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Ambode says decisions taken was with best interest of Lagos in mind, thanks Buhari, Tinubu, others

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said all the decisions, plans, programmes and policies of his administration in the last four years were taken with the best interest of Lagos in mind and for common good of all residents of the State.

Governor Ambode, in a farewell State broadcast to officially mark the end of his administration, said the driving force with respect to programmes executed was to lift more people out of poverty and make every part of the State economically viable and livable.

“For this administration, policies, programmes and projects aimed at lifting more of our people out of poverty and making every part of the State safe, accessible and economically viable were always the priority; the driving force behind all our decisions and plans.

“A few of our policies might have been unpopular but these were decisions taken with the best interest of our State in mind. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe we could have done some things differently but our intention was always clear, for the good of Lagos,” Governor Ambode said.

He particularly commended the people for the constructive feedback to some of the policies of his administration which, according to him, helped to surmount challenges, saying it had been a remarkable journey to serve the State.

“With a heart full of gratitude, I address you today for the last time as your governor. It has been an honour and a privilege of a lifetime to serve you for the last four years.

“It has been a remarkable journey which has had a lasting impact in my life and I want to thank all Lagosians for the experience of these last four years.

“As in the beginning when we visited every single corner of this state listening to you and asking for your votes, I have felt the power of your support, your collective energy and the endless goodwill that has propelled us to achieve many things,” he said.

Describing Lagos as a place where dreams come true and a home for everyone, Governor Ambode said it was the duty of all residents to continue to ensure that the State remained the true centre of opportunities and growth for all.

“From being just a commercial centre, our State has now become a prime destination for tourism, sports, entertainment and culture. And the future is even brighter with more exciting prospects and possibilities. In the near future, with God on our side, Lagos will take its rightful place in the comity of major city-States of the world.

“Fellow Lagosians, it has been a remarkable journey. One in which we have pushed boundaries and moved our State to another level. A journey in which we have transformed many aspects of our State and set the ball rolling in other sectors. But there is still a lot more to be done.

“But it is a job not for only the government; it is a responsibility for us all. In Lagos everyone counts and we all have a part to play,” he said.

While appreciating the people for the support given to successive administrations in the State, Governor Ambode also urged all stakeholders to support the incoming administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying such would be in the best interest of all.

“By tomorrow, there will be a change of guard in our State. I will be stepping down and a new Governor will be sworn in. We will have a new Governor and a new administration with the same objective; achieving a better Lagos.

“Those who have had the privilege of serving our dear State in different capacities especially as Governors owe their successes to your prayers, understanding and support. The same courtesy and cooperation that you gave to my predecessors from the first elected Governor of the State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande to our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to my humble self, I urge you to extend same to the next administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and ensure that he succeeds. It is in our best interest to do so,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the executive, the legislature, the judiciary; leadership, elders and members of All Progressives Congress (APC); Local Government Councils and community leaders, all our security agencies, civil society groups and religious leaders, among others for their immense support throughout the tenure of his administration.

“To my wife, Bolanle and the children, who have had to endure many days and nights without me; I thank you for your love and steadfastness. You will continue to be my pillar of strength.

“To all Lagosians; for your love, compassion, cooperation and support, I am eternally grateful. My love always,” Governor Ambode concluded.

Bode George slams Tinubu over 2023 presidential ambition

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was on Thursday, taken to the cleaners over his 2023 presidential ambition.

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, who spoke in Lagos, wondered why Tinubu’s ambition is being championed by his loyalists “even when President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to be sworn in for a second term”.

George said: “I’m shocked by his ambition. It is a silly and inordinate ambition such as this that is driving our people into the gutters. He is ignorantly arrogant. We should pray for such characters”.

He wondered why Tinubu should be talking about 2023 presidency now “when only God can determine who would be alive by then. What he should be thinking about now is the legacy he would be remembered for and not a presidency that is beyond his control”.
Speaking on insecurity in the country, George warned that the nation is at crossroads and that “it would take the Grace of God to bring it back”.

“I speak today devoid of partisan frame, stripped of political identification, removed from any ethnic prejudice. I speak today as a concerned Nigerian Elder and Patriot.

“We are all ill-defined, ill-shaped, broken into a thousand pieces. The democratic purity is dangerously distorted, bruised, disfigured, savaged, hurled to the brink of a ruinous precipice. Our once glorious and beautiful mosaic of cultural plurality and sectarian diversity are being mangled, forfeited on the altar of infantile partisan and parochial divisions.”

He lamented that “this nation is without ethical leadership, without honour, without credible vision, lacking in purposeful articulation. The scourge of nepotism, the poisonous bile of tribal triumphalism, the hate infested curse of provincial fixities are now gaining grounds everywhere, defining the thematic aberrations of our times.

“Let us be truthful and frank: our nation is embattled, scourged and savaged by the virtual selfishness of our collective elites. We are all guilty for the present ravaged state of our troubled nation. The ogre created by the selfishness of the few has come to haunt us all.

“But beyond the harsh confines of ethnic divisions, beyond the savageries of partisan furore, we are yet confronted by the murderous furies of bandits and faceless herdsmen who continuously subject every inch of this nation to a vast killing fields where none can claim a refuge of undisturbed safety and guaranteed protective cordon.

“Now both the rich and the poor are easy targets. The dividing lines are now blurred, indistinguishable, flung upon the whims and the reckless inflictions of murderous bandits who negotiate with no one except when the price is right.
“Alas we are now in a conundrum. Our nation is affrighted, thrown upon a suspended animation. We are hindered and halted in a cul de sac. Nothing seems bright and sunny anymore.

