some of those criticising him over his choice of Kashim Shettima as his running mate in the 2023 polls had approached him for the position.
He said most of them were close to him, adding that they had indicated interest to become his running mate, an overture he claimed he bluntly turned down.
Tinubu spoke during an interactive session with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Abuja, led by Archbishop Daniel Ukoh.
The APC standard bearer’s choice of Shettima, a fellow Muslim and former Borno State governor had generated a groundswell of opposition and criticisms from many Nigerians, including the leadership of CAN.
Among the critics of the Muslim-Muslim ticket was Babachir Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and close ally of Tinubu, who described the decision as “a disastrous error.’’
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who was opposed to the idea, asked Christians in Nigeria not to waste their votes on the APC candidate in the 2023 election.
A prominent Christian leader and Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Fr. Mathew Kukah, said the ruling party was insensitive to settle for same faith ticket despite squandering power and misallocating opportunities given to them in 2015.
But addressing Christian leaders at the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja, the former Lagos State governor dismissed the claims that he planned to Islamise Nigeria with his choice of Shettima as the Vice-Presidential candidate.
He said, “People have reacted harshly to my selection. They are because they are my friends, they lobbied me and wanted to be my running mate but I bluntly rejected them. The rumour that this is some plot to suppress the Christian community is untrue and unfortunate. I don’t have that kind of agenda. The bucks stop on my table, not on the vice- president’s table unless so delegated. He cannot even forgive convicted inmates if I don’t delegate the power to him. What is the vice-president?
“I can no more suppress the Christians of this nation than I can suppress the Christians in my own household, my very family. I dare not contest the presidential position in my house because I will lose, they are all Christians. If I did not Islamise my family, I cannot Islamise Nigeria. It is awful to hear such allegations. We cannot make progress if we continue to follow that path in the country. Religions will not help us. It won’t do any good to us. “
Reason for Shettima
Tinubu pointed out that a Christian running mate would have been politically easier, saying that was not his way.
He said, “Why a Shettima? Why the same faith ticket? These are irrelevant to the well-being of our country. I did not choose him so that we could form the same faith ticket. I chose him because I want a progressive government and people- based ideology ticket.
“I chose him thinking of who will best help me govern than who will best help me worship. Picking a Christian running mate would have been politically easier but that is not my way. The easy way is rarely the right one. The selection of a running mate is at once a very momentous yet very intimate decision.’’
Appealing for the Christian leader’s support, the former Lagos State governor stated, ‘’We are all here and witnessed Obasanjo and Atiku publicly fighting. We are asking for your votes; think twice, look at our records, and the way we have behaved in one office before the other before you take a decision. How best has a Christian and a Muslim President worked for Nigeria? Maybe one of these days we will have a Christian/Christian ticket. The person that I know will help me in the election is the person I have chosen.”
He explained that he relied on the aspect of the constitution which preached oneness, adding that he sought to be the president not on the basis of religion
Tinubu stressed that anyone who did not believe in the equality of all should not run for President in Nigeria.
He added, “I seek to become President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria neither on religious grounds nor on faith. I depend on the prefix of the constitution of Nigeria : ‘’We the people of Nigeria, we agree to choose democracy.’’ Nigerians as equals and as brothers and sisters in our national family.
‘’This means no one is inherently inferior or superior to anyone else, regardless of faith, place of origin, social status and gender. Anyone who does not hold this fair and equitable view should not run for president in a country such as ours. My belief in the need for secular government and faith-based organisations to work in unison is not something adopted recently to benefit my campaign.”
Speaks on Obasanjo
Tinubu accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of frustrating his move to solve the power problem in Lagos when he was the governor of the state, adding that he could have ended the epileptic power supply in the country.
He said, “I was the first governor to bring in independent power generation to the country. Obasanjo, a fellow Yoruba man was the President then, rejected it. If not, we would have been out of this problem since then. I can tell it to his face, I will say it again and again. He stopped that project. “
Attacks Atiku, Obi
Tinubu also took a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, saying they have not laid any legacy to deserve to be elected as president.
