The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has said that he wants to become the next president of Nigeria because he knows the way to make it a prosperous country.
Tinubu stated this at the unveiling of his Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and the Action Plan of the APC at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.
At the event which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and other senior officials of the ruling party, Tinubu said, “My experience and past performance have shown that it will be through collective effort and national endeavour, crossing the divides and achieving our vision. I ask you to join Senator Shettima and I on this journey.”
On his agenda for Renewed Hope for Nigeria, the APC presidential candidate said standing on the foundation emplaced by the current administration, his administration would, among other things, build a Nigeria, especially for the youth, where sufficient jobs with decent wages create better lives.
He said his administration would export more and import less in order to earn more foreign exchange and strengthen the naira.
“We will deliver food security and affordability by continuing to prioritise agriculture and assist farmers and other players in the agricultural value chain through the enlightened agricultural policy that promotes productivity and guarantees robust income.
“We will modernise and expand public infrastructure to stimulate economic growth at an optimal rate, as well as generate, transmit and distribute affordable electricity to give our people the necessary power to drive their businesses and brighten their homes.
“Our national economy will grow, succeed and be respected. We will embolden and support young people and women to participate more in politics and governance, harnessing emerging sectors such as the digital economy, entertainment, tourism, sports to build today for the Nigeria of tomorrow,” he said.
Tinubu also promised to provide economic opportunities to people living with disabilities, the poor and vulnerable, saying, “We will build a Nigeria where no parent is compelled to send a child to bed hungry.”
He added that his administration would make basic health care, education and housing accessible and affordable for all.
On security, Tinubu promised to establish “a bold and assertive policy that will create a strong, yet adaptive national security architecture and action to obliterate terror, kidnapping, banditry and other crimes from the face of our country.”
Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Shettima, also said northern governors who insisted that power must return to the southern part of the country in 2023 deserved commendation.
He said the decision of the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to exploit the country’s rotational arrangement had backfired, stressing that a presidential candidate that cannot put his political house in order cannot aspire to lead the country.
The former governor of Borno State said, “Those who have weaponised their religious and ethnic affiliations have failed to tear us apart.
“What has set us apart is this realisation that no matter our differences and misunderstanding, politics isn’t designed for hyper individualism. Politics entails consciously working to produce cross regional alliances and harmonise the most superior of shared ideas. There is no doubt that Nigerians have found in the APC, the Moses to lead them to the Promised Land.
“There is no incentive greater than your convictions and those of the citizens. We must work together to assure of our abiding pledge to deliver on our electoral promises.”
Buhari: 2023 elections more important to APC than 2015
In his speech, President Buhari said the 2023 elections were more important to the ruling APC than the elections of 2015 because it would be disastrous to allow a situation that would lead to the reversal of the progress the country had made in the last seven years.
Buhari, who promised to be at the forefront of electing the former Lagos State governor as his successor, said Tinubu would consolidate on the achievements of his administration as he had the capacity, visionary leadership and track record to do more.
“It will be disastrous to allow a situation that would lead to the reversal of the progress our country has made. Let me add that I joyfully accept the position of the chairman of the campaign council we are unveiling today.
“Our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is too well known for his capacity and can-do spirit. He stands tall in his track records as a democrat, a champion of rule of law, a man at home in every part of our country, and a truly visionary leader. All you need to do is think of Lagos in 1999 and 2022!
“I, therefore, want to assure all party members and supporters of our government that I will be at the forefront of this campaign.
“This election is even more important than the election of 2015 that brought us into power. The cost of losing the gains our country has made is much more than the need to stop the haemorrhage that led to our coming together nearly 9 years ago.
“I want to charge every member to put in all their efforts during the next four and half months of campaign to ensure we record a resounding victory in all our elections nationwide. The future of this country is safer in our hands,” he said.
The president, who described the APC presidential candidate as “the Jagaban, my friend, partner, and brother,” said the occasion was important to him for two reasons.
“First, it is significant to note that this unveiling is the third by our party. I have had the opportunity of unveiling two action plans. I had the privilege of presenting our party’s manifesto of Change in 2014.
“It was a manifesto that signposted our collective desire to arrest the directionless journey our country was headed under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The second time was in 2018 when I unveiled the Next Level agenda of our government.
“The second reason this occasion is significant is that we are having our first transition within our party, where I am in the last year of my two-term mandate, and we have a new candidate to lead our party into another presidential election.
“The events preceding our presidential primary were important milestones in the development of our internal democracy and party politics.
“I must congratulate the leadership of our party, other stakeholders, and the entire party members for the success of the exercise. We can say with confidence that our party is charting a steady course in our journey towards enthroning a lasting democratic culture in our body polity,” he said.
The president also thanked party officials in the National Executive Council, zonal, state, senatorial, local government and ward executives for their unalloyed support to his administration and the great efforts and outstanding commitment to the cause of the party and democracy.
He urged them to be mindful of the importance of building a strong and purposeful political party, recounting that the project of pulling “Nigeria back from the precipice in 2015 was made possible by putting together a formidable party peopled by many who have made a vow to work for a Nigeria we all can be proud of.”
President Buahri charged members to uphold the supremacy of the party, operating within the guidelines as stipulated in their constitution.
“It is worth reiterating the fact that we are stronger today only because we have continued to support the party.
“For us to develop an enduring democracy in our country, we must first subscribe to the supremacy of our party.
“We must subject ourselves to the rules and learn to operate within the guidelines as stipulated in our constitution,” he added.
Further congratulating Asiwaju Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, for their victory at the presidential primary, Buhari expressed delight that most of the aspirants transferred their structures, including campaign offices to the party’s candidate after the exercise, saying it was a demonstration of the commitment of party leaders and members to democratic practices.
He challenged party members to see themselves as “ambassadors of progressive principles.”
The president, in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, noted that despite the unfavourable circumstances of global economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic and very low international oil prices resulting in low revenue, the APC-led government “managed to make Nigeria stable,” laying a solid foundation for progressive growth.
He also stated that in the seven-year journey as a government, the party had every reason to be proud of its achievements amid the inherited systemic corruption and challenges of insecurity.
President Buhari, who highlighted the achievements of the APC-led administration, stated that under his watch, Nigeria’s security personnel were better equipped and motivated.
He added that the exploits of the Nigerian armed forces in the battlefield had led to massive and successive operational successes in the quest to secure the country and provide adequate protection for the lives and property of all citizens.
“The efforts of our men and women in the armed forces over the last years are beginning to yield positive outcomes. We are gradually taking back our country from foreign-inspired bandits, kidnappers and terrorists in the North East and North West and other parts of our country.
“We are equally combating separatists, oil thieves and bandits in the South East and South South of the country
“Our administration remains committed to progressively eliminating all flashpoints of insecurity nationwide. We will triumph over the enemies of our country in whatever forms and shapes they appear,” he further stated.
Buhari also scored his administration high on infrastructure, saying, “Our commitment to stimulate our country’s economy through massive infrastructural development has not been misplaced.
“We are already seeing the unprecedented infrastructure across the country. The real impacts of our efforts will be felt more as the various projects are completed and put to use in the coming days.”
‘We’re set to win’