“But there must be a better way. We must return to the path of fairness and enlightened equity. We must return to the path of balanced ingredients of democratic purity where the logical essence of checks and balances prevail among the tripodal branches of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Justice must prevail over partiality, inequity and unfairness. The enlightened society can only be established when everyone, regardless of tribe and tongue, is treated fairly in the Nigerian commonwealth”.

No apologies on tackling godfather of Lagos politics, says El-Rufai

Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says he owes no one any apology over his comments on how to end godfatherism in Lagos state.

El-Rufai, had said he knew how to end godfatherism in Lagos politics.

The statement was seen as being targeted at Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,  the foremost leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress and one time governor of Lagos State widely acknowledged for his stranglehold on the state’s political landscape.

The governor said having retired the four political godfathers in Kaduna, he was confident that the feat could be achieved anywhere else.

But speaking with reporters on the issue, the governor said he did not regret making the comment.

When asked if he wanted Bola Tinubu,  a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), removed as the godfather of Lagos, el-Rufai replied that he is unaware of Tinubu occupying that role, saying it is up to the national leader to say if he is.

He said godfathers could be defeated as far as people are ready to work hard to achieve the feat.

“We are in the same party, we get along very well, as far as I know,” el-Rufai said.

“I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it is up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that there are six million registered voters in Lagos and only one million voted in the last election, so there are five million people you can bring into the electoral playground and you can defeat anybody if you work hard but it is hard work; it is four years, that is what I said.

“If anyone feels offended by that, that is his business.”

Asked if Lagos should follow the same template he used in defeating the godfathers in his state, el-Rufai said: “I have no recommendation to Lagos, I am the governor of Kaduna state, I know Kaduna politics pretty well and I play my role well in my party towards the overall success of the party.

“So I have no recommendations for anyone. I am just saying If I am asked a question and I give an answer, anyone that feels offended by the answer, that is his own business.

“I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views; my views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone.

“This is a democracy and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it.”

Fulani elders tackle Miyetti Allah official over Tinubu

Fulani elders under the platform of Concerned Fulani Leaders Forum (CFLF), have called Bello Bodejo, president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a “fraudster,” who lacked the mandate and credibility to speak on behalf of the ethnic group.

The CFLF’s censure comes on the back of a statement by Bodejo, during an interview with Saturday Sun, where he dismissed the possibility of Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

“What I know is that Tinubu cannot be the president of Nigeria. That is the truth.  He is very old and maybe older than President Buhari,” he had said.

But Muhammad Musa Bawa, on behalf of the forum, issued a statement, on Sunday, where he questioned the credentials of Bodejo and slammed him for attempting to arrogate to himself the power of Nigerians to determine who leads them.

“We note with dismay a publication in The Sun Newspaper of Saturday April 27, 2019 and attributed to one Alhaji Bello Bodejo, the self- acclaimed President of MiyettiAllah Kautal Hore, an association mischievously conceived to serve some dubious interests. In the publication, Bello Bodejo was quoted as casting aspersions on the person of All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” the statement read.

“Bello Bodejo’s statement is unfortunate and repulsive in all ramifications. For one, he lacks the mandate and credibility to speak on behalf of the Fulani. He has lost the confidence of our people because of his criminal activities, which are well known to us. We challenge him to come out and tell the whole world how his younger brother was killed during an alleged robbery operation at Saminaka in Lere LGA, using his Hilux vehicle.

“Bello Bodejo is a known fraudster who has made a career out of duping poor members of his Fulani community. As at today, he leads one of the biggest cattle-rustling-gangs in the North central zone, a morally-depraved man who could not keep even a woman as wife in his house. Such a person cannot be taken seriously or be highly regarded as to speak for others.

“Bello Bodejo stands for everything unethical. His questionable antecedents speak volumes about him and his ways. When he realised he cannot actualize his nefarious activities under any decent association, he resorted to desperate moves, contacting prominent politicians, soliciting for patronage and claiming to be a leader of the Fulani under Kautal Hore, a handbag association where he is law unto himself.

“In 2015, he aligned himself with the then-governing PDP. To worm himself into the heart of the party, he headed for Aso Rock Villa where he endorsed former President Goodluck Jonathan in the name of Fulani in Nigeria, a crime the Fulani people are yet to forgive him for. He castigated General Muhammadu Buhari, calling him all kinds of unprintable names.

“In the run-up to the 2019 election, Bello Bodejo also made frantic efforts to align with the PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, holding several meetings with him in his Asokoro residence. When all efforts to dupe Atiku Abubakar failed, he resorted to outright blackmail, again saying many unpalatable things about Atiku.

“He later made frantic efforts to reach out to Asiwaju Tinubu in January, 2019 to sell himself as someone with mass followers. But his satanic plans couldn’t sail through with a highly-intelligent Asiwaju, who can identify a fraudster when he sees one, hence Bello Bodejo’s unprovoked outburst.

“Nigerians should know Bello Bodejo through his past antecedents. He is worthless and must be seen as such. He does not command any decent followership as his criminal records speak volumes about him. He is a fraudster with questionable background who derives pleasure in intimidating people using his clandestine activities.

“It is instructive to note that the Fulani culture abhors shameful and disrespectful conduct, especially in relating to our elders. We call on Bodejo to desist forthwith from using the name of Miyetti Allah to spread his odious gospel of hate. He should tender an unreserved apology to Asiwaju.”

Tinubu has fascist agenda to control all levels of power – Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has attacked a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu, saying that the former Lagos Governor was pursuing fascist agenda to control all levels of power in Nigeria.

