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Tinubu: Private sector should drive economy; speaks on power, insecurity, electoral violence, his identity

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  • Delegates aides to speak at Chatham House conference

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Monday was a guest at the Chatham House, London, where he highlighted his plans for Nigeria if elected president in 2023.

He also spoke about his true age, identity, electoral violence, diaspora voting just as he delegated some members on his entourage to respond to some questions posed to him by the audience at the forum.

His lecture was titled: “Nigeria’s 2023 election: Security, economy and foreign policy imperatives.”

The former Lagos State governor expressed his commitment to the sanctity of the ballot box, saying the next crop of leaders should evolve from free, fair, democratic and transparent elections.

He said, “I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation. Having spent most of my career in the political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and any attempts to extinguish the legitimate choice of voters. I will continue to do so.

“I urge all my fellow contestants in this election to do the same. Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation. And let this election be determined by voters making their choice freely rather than the domineering intimidation of the troublesome few.”

Insecurity

Tinubu, who lamented that insecurity had persisted despite the progress made by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, said if elected, he would tackle the crisis so that Nigeria could also effectively provide security support for its neighbouring nations.

He said, “The challenges which have manifested themselves with regard to our national and regional development and security trajectories are very well-known to all of us here: radical extremist violence, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, trafficking in weapons, trafficking in drugs, climate change and resource-driven conflicts etc.

“Mostly manifesting initially as national problems, these challenges evolved over time into trans-border and multinational challenges.

“We see the thousands of people who have been internally displaced at home or forced into refugee camps abroad. With farming activities disrupted, we have seen shortages of basic food items and food price inflation that are further undermining human security.

“To respond meaningfully to the discontents and to redress the many dislocations arising from them, we must begin by reminding ourselves of that old dictum: Foreign policy is but a continuation of domestic policy.

“As a first step, we must recalibrate domestic policy in order to revamp the foundation on which our quest to pursue human security rests.”

Power outage

Tinubu identified regular electricity as the key to economic revitalisation and industrial growth, promising to improve the framework already in place for boosting energy generation and distribution.

He said, “Fixing the perennial riddle of energy supply is another priority. There is no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambitions for itself can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.

“It is time to recognise that the centralised approach to energy policy and infrastructure is not an optimal arrangement and is unlikely to improve by mere tinkering around the sides.

“The Federal Government as regulator and operator, and price fixer is a broken model and one that we fully intend to fix if elected.

“We have privatised power distribution in Nigeria and generation to a certain degree. What we need to do, going forward, is to improve the enabling environment and further reform the legal and regulatory framework to attract more private investments in the sector as we have experienced in the telecom industry.”

He also spoke on his plan to reposition agriculture as a strong tool for economic development, saying, “The present administration has invested heavily in agriculture, providing loans and expanding the country’s total acreage of cultivated land.

“We will build on this, but our focus will be on using technology and expertise to accelerate growth and development by providing the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve the commodity transformations in the agriculture value chain.”

He added, “Roads, rail, access to ports, and storage infrastructure are what we require to radically transform the agriculture sector and increase its value to the nation.

“Providing these will be the areas of our focus so that the full potential of our agro-economy can be achieved, and we can reap the benefits in jobs, improved economic opportunities and increased prosperity.”

Private sector-driven economy

Tinubu promised to engage the private sector to drive economic development.

He said, “My belief that the private sector is the fulcrum of economic progress is evident and documented.

“However, fundamental flaws with the basic design of our national economy imperil the private sector from playing the role it ought to and adding the value it is capable of.

“In this instance, the government must act as a catalyst. We shall do this on all fronts. We will address the conflict between monetary and fiscal policies.

“Budgeting will be based on the projected spending levels needed to push real annual growth rate above seven per cent while reducing the unemployment rate so that we can double the economy in ten years.”

On his age and identity, Tinubu said his birthday was March 29, 1952, adding that his records are with his alma mater, Chicago State University, United States, and Mobil Oil, where he worked as treasurer.

He said, “At the time of birth, I was born march 29, 1952 in the family record.

“I have good exposure in life, my record is consistent. For the school and university I attended, the records are there. The transcript is also there.

“I’m not claiming another father. I am Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want DNA, they can as well request that. Chicago State University where I graduated has attested to that (education).

“I’ve received my original replacement certificate from them. Deloitte trained me, and Mobil Oil has also attested to my record. I got to the pinnacle of my career. Who among them can brag about that?

“You want to wrestle with the pig, you need to live with dirt. I got into politics knowing that it is muddy water, one has to live with the dirt.

“I see myself as a marketable individual. They want to use me to make money, and I say no.”

Tinubu, who said that Nigerians in the Diaspora should be entitled to vote, however noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to give an assurance that the electronic transmission of election results is reliable.

During question and answer session, he asked Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, and his former commissioners in Lagos, Dele Alake and Wale Edu, to respond to questions that fell within their areas of core competence.

El-Rufai, who answered questions on security, stated that banditry, terrorism, separatism, and oil theft require a new approach including increasing the number of security operatives.

“The numbers must change and the Bola Tinubu administration already has a blueprint which is embedded in our action plan to address this.

“We will scale up the numbers of the armed forces. We’ll ramp up not only the numbers but the training and the equipment,” the Kaduna governor said.

Alake answered the question of how Tinubu plans to lift Nigerians out of poverty if elected and also curb oil theft in six months. “The key to his policy for increasing economic growth is to enable the private sector to make the investment that will increase productivity, grow the economy, create jobs, and reduce poverty,” he said.

