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General News of Wednesday, 18 January 2023


Atiku plans sale of nation’s assets to allies - Tinubu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 2023 Presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 2023 Presidential candidate

All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday explained why Nigerians should not vote for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in next month’s election.

He said Atiku will sell all government properties to his allies and reverse the trend of progress.

Tinubu, who spoke at a rally in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, also urged the electorate to sustain their political freedom by rejecting PDP flagbearers at the polls.

Also, at the Southeast APC Women rally in Owerri, capital of Imo State, Governor Hope Uzodimma and Tinubu’s wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, rallied women’s support for the ruling party.

Chiding Atiku for unfolding plans to sell government property if elected, Tinubu said the country cannot make progress under the PDP candidate.

He said: “The PDP candidate in the race is well known for selling everything that has the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s name on it.

“If it is part of the public treasure or national patrimony, he is looking to pawn it to one of his shady partners.

“He wants to sell off your chance at a decent job, good schools, a nice home and a happy life.

“His aim is to sell and turn our public assets into his private profit. He wants you to go hungry so that he can feast off the abundance of the land.”

Urging the people of Kwara to vote for APC, Tinubu said their votes for the party will cement their freedom from exploitation, which they achieved four years ago.

Tinubu and his entourage virtually shut down Ilorin as a huge crowd of party faithful and supporters thronged the Metropolitan Square, the venue of the rally, from sunrise.

It was a carnival-like rally. Security agencies struggled to clear the human traffic that heralded the arrival of the campaign train. Many party enthusiasts adorned the typical ‘Emilokan’ cap.

The ancient city was agog with festivities as the surging crowd spilt across the streets, many of them in branded t-shirts, waving the brooms, singing and dancing.

It took over two hours for the campaign train to arrive at the square from the Ilorin Airport.

The standard bearer, who was accompanied by his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Campaign Director-General Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, and Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari, was received by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Kwara Central senatorial candidate, Alhaji Salihu Mustapha, Turaki of Ilorin.

Also at the rally were former House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole; Minister of Youths and Sports Sunday Dare; Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Senators Lola Ashiru and Sadiq Umar; House of Representatives members Tunji Raheem Olawuyi (Ajuloopin) and Mohammed Omar Bio.

Others were Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), Mallam Isa Lanre Onilu, Hajia Faridah Dankaka, Yahya Seriki, and Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin; House of Assembly members; commissioners, and Kwara APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi.

The rest were Senators Ibrahim Oloriegbe and Godswill Akpabio; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and Labour Leader Isa Aremu.

Exuding confidence, Tinubu waved the broom and danced to the different music tunes by ace fuji musician, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, and other itinerant drummers.

Accompanied by a motorcade that stretched a few kilometres, the double-decker Marco Polo bus conveying Tinubu and top stalwarts intermittently got locked in suffocating human traffic formed by thousands of supporters and admirers who lined the streets.

Tinubu and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, in his palace.

The monarch, who acknowledged the sterling qualities of Tinubu and Abdulrazaq, described them as great and humble achievers.

He also prayed for the success of the presidential candidate at the poll.

Thanking the people for their commitment, Tinubu said they should continue to enjoy the freedom and progress that the AbdulRasaq Administration has brought to Kwara.

“Are you going to be committed to the freedom that you have been enjoying under Governor Abdulrazaq? Are you going to cement that freedom? Do you have your PVCs?” he asked the crowd, who answered with a thunderous “Yes.”

Noting their commitment to the governor’s re-election bid, Tinubu said: “On February 25, we will need you to come out. You don’t vote for anybody else; you vote for me, you vote for the APC. Vote APC across all levels – presidential, National Assembly, governorship and state House of Assembly elections.”

In his prepared speech, the presidential candidate said Nigerians should not be deceived into voting for the PDP in next month’s election, pointing out that a vote for PDP would be an error that will be hard to correct.

He said it was evident that Atiku is in the race to enrich himself and his friends.

He said reminiscent of the past, if given the opportunity again, Atiku would only sell Nigeria to his friends in the name of privatisation.

Tinubu hailed the decision of the Kwara people to elect an APC government in 2019, saying: “You earned a favourable and great place in the history of our progressive party and of the nation when you voted for the APC to chase the PDP out of this beautiful and historic town. You kicked them out and now they want to come back.

“Do not let them back in. They only want to devour what they could not take the first time. If you give them the chance, they will strip Kwara and Nigeria bare to the bone.”

Tinubu also spoke on the recent revelation by one of Atiku’s former aides, Michael Achimugu, where the former vice president allegedly admitted to setting up Special Purpose Vehicle companies to siphon the country’s funds.

He said: “Before today, we used to call him Mr. Privatize. But today, we must give him a new name. One that comes from his own mouth.

“He is now Mr. SPV. From his own mouth, we have heard him admit that he and his old boss conspired to rob the Nigerian treasury of millions upon millions of dollars.

“They did this by using a fancy business device called an SPV, Special Purpose Vehicle, to hide the money.

“By his antics, Atiku has changed the meaning of SPV. It is no longer a business unit. With him, it is a money-eating monster. From henceforth, Atiku shall be known as MR. SPV. S for Stealing, P for Plunder and V for Vicious.