Dogara, in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Turaki Hassan, and made available on Tuesday, said that only the ignorant with dubious academic certificates will say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make.

Dogara was reacting to an earlier statement by Tinubu, where he accused Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Dogara of having padded the country’s budget for four years.

Dogara’s statement added, “We have noted the statement issued on April 21, 2019 by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu wherein he stated his reasons for sponsoring or supporting some aspirants to various leadership positions in the forthcoming 9th Assembly. Ordinarily, this would not have elicited any response from His Excellency, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, as Asiwaju is entitled to sponsor those he believes will have no choice but answer to his dog whistles anytime he blows same in his capacity as the self acclaimed National Leader of his party.

 

“If Asiwaju had confined his intervention to stubborn facts, this response would not have been necessary. He, however, used the opportunity to manufacture falsehoods and paint a non-existing picture of the stewardship of Mr Speaker and the work of the 8th House of Representatives under his watch. It is therefore, incumbent on us to set the records straight for posterity.

“Asiwaju Tinubu accused the leadership of the National Assembly of stymieing ‘the APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation.’

“He said further: ‘Just look at the way Saraki and Dogara and their ilk hijacked the Budget Process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them”.

“He continues ‘Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.’

“He generously used the usual unexplained words like installing a progressive leadership and so on.

“We do not expect Asiwaju Tinubu to dwell on brazen mendacity, much less murder facts and decorum in his rabid bid to justify his patently clear fascist agenda of controlling all levers of power in Nigeria. Asiwaju Tinubu’s nocturnal agenda has no parallel in the history of any democracy and it is more loathsome when he throws caution to the winds and maligns government officials who are doing a yeoman’s job of stabilising the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, even in spite of political differences.

“It is on record that the Rt. Hon. Speaker has done more to stabilize this government more than Asiwaju Tinubu and his ilk whose stock in trade is scheming, manipulation and subversion especially when they feel they cannot be caught. When the history of Buhari’s administration is written by those who know the truth of what really transpired in the last four years, Asiwaju’s pretentious loyalty to President Buhari will then be exposed. We won’t say more but no matter how long it may last, the truth will one day overtake lies. Perhaps, Asiwaju is still bitter about the leadership contest for Speakership of the 8th Assembly, even though the actors have moved on culminating in Speaker Dogara magnanimously facilitating the appointment of his opponent in the race and Tinubu’s protege as House Majority leader.

“The chief cause of delay in enacting the budget is the persistent refusal or neglect of the Executive to present it in good time.

“For the records, in the last four years, there was no urgency or plan by the Executive to achieve a January to December budget cycle. For the avoidance of doubt, we will show the dates the Budget estimates were submitted by the Executive in the last four years below.

2016 Budget was submitted on December 22, 2015, exactly nine days to the end of the year.

2017 Budget submitted on December 14,2016, just 17 days to the end of the year.

2018 Budget was presented on November 7, 2017, the earliest even though it also fell short of the 90 days stipulated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

2019 budget was presented on December 19, 2018 exactly 12 days to the end of the year.

“As if the late or delayed submission of budget estimates wasn’t enough, in most cases, Ministers and heads of agencies contributed to the so-called delay by consistently refusing to appear before National Assembly Standing Committees to defend their budget proposals in line with the provision of the Law. At some point, the leadership of the National Assembly had to take up the issue with the President who advised his Ministers to honour legislative invitations to defend their budgets.

”What Nigerians don’t know is that the Executive, through the various Ministries, continued to propose additional projects to be included in the 2018 budget even as at April and May of 2018 which further delayed the passage of the 2018 budget. These were communicated officially and if anyone is in doubt, we will exhibit the letters with the dates they were written and received. In any case, the National Assembly inserted a clause in the Appropriation Bill consistent with S.318 of the Constitution which allowed the Budget to last for 12 months after Mr President’s Assent. This enabled the Executive to spend more of the capital component of the Budget as it still had 12 months protected by law.

“As an activist legislature, the National Assembly effected an amendment to S. 81(1) of the Constitution to compel Mr President to present the Budget estimates not later than 90 days to the end of a financial year in order to solve this problem but unfortunately, very unfortunately, Mr President declined assent to the bill which was passed by both the National Assembly and over 2/3rds of the State Assemblies.

“The National Assembly made a further attempt to make the Budget process much better by improving the institutional capacity of the Parliament to process and pass National budgets by passing the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) Establishment Bill into law. It was loosely modelled after the American Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Again, Mr President declined assent to the Bill.

“It is important to emphasize that the National Assembly is not a Rubber Stamp Parliament and reserves the right, working cooperatively with the Executive to interrogate projects unilaterally inserted by the Executive branch without the input of or consultation with Parliament. The legislature cannot be accused of padding a Budget it has unquestionable constitutional power to review

“The Budget is a law and the Executive does not make laws. Therefore, it’s only the ignorant and those who hold dubious academic certificates that say the maker of a document has padded the document that only he can constitutionally make. In the words of his lordship, Hon Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High court, in suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2014 delivered on March 9, 2016, ‘the National Assembly was not created by drafters of the Constitution and imbued with the powers to receive ‘budget estimates’ which the first defendant is constitutionally empowered to prepare and lay before it, as a rubber stamp parliament. The whole essence of the budget estimates being required to be laid before Parliament is to enable it, being the Assembly of the representatives of the people, to debate the said budget proposals and to make its own well informed legislative inputs into it.’

“The parliamentarians are representatives of the Nigerian people and you don’t expect them to rubber stamp budgets that are heavily skewed and lopsided against most sections of the country. It is their responsibility to ensure equitable and even distribution of capital projects across all the nooks and crannies of the country, if the Executive fails to do so. In any case, it is false to state that legislative intervention in the Budget Process is to benefit the legislators and not their constituencies.

