Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, have accentuated their governance blueprints for the country, as the campaigns for the 2023 general election intensify.
Tinubu yesterday assured entrepreneurs that he would turn the nation’s current challenges into opportunities for growth and development if elected in the forthcoming presidential poll.
Obi, on the other hand, said his administration would be driven by youths and women mostly if elected next year.
Tinubu spoke at a business luncheon with business owners titled, “Business Forward”, at the Wings, Victoria Island, Lagos, while disclosed his plans at a town Hall meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital.
At the Luncheon in Lagos, the APC flagbearer also promised to work towards ensuring there is security in the country to create an enabling environment for them to do their businesses.
Tinubu said since it is the responsibility of the government to secure the lives and properties of citizens, if elected, his administration would make security its priority the same way he did when he was Lagos State governor.
According to him, business and insecurity cannot thrive side by side.
The business entrepreneurs raised issues around education, healthcare development, electricity, investment climate, multiple exchange rates and prevailing oil subsidy, asking how he would deal with the challenges.
Responding, Tinubu specifically addressed the pressing issue of fuel subsidy, promising to take bold decisions that would turn the economy around.
According to him, one of such decisions will be on fuel subsidy, saying Nigeria will not continue to subsidise fuel consumption in neighbouring countries.
“How can we subsidise the fuel consumption of Cameroon, Niger and the Republic of Benin? No matter how long you protest, we are going to remove the subsidy,” he said emphatically.
On Security he said, “First, the primary responsibility of the government is to protect the lives, properties and prosperity of its citizens.
“As governor of Lagos, fixing the difficult security situation I inherited was the first item on my list. Only after we secured the state and changed its reputation for the better, could we embark on the economic reforms that have ultimately produced the vibrant and active megacity of today.
“I am committed to securing Nigerians from violence and the fear of such violence. Terror, kidnapping and banditry have no place in the society I envision. Upon entering office, we will move to implement several measures.
“We will increase the numbers of our military and non-military security forces. Specialist anti-terrorist battalions with integrated special forces units shall also be established.
“Our critical national Infrastructure Protection Plan will deploy aerial and ground surveillance technology to survey the most dangerous areas and secure our country’s vital national infrastructure and installations.
“We shall acquire and upgrade the tactical communications and mobility of our troops and security personnel. We must also devote greater attention to the care and welfare of our military and security forces who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.”
Tinubu was accompanied to the event by Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu; group chief executive officer of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; former commissioners in his administration in Lagos, Yemi Cardozo and Dele Alake; former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, and Hadiza Bala Usman, among others.
On his part, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Obi, promised that his administration if elected will be driven by youths and women mostly.
Speaking at the town Hall meeting in Port Harcourt yesterday, Obi said it does not mean the old people will not be there but they will mostly serve as advisers, while the youths will spearhead the government.
“This government is going to be a youth and women’s government. The old people will be there as advisers. They will guide us; we will respect them but the youth will spearhead it,” he stated.
Obi told the crowd at the town hall meeting made up of youths and students that he would increase education funding and grant autonomy to universities, and also grant loans to the students, even as he promised that strikes in the education sector are nipped in the bud finally.
“A government that refused to recognise the impact of education to development is doomed,” he said, reiterating what is contained in his manifesto that education will be well funded.
“I said we will fund education; we will increase the funding. We will invest in education because the greatest investment any society can do is education. The more educated a society is, the more developed it will be,” Obi added.
The LP flag bearer regretted that there had been much talk about physical infrastructure in this country and no effort to build the human infrastructure, which is education.
“So, we will fund education at tertiary level through collaborations. The government will bring the money and we can also get some corporations to support, and we will give students loans. Universities should be able to manage their resources, so they don’t have to shut down,” he stressed.
Assuring the cheering crowd of mostly students of focusing more on education, the former Anambra governor said, “I will not allow them to make you stay eight years for a five years course. Five years will be five years. If I have a problem with ASUU it is between me and them. You shouldn’t suffer for our disagreement.
He said that as president he would participate in the running of the Universities
“I assure you that when I become president I will visit at least 10 universities in a year. I visited over 500 secondary schools when I was a governor in Anambra. All their school prefects have my phone number and I deal with them directly,” he noted.
Obi said that if elected it means the system will work because that will be the reason for electing him, “to make universities work; so I am going to visit the universities and make them work.”
Obi also met with the Rivers state traditional rulers in their chamber where he was warmly received by their chairman, His Majesty, King Dsndedon Douglas Jaja, the Amanyanbo of Opobo.
He was accompanied by leadership of the party and the campaign council.
Don’t Waste Time On Tinubu, Atiku Tells PMB
Meanwhile, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to waste his precious time campaigning for presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, saying Nigerians across board have already rejected him.
Atiku who spoke through the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign organization said what Nigerians expect from President Buhari at this time is to provide the enabling environment that would guarantee peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible elections in 2023 as well as a smooth transfer of power in line with the expressed will of the people on May 29, 2023.
Spokesman of the Atiku/Okowa campaign, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians have registered their rejection of Tinubu as they have shown that “they will never trust or elect a narcotics-related lawbreaker; an individual accused of treasury-looting and many other reprehensible acts as President.”
Ologbondiyan, in a statement, said it was preposterous and a huge spat on the faces of Nigerians that an individual, who is beleaguered by allegations of corruption, perjury, identity theft, inconsistencies in name and ancestry, as well as alleged narcotics offence for which he forfeited a whopping sum of $460,000 to the United States of America, could present himself for election into the office of president.
Atiku said, “It is imperative to state that Nigerians will never entrust the destiny of our nation to any individual who is completely tarnished; whose persona is globally tainted with issues of criminal allegations, who cannot explain the source of his wealth in the face of accusations that it is the proceeds of corruption.
“Of course, there is no way Nigerians will trust or elect an individual who is so depraved that he can present the photograph of another person, former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, as his to gain followership in a documentary used as part of his campaign materials to canvass for votes.
“Such proclivity to falsehood is evident in the attempt by Tinubu, who cannot point to any resounding legacy project he articulated and executed in his brawling years as Governor of Lagos State, to shamelessly claim credit for the achievements of his predecessors and successors in office.
“It is strange that anybody can expect Nigerians to elect a failed State Governor whose only achievement is entrenching governance by brawl, personal enrichment and puffery.”
Atiku noted that Nigerians across the country have since established their preference for him over and above Tinubu as the next president of the country.
He said this is because he has proven himself as a leader with the required integrity, sound reputation and desired capacity, competence, presence of mind, political will and stamina to lead our nation at this critical time.
Ologbondiyan stated: “Nigerians want Atiku on the saddle in their yearning for the return of the good days; the period of Atiku Abubakar as Vice President and Chairman of the Economic Council, when our nation witnessed unprecedented economic growth to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world, where citizens were secure, prosperous and happy.
“President Buhari should therefore not waste his time to campaign for Asiwaju Tinubu, who has lost grip of the Presidential contest and is only seen in the public as a butt of jokes for his endless gaffes, display of vacuity and incapacity to lead.”