Gbajabiamila responded to the question on the strategies of Tinubu on defence; the APC national women’s leader answered the question on healthcare delivery, and how to convert brain drain into a gain for the country, amongst others.

Tinubu was accompanied to the London’s forum by key party stalwarts such as Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy Dele Alake, one-time Lagos State Commissioner for Finance Wale Edun and National Women Leader Dr. Beta Edu shed light on Tinubu’s manifesto, ‘Renewed Hope for 2023,’ particularly those aspects related to their areas of competence.

Others are Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Abubakar Badaru, (Jigawa) and David Umahi (Ebonyi); former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, ex-Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole; Deputy National Women Leader Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim, former Lagos State Deputy Governor Chief Femi Pedro, Senator Tokunbo Abiru, Senator Fatai Buhari and Senator Adeola Olamilekan.

Also on his entourage are Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, former Ogun State Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, Hadiza Bala-Usman and Alhaji Mutiu Are.

 

 

 

 

Politics

Face-off between Niger Gov, Senator disrupts pro-Tinubu rally in Borgu

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Dozens of security operatives on Tuesday disrupted a campaign rally organised for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.

The “Grand Lockdown Rally” billed to hold at the New Bussa Township stadium in Borgu, is organised by Project 774, a political group under the leadership of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North).

Senator Abdullahi, who is the Deputy Whip of the Senate, had invited the Niger state Working Committee of the APC to the campaign rally.

The invitation letter signed by his Special Assistant (operations), Hon. Mohammed Garba Danladi, was addressed to the state Party Chairman, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro.

“I am directed to invite you and your exco to the Grand Lockdown Rally in honour of Jagaban Borgu and Kashim Shettima, our party Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Hon. Mohammed Bago, with Comrade Yakubu Garba as Gubernatorial and Deputy Governorship Candidates for Niger state in the 2023 General Elections.

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“In view of the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the chances of our party in the forthcoming elections, we wish to solicit and count on your unflinching support towards the success of the rally,” the letter read.

But the party’s state executive disassociated itself from the rally, asking all party faithful not to attend.

A statement by the state publicity secretary, Mallam Musa Dan Sarkindaji, said the planned rally contravene the unified campaign structure as designed by the party.

The party instead urged its executives, stakeholders, and supporters to attend the grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday in Bida, the headquarters of the Bida local government.

When our correspondent visited the New Bussa township stadium, dozens of personnel from the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Federal Road Safety Corps blocked the entrance, preventing APC supporters from accessing the campaign venue.

When approached, some security agents, who preferred not to be named because they were not authorised to speak, said they were mobilized to the venue to prevent access on “directive from the above.”

The Police spokesman in Niger, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said security operatives were mobilised to the campaign venue to prevent a breakdown of law and order having got intel of a likely breach of security.

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In a terse statement, Abiodun said, “The Police had to take over the venue of the planned rally as a proactive measure due to intelligence received of likely breach of security at the venue.

“Hence, we have to do the needful to avert any possible attack or hijack by suspected miscreants to cause mayhem and breach of peace in the community.

“The Command will not fold its alms and allow an act of political violence, avoidable loss of life, destruction of properties, and lawlessness.”

The dissociation of the APC state working Committee from the rally laid bare the cold war between Governor Bello, who is in control of the party’s structure in the state Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the organiser of the rally.

The senator, who currently occupies the Niger North senatorial seat, contested the APC ticket to retain the seat despite pressure to step down for the governor, a development that pitched him against the state executive.

The governor won the primary and since then, both of them have not been in good terms.

The poster of the governor, who is the APC senatorial candidate, is conspicuously missing at the venue of the planned campaign organized by the senator.

Daily Trust

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We’re good to go, says INEC, publishes notice of poll

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday published the Notice of Polls for the 2023 General Election.

INEC also did a self-audit of its preparations for the polls and declared that it was good to go.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the declaration when he received in audience the President and Chief Executive Officer CEO of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES, Mr Anthony N. Banbury.

So far, the Commission has successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities

Section 44 of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) provides that the Notice of Polls must be published not later than 14 days before the election cause to be published, a notice specifying the date and hours fixed for the poll; the persons entitled to vote; and the location of the polling units.

“This meeting is holding today when we are implementing the 12th activity – the Publication of the Notice of Polls – meaning that we have so far successfully implemented 12 out of 14 activities on schedule.

“So, there are only two activities outstanding. The first one is the end of campaign by political parties, which by law is 24 hours before polling day, which is going to be on the 23rd of February for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the 10th of March for the States governorship and States Assembly, and then, the election day proper, which is on the 25th of February for the Presidential and National Assembly and on the 11th of March for the state elections,” he stated.

The INEC chairman added that the technological innovations for the elections had been tested and that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would again be tested this Saturday in a nationwide mock accreditation exercise.

He said, “The preparation has gone on very well. And then with the benefit of the new Electoral Act, we have more time to prepare than our predecessors had in the past.

“We are working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers to make sure that we get logistics right so that we deploy personnel and materials to locations early enough so that we can open the polling units, conclude the processes at the polling units and quickly declare the outcome of the elections, as decided by Nigerians swiftly. The earlier we conclude the processes, the speed with which we also declare winners and conclude the processes.”

 

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Gunmen attack Rivers SDP gov candidate Magnus Abe campaign train

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Gunmen suspected to be hired assassins on Monday evening attacked the campaign train of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe.

The gunmen, according to Leadership, carried out the attack at Akinima community in the Ahoada-West local government area of the state.

Abe and his team had earlier visited Ubeta and other communities in the area before heading for Akinima, the headquarters of the local government area, when they came under heavy gun attack.

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