“We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to prove otherwise. He should also show in what way the 8th Assembly acted differently from other Assemblies of the past to warrant the kind of language used. In any case, all the aspirants to the Senate Presidency and Speakership he is sponsoring are majority leaders in the 8th Assembly and took part in the Budget Process that he made the chief basis of his crude attack. This proves beyond doubt the hypocrisy of Asiwaju’s stated reasons for supporting his candidates.

“He should find better reasons other than the lies being peddled about the Budget and obstructing government business. Asiwaju shouldn’t take better informed Nigerians for fools. Otherwise, when he sought to take control of the 8th Senate and 8th House in 2015, was it because of any Budget Saraki and Dogara had delayed or pet projects they had inserted into any Budget before 2015? Asiwaju must come clean on this matter. He should let Nigerians know why he wants to install both the Senate President, the Speaker and leadership of the 9th Assembly. He may yet win the support of some of them if he comes clean on this matter.

“The 8th National Assembly is on record to have supported Mr President’s requests on critical issues of governance. We backed him by Resolution on the issue of fuel subsidy, we backed him on the National Minimum wage, even though we were more sympathetic to workers’ rights. In security matters, we never cut any proposal from Mr President save our refusal to rubber stamp a clear constitutional overreach of spending $1 billion in arms purchase without appropriation. We have passed more Bills than any Assembly before us including Bills that are helping the government improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, and there were times we passed Bills within 2 legislative days. Is Tinubu genuinely ignorant of all these?

“We challenge Asiwaju Tinubu to list out the Bills he claimed were not passed by the National Assembly. The oil and gas or petroleum sector is the most important and critical sector of our economy which accounts for over 70 percent of our earnings, the Executive didn’t forward a single Bill to the National Assembly to reform and reposition the sector in the last four years even when repeatedly urged to do so by Mr Speaker in his first year in office. The lawmakers waited in vain and had to take the bold initiative of crafting a Bill – Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PGIB) among others, passed it in record time and transmitted same to Mr President for assent. This Bill was vetoed without an alternative Legal framework proposed by the Executive. Did Asiwaju miss this also?

“Asiwaju Tinubu should mention the so-called bills the Executive sent to the National Assembly and were delayed to show he is a man of honour or forever keep his peace.

“Could someone also challenge Asiwaju to list all the “ noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation”? Can he name the bills that are reactionary and not in the national interest? Is this how wayward lust for power blinds the reasoning of people we should ordinarily respect? Is it not most unfair, unpatriotic and wicked for Asiwaju Tinubu to have resorted to factoids in promoting his known fascist agenda which he mistakenly thinks he is keeping secret.

“Finally, we advise Asiwaju Tinubu to be circumspect in his use of language. In this case, he spoke as a spokesperson of depravity. Our reaction must therefore be seen as a provoked counter-punch. Any one can descend into the gutter if he so wishes but no one has a monopoly of gutter language. We won’t run an adult day care centre anymore on matters like this.”

Saraki challenges Tinubu to provide proof of budget padding

Senate President Bukola Saraki has challenged Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to provide proofs of how the leadership of the national assembly padded budgets.

The senate president’s statement is coming barely a day after Tinubu claimed that budgets were hijacked under him and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” Tinubu had said in a statement from his media office on Sunday.

Saraki, however, in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his spokesperson, on Monday, said Tinubu’s statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the eighth national assembly and its leadership.

The senate president challenged Tinubu to make reference to where the leadership of the national assembly “sought to pad with pet projects.”

He described the allegation as careless, irresponsible and callous, while demanding that Tinubu withdraws it.

“Yesterday, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, released another of his now well expected quarterly vicious attack on the person of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate,” Saraki said.

“Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months (Quarterly) will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations.

“It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should not have a better understanding of how the legislature works.

“The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Most of the work is done by the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties.

“It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed.

“So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is ‘jockeying and maneuvering for influence’, as he puts it.

“In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make specific reference to where Dr. Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly “sought to pad with pet projects” as he alleged. Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation.”

Listing some of the bills passed under his leadership, Saraki said he is proud that the eight assembly has surpassed the records of all previous senate in the number of bills passed and its significance to the economy.

“As a leader of the Eighth National Assembly, Dr. Saraki is proud that under his watch, the Senate has surpassed the records of all previous Senate in the number of bills passed, the significance of these bills to the revival of the economy, the fight against insecurity and corruption, improvement in the provision of health service and the education sector, as well as better social service delivery to the generality of the people,” he said.

“The bills passed, motions moved, intervention made and frequent engagement with the people were all directed towards addressing the day to day issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians.

“However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through.

“Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership.”

Tinubu reacts to reports on rumoured bid for presidency in 2023

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has described as “untrue” reports that he is planning to strengthen his presidential ambition by planting his allies in key positions at the national assembly.

The politician said those who feel they know his mind better than he does are spreading such rumours.

Tinubu said he aligned with President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the leadership of the national assembly in order to show support for his second term in office.

Buhari and the leadership of the ruling party have endorsed Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the house of representatives.

Gbajabiamila, an ally of Tinubu, was elected into the lower legislative chamber of the national assembly during the second term of the APC leader as governor of Lagos state.

In a statement from his media office on Sunday, Tinubu said he has no ulterior motive backing Lawan and Gbajabiamila.

He said his mind, heart and efforts are focused on making the APC and Buhari in achieving their “shared vision of a flourishing economy and a prosperous people”.

“We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the national assembly leadership,” the statement read.