He said, “I know you will be talking to others as you have the right to do but they will come here and tell you anything. Some are perpetual runners, they know their records, some disobeyed and later turn to obedient. What legacies have they left? How many people have they developed? I have built people, where are their records?”
He promised to engage with the CAN leadership on a regular basis if elected.
“If elected, my doors will be open to you and you will be consulted regularly on the affairs of this country,’’ he promised.
The APC candidate was accompanied by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Senate Leader Senator Boroffice Ajayi, Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, and Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume.
Governors Hope Uzodinnma of Imo State, David Umahi, Ebonyi; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano and Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara were also at the programme.
While welcoming the candidate, the CAN President, Archbishop Ukoh, presented him with a charter of demands.
CAN lists demands
Okoh in his statement titled, ‘CAN Proposal for Nigeria Post-2023,’ acknowledged that the restructuring of the country required constitutional amendment, but he noted that the next President could use Executive Order to effect some structural changes in the country.
Among other demands, the CAN leader called for a fully decentralised police authority, unambiguous religious neutrality of the Nigerian state, enforcement of fundamental rights of all Nigerians, including economic and social rights as well as equitable and enforceable sharing of executive positions.
He also demanded ethnic and religious representation in the military and other security agencies, self-determination for all Nigerian people, ranching, education and free healthcare for all Nigerians, ban on open grazing and local control of the economy, including waters, rivers, and forests.
The cleric said the constitution failed to provide an order for a society with multiple religious beliefs and practices, stressing that this failure had thrown Nigeria into perennial religious conflicts.
He said, ‘’The constitution in Section 10 states that Nigeria and any state in Nigeria will not have a state religion. This provision is reinforced by Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees to every Nigeria the freedom of religion which includes the right to hold, change and propagate his religion.
‘’The prohibition against having a state religion is not only that the country or part of it will not make an official declaration that no one else should belong to another religion. No. it is more than that.
‘’It includes the government of the federation or the state acting in any manner that confers one advantage or disability to one religion and not the other.
‘’This means that when governors of states in northern Nigeria implement a policy of not granting the statutory right of occupancy to churches over landed property they are violating Sections 10 and 38 of the Constitution.
“It means that when a government spends public money to hire teachers for Islamic schools and not for Christian schools, it violates Section 10 and 38 of the Constitution and vice versa. This position was brought out clearly by the Court of Appeal in the case of Adamu v. Bauchi State Government.
‘’Anyone who soberly considers the actions of the previous and current Nigerian government over religion will realise that those actions proclaim a state religion.
‘’It is this flagrant violation of our common citizenship through the co-mingling of religion and politics that is the main cause of religious conflict in Nigeria, terrorism, and insecurity. We cannot make progress as a nation if we do not behave like other multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation-states that remove religion from politics.’’
Stressing the need to separate religion from the state, the Christian body contended that the next President must ensure a balance between Christians and Muslims so that the past practice of reckless violation of the rights of one religion or the other will not reoccur.
He argued further, “We have to be a religiously neutral state, not a religious state. We must have a constitution that is focused on democratic citizenship where the government pays no attention to any private identity apart from citizenship.
‘’This transition to a modern, democratic, secular state from a neo-feudal, theocratic state requires both constitutional and administrative reforms.
‘’It requires that the next Nigerian President carefully constitutes his policy and programme to ensure good balance between Christians and Muslims so that the past practice of reckless violation of the rights of one religion or the other will not reoccur. That is the minimum requirement of saving Nigeria.’’
Okoh asserted that the founding vision of a prosperous and united country founded on justice and equity has not been realised, adding regretfully that Nigeria is a poor and conflict-ridden country with neither justice nor equity.
‘’Why did our vision fail? Nigeria failed because of incoherence between the vision of justice, prosperity and unity in diversity, and its institutions and practices of politics and economy.
“In place of inclusion, Nigeria instituted and entrenched the politics of exclusion; in place of protection of fundamental rights, Nigeria embraced violations of the rights of its peoples; in place of justice for all, Nigeria practiced privilege for the few; and in place of secular, democratic governance, Nigeria promoted theocratic, neo-Feudal governance,’’ he maintained.
He further recommended a constitutional order that is based on sharing rather than producing and rewarding those who consume rather than those who produce, thereby creating no incentive for productivity.
