The Minister of Transportation and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Amaechi, says he has the experience to preside over Nigeria.
He spoke on Monday night in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during a meeting with Governor Dapo Abiodun and the All Progressives Congress (APC) delegates in the state.
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Amaechi, who has been in political office since 1999, told the top party leaders that he knows Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whom he branded a “man of honour”, hails from Ogun, but insisted that “my experience matters.”
He said more than 40 percent of the delegates from the state including incumbent and former governors of the state are his friends, hence, he deserves their votes at the forthcoming APC presidential primaries.
“Let us even assume that I’m the worst aspirant, for the sake of friendship, I’m entitled to your votes, you will go there and say for the sake of this our friendship, if he is going to fail, let’s fail with him,” he said.
The former Rivers State Governor said beyond friendship, he has the capacity, energy and experience to lead Nigeria.
He said remains the “only Nigerian candidate” for the next election and challenged other co-aspirants to prove him wrong.
Amaechi said to the delegates, “I’m very experienced, I’m not a Yoruba candidate and I will never be a Yoruba candidate. I’m not an Hausa/Fulani candidate and I will never be an Hausa/Fulani candidate. I’m not an Igbo candidate and I will never be one. I’m a Nigerian candidate.
“I challenge all others who are competing with me to show me the basis that they can claim to be a Nigerian candidate.
“I’m a different Nigerian and I’m one of the true Nigerians and I think all of you seated here are true Nigerians. The problem of Nigeria is not you, it is the elites.
“I’m prepared for debate, I’m prepared to provide solutions.
“No person among all those competing has governed a state where there was insecurity, but I have. By the time I took over the governor of Rivers state, they were kidnapping two-month old children. What did I do first, I didn’t pay ransom. I made a law that if you pay ransom you go for six months imprisonment because where there is no demand, there will be no supply.
“My administration will give equal opportunities to the men, so that they will compete equally, they will be appointed on merits and they will be given that chance to be part of the government.
“I know that there is a candidate from this state, our Vice President, a man of honour, he is a good candidate, but I think that if you look well, my experience matters.
“I come with experience, I’m 56 years old, I will be 57 in May, so I’m the bridge between the young and the old. I have energy and people have said, no, being energetic is not enough to preside over a state, but you can’t preside over a state in the hospital.
“He, the Vice President, had said that I’m a forthright man and if you approach me, you will know that I’m forthright.”
Responding, Abiodun saluted his courage for declaring his intention to run for president and wished him well in his presidential ambition.
Amaechi’s team later met with the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, at his palace in Abeokuta, where he sought the monarch’s support on his presidential ambition.
Daily Trust reports that Osinbajo is billed to visit Abeokuta today to meet APC delegates as part of his ongoing consultations on his presidential bid.