“The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.

“The peddlers of these rumors have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better.

“This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact.

“The rumor-mongers should court greater discipline and wisdom. As Asiwaju recently said there is no action a person can take that constitutes a political guarantee as to what may come four years from now.Moreover, that having allies in the national assembly leadership positions will greatly enhance someone’s presidential ambitions is a spurious claim.”

Taking a swipe at Senate President Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of reps, Tinubu said the APC must do its best to avoid those who would frustrate Buhari in power.

He said under Saraki and Dogara, budgets were hijacked while the interest of the party was not duly served.

“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority. His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria’s a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward. However, the obstacles before us are vast and complex.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” he said.

“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.

“If we are truly committed to optimal governance, then we also must be equally committed to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive. This is all Asiwaju has hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything he has done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.”

Tinubu warned those who are against the president to be bold enough to make their stand known rather than trying to drive a wedge between him and Buhari.

“Thus, those who cast aspersions at Asiwaju, in reality are bucking against the stated position of the President,” he said.

“This is a democracy and people have the right to oppose whomever they wish to oppose. However, if these mongers oppose the president let them be of sufficient courage to plainly say so. They should not disparage Asiwaju as an indirect way to contend against the President.

“What everyone who cares about Nigeria should now do is rally around the president to give him all possible support in driving to reality his economic policies and objectives. This is how we progress as a nation.”

Yakasai: APC might field Tinubu or Osinbajo in 2023

Tanko Yakasai, elder statesman and political adviser in the second Republic, says the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might field Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo or Bola Tinubu, a national leader of APC, in 2023.

Speaking with The Interview, Yakasai said the region played a key role in the emergence of Buhari in 2019.

On the possibility of the APC fielding a presidential candidate from the south-east in 2013, Yakasai said the region will be sidelined for the south-west.

“The current calculation is that the vice-president is from the Southwest. Clearly, there is an unwritten understanding that when Buhari finishes, the Vice President will likely be the next presidential candidate of the APC,” he said.

“The Vice President is a Yoruba man. Even if it is not Osinbajo, somebody from there, probably Tinubu, will likely emerge as the candidate of the party.

“And with the performance of the party in the southeast, I don’t see any possibility that the party will think of giving its candidacy to the southeast as against the support it earned from the southwest.

“Apart from voting, don’t forget that there were some material support which APC enjoyed from the Southwest.”

Defending his choice of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the elections, the elder statesman  said he supported Atiku because of his experience in governance and business.

Yakasai was asked: “You supported former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP at the just concluded election. Do you believe the eventual winner, Muhammadu Buhari, won fair and square?”

He replied: “No, I do not. Quite alright, I supported Atiku because I don’t believe that Buhari has the capacity and the competence to handle the Nigerian problem.”

On the issue of the leadership of the 9th senate, Yakasai said it would not favour theAll Progressives Congress (APC) to insist on Ahmed Lawan.

Lawan, senate majority leader, has been given the blessings of the APC to succeed Bukola Saraki as the leader of the red chamber.

Yakasai said he expected the ruling party to have learnt from its mistakes.

He argued that the lawmakers should be allowed to who will lead them, and not a person imposed on them.

“Well, they have been touting this idea for a long time. Remember when the current Senate was convened after the 2015 election, they wanted Ahmad Lawan to be the Senate president,” he said.

“It was the rupture in the party that led a chunk of party senators to team up with PDP senators to get Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as president and deputy president of the Senate.

“What I am surprised about, I thought what happened to them in the last dispensation would have been a lesson for them to allow legislators to decide who should be their leaders.

“I worked with National Assembly for four years. I know the mindset of members of the National Assembly. They believe that they have their own mandate separate from the mandate of the President.”

JUST IN: Tinubu kicks against increase in taxes

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has advised the federal government not to increase value added tax (VAT).

Speaking at the colloquium held in commemoration of his 67th birthday, the APC leader counselled the government to widen the tax net.

He said increasing VAT was tantamount to reducing the purchasing power of the people.

“I must say this to Prof Osinbajo and his team, don’t increase VAT but increase tax net to accommodate those who are not yet paying,” he said.

“Don’t reduce the people’s purchasing power.”

Speaking further, Tinubu said: “We must criticise ourselves.”

Tinubu: What I use to influence elections

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says his moral authority and skills as a veteran politician are his only tools for influencing elections.

He spoke while reacting to the allegation by a political group that he is planning to influence the governorship rerun election in Sokoto state.

The Sokoto State Coalition of PDP Supporters had accused Tinubu, Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the APC, and Abdulaziz Yari, Zamfara state governor, of meeting with Yakubu Mahmood, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to rig the election in the state in favour of the APC.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Tunde Rahman, his spokesman, the APC national leader said he has been at the forefront of the struggle for electoral reform and would do nothing to subvert democracy in the country.

“These allegations by a contrived PDP organ are desperate untruths without a basis in fact. But they are entirely in line with the delusional reactions of PDP to their loss in the presidential elections,” Tinubu said.

“A prominent member of that panel, Prof Attahiru Jega later became the INEC Chairman and was able to implement the far-reaching reforms that have enabled us to have the free and fair elections that we witnessed in 2015 and now in 2019.

“If I were such a prominent supporter of electoral reforms, why wilI I now be among those trying to subvert democracy?

“My only tools for influencing elections are my moral authority, my skills as a veteran politician, and dedication to campaigning and mobilising my own party members.”

Sokoto is one of the five states where supplementary election are holding on Saturday.

Tinubu kicks against ‘O to ge’ in Lagos

Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says “O to ge”, the slogan used to dislodge Senate President Bukola Saraki is not applicable in Lagos.