I will end your misery, Tinubu assures Bayelsa people
The standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2023 presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has promised to end the misery of Bayelsa people if he is elected into office in 2023 by ensuring that the state regains its lost glory and compete favourably with others across the country.
Tinubu said this while speaking at the party’s presidential rally on Thursday at Oxbow Lake Pavilion Swalli in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
He accused those who have governed the state in the times past of stealing away the future of her citizens while under-developing them.
The presidential candidate noted that Bayelsa holds an important position in Nigeria, being one of the major suppliers of the nation’s wealth in addition to its notable individuals.
Tinubu said: “This state is home to proud and vibrant people. Although this is a small land mass, Bayelsa has been blessed with abundant human and natural resources.
“With that blessing, your state has been asked to carry a great and long national duty. You all have given so much to the development of this nation. Nigeria would not be Nigeria without your human and material contribution.
“On behalf of the entire nation, may I say thank you Bayelsa for all that you have done for Nigeria.
“You have played a critical and leading role in the development of our national economy.
“Now, I am a man of fair play. I believe a person, a state and even a nation should be repaid for the good and positive things they have done.
“It is high time that Bayelsa is duly acknowledged for its role in national development and even more fairly paid back in kind for that positive role.
“The entire world knows that Bayelsa is rich in oil and is among Nigeria’s largest producing states. The revenue from these things have been the backbone of government income and foreign exchange earnings.
“But what the world often forgets is that Bayelsa is more than just pipelines and oil installations. It is a community of decent and good people, proud of the culture and traditions, yet hopeful of what the future holds.
“You are fishermen and boat operators of great skill and reputation. You are farmers, businessmen, market woman, teachers, students and professionals in all fields.
“To be frank, those who have governed the state have not done as they should. In fiscal rankings of all the States, Bayelsa ranked 36th in 2020 and 2021. You have been sold short by those not interested in your welfare,” Tinubu said.
The former Governor of Lagos State promised that the misery of Bayelsa people will end with his administration because he will focus to ensure that the state regains its lost glory and compete favourably with others across the country.
“If you vote for me and my team, that unfair day will surely end. Today, I am here to tell you that renewed hope is also here. I am not here to steal or eat your future but to help you realise it. Development and opportunity are here. Education is here. Good health is here. Security is here.
“We will reconstruct and maintain vital federal roadways such as the Mbiama-Yenegoa-Nembe-Brass highway. We will work with willing and capable private sector partners to build a comprehensive network of swamp bridges that connect swamp settlements with upland areas and the wider world.
“My government will make the safety and security of the people of this state its highest priority. We will take the necessary measures to address security challenges in the waterways by winning the fight against kidnapping, oil theft and piracy in the Niger Delta region.
“No innocent person should have to live in fear simply because they work hard and earn a little money. You should be able to enjoy our life and labour as you wish. No one has the right to steal that from you.
“We will deploy new technologies to protect the safety and security of law-abiding Bayelsans as well as the critical infrastructure in the state.
The effects of environmental degradation and oil spillage will not be ignored,” Tinubu said.
He again used the occasion to list his plans for the entire country from the beginning of his administration in May 2023.
“My vision is for Nigeria and Bayelsa are the same — to be a peaceful, prosperous and compassionate society.
“My government will focus on developing the young people of this country because they represent the future. And the future is today.
“We will establish new skills development and capacity building programs. Industrial hubs and dry ports will focus investment on labour intensive manufacturing.
“We will innovate and use modern technology to create jobs and provide first generation goods and services. Our goal is to expand our industrial base such that Nigeria becomes a global leader.”
The former Lagos State governor also praised former President Goodluck Jonathan, an indigine of Bayelsa for allowing for the smooth transition of power in 2015 after he lost the presidential election and his efforts to foster peace and democracy in West Africa.
Minister of State for Petroleum Sylva said Tinubu is a friend of the Niger Delta people and “the only serious candidate in the presidential race.”
On arrival in Yenagoa, Tinubu and his entourage first paid a courtesy call on the Ibenanaowei of Ikpetiama Kingdom and Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in the state, HRM King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada 1V.