“For this is a vicious assault on the public funds, public welfare and on the public conscience.

“How can he so brazenly steal and plunder, yet ask you to return him to the scene of the crime?

“He wants to return to the crime scene, not to repent, but to repeat the stealing, plundering and viciousness.

“You must stop him before he stops your dreams and aspirations for a better Nigeria.”

Tinubu said the ruling party, judging by eight years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, has shown that it meant well for the country.

Stressing that he will continue to chart the way for progress, he said: “The APC has a much better way for you. We have good and positive plans for this country.

“If you give us the mandate with your vote, we will carry Kwara and the rest of the country to a more prosperous and secure future.”

The presidential candidate promised to take advantage of the abundant agricultural resources in Kwara to transform the state, create jobs and promote its welfare.

He said: “We will return farming to its glorious past of profitability. Farmers will be paid the full value of their toil and their produce.

“This will be achieved through Commodity Exchange boards, setting a minimum price for strategic agricultural produce.

“We shall create agricultural hubs throughout Nigeria. These hubs will increase land under cultivation.

“They will also wed small, medium and large farms so that small farms will benefit from the expertise and equipment of the larger ones.

“We shall continue the progress made by the present administration by enhancing agricultural productivity and agro-allied industry.

“We will boost our production so that we turn our country of importers into one of the exporters. We have the experience and the will to make it happen.”

On education, Tinubu said: “We will prioritise education as a tool for empowerment. It is not just about producing more and more graduates.

“We will improve the quality of our education to make our youths more productive and will reform education such that our able and energetic young people are given the skills and knowledge needed to fill the jobs and compete in the economy of the future.”

Tinubu also promised to tackle insecurity, saying: “We will secure our nation and our borders through recruiting and deploying more security personnel, improving the communications, equipment and training of our personnel as well as using top-shelf technology to improve ground and aerial surveillance.

“Crime, kidnapping and terror networks want to put a roadblock in the way of your destiny and future.

“But we shall take up our progressive broom and sweep away their evil doings so that we can move forward to our nation’s best destiny.”

Abdulrasaq, who was described by Tinubu as an honest and hardworking governor, thanked the people for the massive turnout.

He urged them not to allow “those who stole your future, who could not pay your salaries and pensions to return to power.”

Accompanied by his wife, Ambassador Olufolake AbdulRazaq, the governor said: “This huge crowd is a testament to our standing with the people of Kwara State.

“It shows that we have won this election. Our presidential candidate has seen what we have done in this state.

“Kwara is APC. Kwara indeed is one of the strongholds of the APC. Our members are happy. The state is happy. They have seen what we have done.

“We met a failed state in several sectors, and we have been able to tackle it in education, healthcare, and other sectors. All the indices have gone up in the right sense,” he said.

“You need to continue to support this party at all levels. President Muhammadu Buhari has done well. We need to build on his success.

“No person could have done what he has done, despite the economic downturn, Covid-19 pandemic, and global economic crisis.

“We must sustain this growth consistently. That will be continued by our incoming team, led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Party faithful, I urge you to support and vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The progress we have in this state will be continued with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We thank him for the support he gave us in 2019. He gave us full support in throwing out the termites in this state.”

The governor also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, who is away in Mauritania.

He said voters should re-elect him so that the party of dubious characters will not to come back into this state.

Abdulrazaq said: “Don’t allow people who stole the UBEC funds to come back to this state. They could not even pay salaries. What are they coming to do?

“Just last month, we paid N3.5 billion for pensions and gratuities of 2009 and 2010.

“When we came in, there were no water works working in this state. We have 90 waterworks in this state right from the time of Sir Ahmadu Bello.

“They crashed everything. In fact, they were not paying counterpart funds in the health sector. Nothing.”

Adamu said Kwara is a strong APC state, adding: “Kwarans, you have really surprised me. I have seen more than what I expected, and everyone has seen what Kwara has done today.

“You have said it loud and clear that you are better together. We pray and hope that this is translated to a real vote on the 25th of February.”

Lalong said: “Asiwaju Tinubu has done good. It is his turn. It is your turn. It is our turn. If you chop alone, you will die alone. He did not chop alone. It is his turn. That is why ‘emilokan’ is very important.

“I am standing in for our president who is the chairman of the campaign council. The President knew that this crowd will be here.

“He went for an assignment. There is no doubt we have seen it. We expect that this

same crowd will be more than this after 25th of February.”

Fagbemi said: “We in Kwara are Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu/Shettima-compliant. We stand with APC and behind our exceptional governor.

“You have seen hope written on the faces of Kwarans. We want to assure the national chairman that by the special grace of God, we are delivering once again to APC.”

Nollywwod actors drum up support for Tinubu/Shettima

Popular Nollywood actors at the rally included Jide Kosoko, Adebayo Salami alias Oga Bello, Yinka Quadri, Muka Ray Eyiwumi, Kikelomo Adeyemi and Zack Orji.

The Nollywood stars, who performed one after the other, urged the crowd to vote for Tinubu/Shettima.

Kosoko said: “Vote Tinubu/Shettima and vote for renewed hope. No going back.”

Salami said: “Tinubu is the answer to Nigeria’s woes.”

Quadri said: “Only Tinubu can do it. Let us go and cast our vote for him.”