Loosely translated as “enough is enough”, the slogan yielded massive rewards for Kwara APC as the party displaced all the three sitting senators in the state, won all house of reps seats and President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic (PDP), with over 150,000 votes in the state.

Some politicians and activists opposed to Tinubu had attempted to use a similar strategy to stop the emergence of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his preferred candidate.

But fielding questions from reporters after casting his ballot at polling unit  047, ward 3, Ikeja local government area of the state, Tinubu said in Lagos, the people should consider “o to pe”, translated as “it’s worthy of praise”.

He said there is a limit to copying concepts from other states, expressing confidence that his party would emerge victorious in the exercise.

“The O to ge slogan is for Ilorin; Lagos is not Kwara state, and there is a limit to copying. Lagos should be O to pe, not O Toge,” he said.

“We are going to win because we are the only party in Lagos state, others are pretenders; they come and they will go away. Leopard cannot change his skin.

“Lagos belongs to the progressives; we are progressives and we will remain progressives. For Lagos, it has seen tremendous development since I was the governor; before then, the highest internally generated revenue (IGR) was N600 million, per month, now it is over N30 billion.

“No other state has achieved what we have achieved, financial independence, as Lagos state; no other nation, they all depend on allocation from the federal government. Lagos State today will not depend on any allocation before we take care of capital needs; we build roads and bridges everywhere from Oregun to many parts of the state.

“The real estate value of Lagos state has exponentially increased than any other state in the federation. We are the fifth largest economy in Africa; let me see that governor who will do better than that.”

Tinubu said the the violence which erupted in the Okota area of state during the presidential and national assembly elections, is not enough to give the impression that the state is prone to violence.

He blamed the media of giving hype to negative stories, saying that such attributes would not bring the necessary progress.

“I take exception to what happened in Okota two weeks ago. I am very upset about that incidence placing Lagos as if we are violent-prone,” he said.

“We have about 1,325 polling units in Lagos State and only five units were affected in Okota. That should not mean that the election was a failure in the state.

“If we should rate it, the election should be about 97 per cent rate of success if right mentally. An incident in Okota should not be used to generalise the whole election in Lagos State.

“The success rate should have been the story, not the ugly incident that should be the story. For the media, how can five units out of 1,325 units constitute a violent election and were given hype that Lagos is violent; we cannot do justice to that.

“How can we have development to the economy and the medium of information? In terms of security, Lagos has always been ready to celebrate democracy, and violence free. The security officials are doing well and the INEC has started well too with the logistics well managed.

“We will continue to welcome everybody to Lagos State.  We cannot stop people from coming to the state. If Lagos is not good enough, they won’t come. If the state is plagued with disease or insecurity or unemployment, people won’t come. Those leaving their states to come to Lagos are welcome, they are not a threat.”

BREAKING: Voters stranded as electoral officials shun Tinubu’s polling unit

Prospective voters are stranded at the polling unit of Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a result of the absence of electoral officials.

As of 10am on Saturday, not a single ballot had been cast at unit 047, ward 3, Ikeja local government area of Lagos where the APC leader usually votes.

Ad hoc staff and members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were not seen at the unit and different units in the ward.

There are reports of some corps members in Lagos vowing not to participate the exercise over the non-payment of their allowances.

More to follow…

Police stop anti-Tinubu rally in Lagos

Policemen have invaded Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, where some political activists are holding a rally ahead of the March 9 governorship election.

Under the Orange Movement, the group converged on Oramiyan Hall in the hotel to strategise on how to stop Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), from having his way in the election.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, candidate of the APC in the election, has the backing of Tinubu.

Some critics of the APC leader and members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have alleged that a win for Sanwo-Olu translates into  a fifth term for Tinubu, who served as governor between 1999 and 2007, and influenced the emergence of Babatunde Fashola, who governed the state between 2007 and 2015.

Tinubu also played a key role in the emergence of Akinwunmi Ambode, incumbent governor of Lagos.

The Orange Movement had adopted “O to Ge”, meaning “Enough is Enough”, a crusade which was used to uproot the political structure of Senate President Bukola Saraki in Kwara state.

A member of the movement said on Thursday that the police said the group did not seek permission from the appropriate quarters before organising the rally.

The policemen are mounting strategic positions in and outside of the hotel.

I still hope to be friends with Atiku after we retire him on Saturday —Tinubu

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the APC would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.

Tinubu said this in a statement by his Media Officer, Mr. Tunde Rahman.

“This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.

”Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku. We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after February 16 when he goes into retirement.

”For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.

”Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come February 16. Perhaps, together, they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man,” he said.

Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.

“Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.

“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty,” he said.

Tinubu said that the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.

“Our vision is the opposite of theirs. Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.

“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.

“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, TraderMoni and N-Power.

“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies. These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens,” he said.

Tinubu said that the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying that what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.

“We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.

“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.

“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities, ” he said.

The former governor of Lagos State said that the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.

“We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.

“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.

“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes,” he said.

Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.

“The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria. Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.

“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security,” he said.

Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.

“The future is uncertain until we enter it. Feb. 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.

“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.

“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.

“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secure future.

“This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.

“In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.

“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.

“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.

“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.“

(NAN)

Obasanjo, greatest election rigger in Nigeria – Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Saturday described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the greatest election rigger in Nigeria.

This came just as the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, said unlike the PDP, the APC had never used the federal might to rig elections in the country.

Speaking at the APC presidential mega rally which held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, Tinubu said Obasanjo should be relegated to the dustbin.

