Amid a mammoth crowd, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Tuesday said he will not allow the country to sink under his watch if elected president on February 25, 2023.
Speaking during the official flag-off of his campaign at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos, Plateau State, he pledged to build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari.
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Our correspondents report that the stadium was filled to capacity as bigwigs of the party and their supporters trooped to the venue.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, serving governors including AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) attended the rally.
Other governors who attended the rally were; Babagana Zulum (Borno), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun)and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).
Daily Trust reports that former governors including Rotimi Amaechi, who came second during the presidential primary of the APC, Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno) were in attendance.
Hope is back – Tinubu
Tinubu praised Nigerians for believing in the APC to lead the country to progress after years of backwardness under the PDP administration saying, “Hope is back.”
According to him, “One can see greater prosperity and jobs in an economy humming with activity. From the farmer in the rural area to the city boy in a bustling urban centre, each will have productive work to do and a decent home to return to.
“One can see a Nigeria where all who want to will be able to build a decent life from the fruits of their individual and collective endeavour.
“From this fine vantage point, we see how far we have come. We also see how far we must go and the road that will take us there,” he said.
According to him, he would continue on the foundation laid by Buhari by improving security, infrastructures, oil exploration in the North East and opening Lake Chad for agriculture and economic opportunities.
“Mr President, you have provided exceptional service to the nation and party. Your contributions are both positive and enduring. When the history of this period is objectively written, it will smile upon you and treat you with utmost kindness,” he said.
If elected president, he said his administration will chart the course of progress started by the Buhari administration.
“We hereby reaffirm our commitment to progressive good governance and to the fruits that such governance can bring to this nation.
“February 2023 is more than an election. It is a fight to define the soul of the nation and to determine our collective fate. Do we adhere to the ideals of broadly shared prosperity, competence, peace, justice and compassion toward all? Or do we toss these ideals away, lashing ourselves to the divisive politics of the past or to those whose ranting show they cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy?” he asked.
Tongue-lashing the PDP and Labour Party, Tinubu said, “One party wants to take us back to a past that never should have been. Another party wants to take us to a past that resides only in its candidate’s head. Neither the old road nor the fantasy road is good enough.
“We, the APC and the Tinubu/Shettima team seek to make permanent a covenant of progressive good governance with the people,” he said.
Nigeria needs Tinubu – Buhari
President Buhari, while handing the APC flag to the former Lagos State governor, said the country needed a man like Tinubu.
He urged the party faithful to campaign on issues and the abilities of the candidate and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
The president reiterated his earlier assurances that he will be at the forefront of this campaign because of his belief in the party.
President Buhari, who said it is only the APC that can steer Nigeria to fulfil its historic purpose, added that by working together with the leadership of the party, the campaign council and its teeming supporters, the goal would be achieved.
The Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, in his remarks, assured the party supporters that APC would emerge victorious.
On his part, National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, urged Nigerians to vote for Tinubu/Shettima, saying the performance of the duo in Lagos and Borno states was excellent.
Why Northerners should vote Tinubu – El-Rufai
Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, urged northerners to shun the mischief of the PDP that Tinubu should not be voted because he is not a northerner.
“The PDP in their campaigns are telling northerners that Tinubu is not a northerner and as such he should not be voted. I, therefore, call on the northerners not to be deceived by such a campaign.
“When Buhari contested in 2015 and 2019, Tinubu and Yoruba in the southern part of the country, voted for him and he won. For that, there is no reason why the northerners should not vote for Tinubu.”
“God bless PDP” prophetic, sign of what is to come – PDP
Meanwhile, PDP said the prayer by Tinubu, for God’s blessing on the party, shows that the PDP represents the “Hope and aspiration of majority of Nigerians for a secure, prosperous future under a united country.”
Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary of the party in a statement said the fact that Tinubu made the prayer during his presidential campaign flag-off in Jos, Plateau State is a “Pointer that it was not a slip of tongue but a divine proclamation that the hope for Nigeria, which he harped on can only come from the PDP.”
PDP also noted that the APC presidential candidate had earlier in his address, admitted that Nigerians were “in distress” under the APC but that hope is on the way.
From Ado A. Musa, Dickson S. Adama (Jos), Muideen Olaniyi & Baba Martins (Abuja)