I’m ready to lead Nigeria, Tinubu says at Chatham House
• ‘I don’t do live interviews because I’m marketable’ • Tinubu: Why I delegated el-Rufai, Ayade, others to answer questions
• Atiku Campaign mocks Tinubu’s performance • Why Tinubu does not attend debates — NNPP
• Obi says he will remove sharing formula, replace it with productivity at Northeast forum
The former governor of Lagos State spoke, yesterday, at the Chatham House, London, in a lecture titled: ‘Nigeria’s 2023 elections: In conversation with Tinubu.’
As it was with the then APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015, Tinubu was the star attraction as the vicinity of Chatham House witnessed unusual foot traffic.
Speaking for about half an hour on his readiness and agenda for Nigeria at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, aka Chatham House, he said the election is specifically significant for Nigeria, as it will be holding almost 24 years after the current democratic dispensation began in May 1999.
He praised his party, noting that the APC government has distinguished itself in managing credible elections.
The APC candidate expressed confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and was of the view that “technology will help INEC deliver a credible election.”
Jagaban, as he is fondly called, vowed to give loans to students in various institutions, if elected president, noting that he will also reform the Almajiri system in the North.
The APC presidential candidate equally promised to build more schools and employ/train teachers in the country.
On health, Tinubu said he would convert brain drain to brain gain. He noted that his administration would manufacture drugs and stop importation of drugs in Nigeria.
While clarifying his age/identity imbroglio, Tinubu said he was born on March 29, 1952. He noted that his records are there for people to see.
“I was born March 29, 1952, that’s my family record. The record is there. The transcript is there. I’m not claiming another father. I’m a Tinubu proper. If they require a DNA, they should speak. There is one presidential candidate whose national identity is questionable, but I did not go into that. Chicago has attested that I graduated from the school. The institution recently sent me another certificate. Mobil Oil has attested that I worked with them and left as Treasurer. Make sure you are upright,” he said.
During the interaction, Tinubu explained why he doesn’t do one-on-one interviews with Nigerians. In his words, “I see myself as a marketable individual. They want to use me to make money and I said no.”
Reactions had trailed the ruling party’s candidate over his refusal to grant live interviews or attend presidential debates unlike his opponents.
In his reaction, spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Festus Keyamo, said Tinubu was not shying away from live interviews, adding, “campaigns have not started. The nation will hear from him again and again and again.”
On his part, deputy director, public affairs of the PCC, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said live interview is the strategy of Tinubu’s opponents and the strategy could not be foisted or forced on Tinubu.
Explaining why he delegated some members of the party to respond to questions posed to him after his presentation, Tinubu said he adopted the delegation method “to show team-ship”.
At the lecture, Tinubu after his opening remarks, assigned Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai to speak on how his (Tinubu-led) government would address insecurity and asked the Director of Strategic Communication of the PCC, Dele Aleke, to respond to the question on oil theft.
Tinubu also delegated a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos, Wale Edun, to respond to a question on how he (Tinubu) would boost the economy if elected.
Others, including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; former Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi; APC National Women’s Leader, Dr Beta Edu; also answered questions.
Tinubu said: “Let me demonstrate here one of those philosophies and doctrines that I believe firmly in, it is team-ship, unbreakable team. To demonstrate that, I’ll assign it to my team.”
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 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,” he said.
Alake, on his part, answered the question on how Tinubu plans to lift Nigerians out of poverty 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.
Also, Gbajabiamila responded to the question on the strategies of Tinubu on defence. Edu answered the question on healthcare delivery and how to convert brain drain into brain gain for the country among others.
Others present include APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu; his predecessor, Adams Oshiomole; National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore; Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among many others.
But there was drama outside the venue before the event took off at 1:00p.m. Tinubu’s supporters had positioned themselves around Chatham House, chanting “On your mandate we shall stand.”
But an opposition group, led by a social media activist, Reno Omokri, emerged from a side park and started chanting “Tinubu, Ole (thief), Tinubu, Ole.”
Meanwhile, the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation has said yesterday’s performance of Tinubu at the Chatham House was pathetic and “a display of vacuity.”
It noted that “Nigerians, including supporters of Tinubu, were thoroughly embarrassed to watch APC presidential candidate, who earlier showboated with a scripted speech, went blank on the world stage in tragic display of emptiness and inability to personally address questions that were put to him on economy, security and other challenges facing our nation.”
Spokesperson to the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, said the Atiku-Okowa Campaign “finds it very appalling that a candidate aspiring to be the president of a nation as complex as Nigeria exhibited an embarrassing inability to coordinate his own thought process to the extent that he could not personally think through issues and address them, but had to direct questions put to him, including those on his health and policies to others to answer.
“Tinubu has confirmed to Nigerians and the world that he has no business contesting the 2023 presidential election; that he is grossly incompetent, completely unprepared for leadership and intends to transfer the onerous task of leading our nation to proxies and a cabal that did not seek votes from Nigerians,” the statement added.
Ologbondiyan said “Nigerians cannot afford to have a President who cannot take responsibility to lead but intends to shift burden to others, apparently to find scapegoats to blame for his inevitable failures.”
ALSO, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has taken a swipe at Tinubu for refusing to honour invitations on debate. NNPP said it was an indication that he has nothing to tell Nigerians or he does not have the power to rule the country.
Addressing journalists on Monday in Abuja, NNPP National Chairman, Prof. Rufai Alkali, said Tinubu should appear for Nigerians to hear him and his blueprint for the country.
According to him, the media should interrogate all the presidential candidates “as we inch closer to the 2023 presidential election.
“NNPP would continue to engage patriotic individuals and organisations that share our vision and mission to rescue Nigeria and save democracy in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our party will not in anyway be coerced or blackmailed to fulfill somebody’s inordinate ambition to rule Nigeria by all means.”
The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, yesterday, promised to remove the sharing formula, which had been the bane of Nigeria’s progress and replace it with productivity for the sake of the future generation of Nigeria.
He also promised to bequeath to the north an educational system whereby the pupils who attend Koranic school will also be taught skills that can enable them to be self-reliant.
Obi spoke at a Northeast stakeholders interactive session between LP and Northeastern Stakeholders with the theme Good Governance: Gateway to secure our people, which held at Merit House, Maitama, Abuja.
“Everybody is sharing money, I want to remove the sharing formula and replace it with production formula. It can work, I want to give the children a future.
“For me it is about the youth, the children and women. I want to give the 20 million out of school children who are domiciled in the North education. It is a very simple thing, they are intelligent children already learning the Koran. We will meet them where they are doing the Koranic education and give them skill.”
Obi told the North East stakeholders not to allow the country to go down.
“I am not running as somebody from the far east, don’t vote for me for that, I am not looking for sympathy. I am running because I am qualified, competent and I am most competent.
“Of all the four of us they said are the front runners, check our background, I am a successful businessman. I have experience of what it takes to run an economy and public life.
“I have run in the public and corporate world. I have the idea and among them I am the youngest. So, it is a job that requires physical and mental energy. So I am begging you for the sake of our children we must vote wisely, at least the character we can trust.
“It should be based on competence, capacity and capability to do the work, it should be based on commitment. I want Nigerians to hold me responsible. I want to be the man who started building a new Nigeria.”