He drew his allusion from a reported statement accredited to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who stated in 2007 that the election that brought him into power was flawed. The 2007 election was conducted during the administration of ex-President Obasanjo.

A mammoth crowd of party supporters waited for over six hours under the sun for the presidential candidate of the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari, and his entourage.

Dignitaries at the rally were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, regional vice chairmen across the country, host Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, governors of Ogun (Ibikunle Amosun), Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi), Ondo (Rotimi Akeredolu), Edo (Godwin Obaseki), Osun (Adegboyega Oyetola), Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi) and Kebbi states (Abubakar Bagudu )

Others include the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, his colleague in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, pioneer National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, and a host of other

Tinubu said during the administration of Obasanjo and Atiku, major companies relocated from the country, adding that the PDP’s move to return to power is to continue the sale of the country from where they stopped.

He urged the electorate to guide their Permanent Voter Cards jealously and troop out en masse to vote for the APC candidates across the board in the February 16 and March 2 elections.

Tinubu said, “Who sent Michelin, Dunlop, Siemens packing out of the country, it was the PDP government. They want to come back to take our money to Europe and America. For the foreign observers, you are truly welcome, observe what you want to observe, write your report in peace and go home, this is our democracy. America is still questioning its own democracy.

“In 2007, the late President Yar’Adua said the election that brought him as president in this country was flawed and he promised to reform it. Who conducted that election? Obasanjo is the greatest election rigger in this country, let him be put in the dustbin.”

Prior to Buhari’s arrival, Fashola listed the ongoing construction of road projects such as the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla Power Plant, among others in Lagos and other parts of the country as the achievements of the present administration.

Tinubu writes Obasanjo, says ‘You’re an election rigger without peer’

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused former president Olusegun Obasanjo of being responsible for the flaws in Nigeria’s political economy since 1999.

In his state of the nation address tagged ‘Points for Concern and Action’, Obasanjo had expressed concern over the impartiality and competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a credible election.

Obasanjo, who was Nigeria’s president from 1999 to 2007, had also accused President Muhammadu Buhari of returning the country to the Sani Abacha days.

Reacting to the criticisms, Tinubu described the former president as an “election rigger without peer” in a letter titled ‘Chief Obasanjo – At war against his own deeds’.

The APC chieftain said the former president is shameless and has a wicked sense of humour.

“Former President Obasanjo is many things to many people; but he is all things unto himself. His recent contribution to our political discourse wherein he alleges plots to steer the coming elections shows he benefits from an exceedingly faulty memory, is purely shameless or has a most wicked sense of humor. Perhaps all three are facets of his makeup and were equally on display in his latest prosaic display.” the letter read in part.

“The crux of his long tirade was the allegation that INEC is poised to cook the election results. Chief Obasanjo should not get his dander up and waste good ink for nothing. This election will be a free and open exercise of the people’s right to choose their leaders. Obasanjo makes fiery allegations against this right but offers no corroborating evidence; he presents only reams of words. This is because Obasanjo is projecting onto the APC the misconduct he would wrought if still in power. Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And this difference has meant the better for Nigeria.

“Moreover, Chief Obasanjo should be the last to complain about election rigging. His administration was an unalloyed miscarriage of justice and of the best aspirations of the Nigerian people. We all know he was not elected in 1999. He was handed Nigeria on a silver platter; perhaps because Nigeria was so easily given that he went about treating the nation as if it was a less than precious thing; he thought it was a cheap give-away not a privilege to govern this nation.

“This man should have positioned himself to be the father of the nation. All the goodwill that could be granted a political figure was bestowed on him. The global economy was such that it fueled our growth. Everyone wanted Nigeria to succeed after emerging from years of noxious military rule. Despite the flawed exercise that rendered him president, we all bit our tongues in hope that he would say and do the right things that would move Nigeria forward.

“Instead of being a unifying figure as Commander-in-chief, he lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver. There was no table which he neared that he did not upset and overturn. There was no one who came into his company for any period of time with whom he did not fall out if he expresses a thought contrary to one of his.

“Given the vast margin between the good he could have achieved and the nebulous feats that comprise his true record, Chief Obasanjo is the person most responsible for the flaws in the Nigerian political economy since 1999. His ego is as expansive as the firmament but his good deeds would fit into a modest sachet with ample room to spare.

“The worst of Obasanjo’s record, I have yet to describe. When it comes to elections, he has been a rigger without peer. There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part. Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant. For Obasanjo to lament over electoral malpractice is tantamount to the ocean complaining that a few raindrops are causing it to get wet.”

‘You are an expired leader’ — Tinubu blasts Obasanjo

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to keep quiet and retire to his farm in Ota, Ogun state.

Tinubu said this at the presidential rally which held in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital,on Monday.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters that thronged Ramat Square, the location of the rally, Tinubu described Obasanjo as an “expired leader” that is not to be trusted.

He was reacting to a recent comment by the former president that the Buhari-led administration was planning to rig the general election.

“You can hear the other expired leaders like Obasanjo, ranting and lying. Don’t believe him, don’t trust him. He is expired,” he said.

“With the sign of senility experienced by our dear brother, Uncle Obasanjo, I think Ota should be enough a retirement place to keep quiet.”

This is not the first time the former Lagos state governor would hit Obasanjo for attacking Buhari.

Early in 2018, when Obasanjo wrote a letter advising Buhari not to contest for reelection, Tinubu had described the letter as “bad belle”, an informal, Nigerian slang that suggests one hates or has bad wishes for another person.

“I remember my grandmother used to send me to a letter writer in the post office of those days, so somebody is writing letters these days, a letter of politics, as if they’ve never been there before. Bad belle letters,” he had said.