The traditional ruler reeled out a lot of demands his people would love Tinubu to meet if elected including the construction of major roads linking the state capital, revamping of Peeremabiri Rice Farm, of Aggeii Deep Sea Port and Brass LNG.
The APC presidential candidate promised to work to uplift the state as a major oil producer.
But he told the royal fathers present at the palace to urge their people to try voting APC for a difference in the state, while alluding to a Yoruba proverb that literally translates: “a woman that has not experienced a second husband will not know the difference between the two.”
Tinubu was accompanied to the rally by House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Presidential Running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, Deputy National Chairman, South, Barrister Emma Enekwu representing the party’s National Chairman, Director-General of the Tinubu/Shettima campaigns and Plateau State Governor, Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, and former governor of the state and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timiprey Sylva.
Others at the rally were the former governor of Edo State and Deputy Director-General of the campaign, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former governor-elect of Bayelsa State, Mr. David Lyon, members of the party’s National Working Committee and National Assembly members.
2023: Tinubu to speak on manifesto at Chatham House December 5
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), will speak on his agenda for Nigeria at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, on December 5.
Tinubu, according to Chatham House, will, during the occasion, have the opportunity to “discuss his vision and recently unveiled a manifesto for ‘renewing hope’ in Nigeria, including his policy proposals for economic reform and revival, and how to deliver secure and inclusive job opportunities for Nigerian citizens.”
Though it’s not yet clear who among the remaining presidential candidates will, next, get an invitation to come and speak on their agenda for the country, Chatham House said in a statement that hosting Tinubu is “part of a series examining Nigeria’s 2023 elections and political developments, including with a cross-section of political figures, presidential candidates and policymakers.”
Tinubu, who has been the subject of various speculations about his health, just like President Muhammadu Buhari was in 2015 when he was the APC presidential candidate, will, probably, be hoping that history is on his side.
Buhari spoke on his manifesto at the same Chatham House, ahead of the election that brought him to power in his first tenure.
Use your voter’s cards to retire Atiku permanently, Tinubu tells Lagos crowd
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has urged voters to retire his Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) counterpart Atiku Abubakar permanently in 2023.
Tinubu made the call on Saturday in Lagos at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere venue of APC Presidential Campaign’s mega rally.
The former Lagos Governor, who spoke partly in Yoruba, took a swipe at Atiku, describing him as a veteran aspirant who should go home and rest.
“Atiku contested in SDP, he contested in PDP; he contested in ACN when we rescued him from Obasanjo. Now he is contesting again in PDP. He should go home and rest,” adding that Nigerians should never allow him and his party near the country’s commonwealth.
“Atiku has been running. Use your PVC to vote him and his party out. Use your votes to retire him permanently this time. We must never again allow the rapacious and visionless gang of Peoples Destroying People to come near our commonwealth again.
“They were in government for 16 years, they didn’t remember Badagry Expressway, they didn’t remember East-West Road, they didn’t remember 2nd Niger Bridge.”
To underscore his support across the country, Tinubu noted Governors of Kano, Kastina, Kaduna, Kwara, Kebbi and other APC Governors were with him unlike his opponent who could not hold his party together.
The APC Presidential candidate said his party’s campaign is a broom revolution and invoking the spirit of his late mother, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, the Iyaloja-General, he followed up with a folksong, singing in Yoruba, “Dagunro o se je, Tinubu o se pa,” meaning literally that he can not be killed.
Tinubu said he would continue with progressive government where Nigerians will not be forgotten in education, healthcare and employment generation.
Tinubu thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the development of Nigeria and Lagos State.
“I specially thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the unprecedented Federal support and commitment to Lagos State. We have come a long way from Presidents whose sole obsession was to capture or conquer Lagos in do-or-die fashion, to a President who loves the state greatly and is keen to see it do very well.
“Lagos has benefited tremendously in terms of infrastructure development, whether it is the Lagos-Ibadan Railway line, or the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki Expressway, the revamped National Theatre, the new International Airport Terminal or the support that has made the Lekki Deep Sea Port possible and the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, as well as the Red Line of the Lagos Metro, which is sharing part of the Federal corridor,” he said.
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