CUPP mocks Buhari for ‘outsourcing’ presidential campaign to Tinubu

The Coalition of United Political Parties has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to outsource his campaign to the All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu, if he is fit for the nation’s top job.

The CUPP also accused the APC of plotting to rig the 2019 elections and plunge the nation into avoidable crisis.

Addressing journalists at a news conference in Abuja on Friday, CUPP chairman, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, said Buhari would go down in history as the first President to hire a proxy in a presidential contest.

The CUPP, which consisted of over 46 political parties, said Buhari must debate against its presidential candidate and account for his stewardship to Nigerians.

Oyinlola said, “President Buhari has, indeed, said Senator Bola Tinubu would do the campaigns on his behalf. We hope he was misquoted. Otherwise, Nigerians should simply ask him to step back from the contest and let his party put Tinubu forward as its candidate.

“Buhari would go down as the first candidate in history to hire a proxy in a presidential contest. He is the one contesting, he should not be afraid to be the one to interface directly with Nigerians.”

Oyinlola added, “We urge Nigerians to insist that President Buhari must show that he is fit and able for the nation’s top job by leading his own campaign and by being at the presidential candidates’ debate.”

The CUPP chairman stated that the refusal of the President to sign the Electoral Act Amendment bill into law was part of plans to manipulate the polls.

He pointed out that the amendments were made in order to have better legal frameworks for delivery of free and fair elections, in accordance with Article 6 of the ECOWAS Protocol which states that “The preparation and conduct of elections and the announcement of results shall be done in a transparent manner.”

Quoting Article 2(1) of the ECOWAS Protocol, the former military administrator argued that the the amendments to electoral laws could be done “but such amendments must be with the consent of a majority of political actors.

“We, therefore, see the President’s decision not to sign the bill as a direct, open threat to the integrity of the elections and it is not funny.

“We call on him, therefore, to have a rethink and sign the bill into law without any further delay.”

Buhari says Tinubu will be fully in charge of reelection campaign

President Muhammadu Buhari says Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will be in charge of his reelection campaign.

Buhari said this on Monday while launching the APC presidential campaign council at the Abuja International Conference Center.

The president said he will actively participate in the campaign but will also focus on the business of governance during the period.

“Even though we have only 40 days, this campaign is going to tax us all because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country,” he said.

“But I must also add that, though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.

“That is to say, the operational buck of this campaign stops at his table, and I, therefore, urge all of us in the leadership of this campaign, in the field operations on the campaign trail and in the secretariat to consult with Asiwaju whenever guidance is needed.

“It is on this note, and in the name of God, that I now have the pleasure of inaugurating the APC presidential campaign council 2019.”

The president implored the leadership of the party to work together to ensure a successful campaign.

“Let us engage our citizens on issues and ask for reflection on the comparative difference between 2015 and 2019 on security, economy and corruption and abuse by those entrusted with leadership in Nigeria,” he said.

“As we embark on the campaign to secure mandate for the next level, I want to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of all stakeholders who have endeavored to keep our party united, and our governance successful.”

While appealing to all members to be guided by the enduring vision behind the formation of the party, the president urged them to always “keep their eyes on the ball, which is the success of our party at the polls”.

He added: “I wish to appeal to all members to be guided by the enduring vision behind the formation and sustenance of our party, which is anchored, on sacrifice and imperative to salvage and stabilize our great and promising nation.

“I appeal to all our members, and especially those who are in the campaign council, to unite and cooperate and ensure a smooth operation.

“Needless to add, directorates could co-opt on full or part-time basic persons who could add value to our campaign and help us to attain success.”

Afenifere accuses Tinubu of peddling ‘fake’ news, denies endorsing Buhari

The pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has denied endorsing President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group also accused All Progressives Congress chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of being behind the “fake” endorsement of Buhari.

A newspaper had reported on Friday that some Afenifere chieftains, led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi, endorsed Buhari at a gathering in Ibadan on Thursday.

Others who attended the gathering include Lagos APC chieftain, Prince Tajudeen Olusi; a former Deputy Governor to Tinubu, Prince Biodun Ogunleye; APC chieftain, Dr. Abayomi Fini and a former Governor of the old Oyo State, Omololu Olunloyo.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, however, the spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said it was “unfortunate” that Tinubu, who had discredited Afenifere, could organise such a charade.

He said most of the people at the gathering where Buhari was endorsed were strangers to the group.

Odumakin said the “renegade” group was only taking advantage of Senator Fasanmi who was advanced in age.

The Afenifere, Odumakin said, “That is a fake Afenifere group powered by Bola Ahmed Tinubu. If you look at the names of the people at that particular group, the only person that was once with us is Senator Fasanmi and we believe they are just using him.

The masquerade behind this entire show is Bola Tinubu, who has plenty of money. Why is he hiding under Afenifere? Haven’t he and his people been disparaging Afenifere? Why has Afenifere suddenly become attractive to them?

“When Afenifere was fighting for the rights of Yoruba people attacked by herdsmen in Ile-Ife and in Akure, where was Bola Tinubu? Suddenly, he remembers Afenifere because elections are here.

“Let Tinubu come and meet us directly. Why is he hiding and using our name?”

Odumakin said Afenifere had said many times that it would only be supporting a candidate who supports restructuring, especially true federalism.

He said the endorsement would be announced after a meeting with other socio-cultural groups such as Ohanaeze NdIgbo and the Northern Elders Forum.

The Afenifere spokesman said, “We are for restructuring. And when it is time to endorse a candidate, it will be a joint decision with Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Ohanaeze, Middle Belt Forum and the Northern Elders Forum.”