By Victor Ayeni, Segun Adewole and Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, took a swipe at the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party, Peter Obi, whom they said lacked the antecedent and experience to lead the country.
The duo spoke while presenting his action plan before the business community and the organised private sector in Lagos on Tuesday.
The business community was fully represented by the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia; the Chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu; former Chief Executive of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; Group Chief Executive of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, and other business leaders representing sectoral groups such as agriculture, oil and gas, trade, manufacturing, creative sector, among others.
The town hall session was attended by the APC vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna); and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) as well as other APC leaders and chieftains.
Speaking at the meeting, the former governor of Lagos said if elected president in 2023, his administration will hit a double-figure gross domestic product.
According to a statement by the Tinubu Media Office, signed by Tunde Rahman, the presidential candidate said attaining the feat was possible having achieved similar economic success when he governed Lagos State.
He called for the support of the Lagos business community, stating that such was needed for a viable economy.
He said, “Nigeria stands at the threshold between indifference and greatness, prosperity and poverty, the future and the past. The door is ajar. Together, let us open it so that we may cross over to the better side and secure for this beloved nation its finer destiny.
“The productive and beneficial things we seek do not lie in the sole domain of one sector. They reside in the cooperation between the government and the private sector. I see no conflict between the business community and the government. Yet, with equal conviction, I believe the private sector and government should constantly be at war.
“But they wage this battle, not as enemies. They must stand as inseparable allies combating the mutual enemies of scarcity, underdevelopment, joblessness and the fear these bad things breed.
“The pragmatic problem solving and teamwork that improved Lagos, I want to bring to this nation. I ask your help as the task ahead is doable but also difficult.”
Also, Tinubu and Shettima took a swipe at the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party, Peter Obi, whom they said lacked the antecedent and experience to lead the country.
He said, “Democracy doesn’t mean that everything is going to be perfect but on the higher percentage, perfection is achieved at the right at which we work for the highest population of the country or the environment, local governments would continue to see what constitutionally can be done to strengthen the local governments.
“Then we will look at the qualifications and achievements of an individual during the processes, but don’t forget, we are in a multi-party democracy so we will have those mistakes once the wrong party gets in and you have one of the candidates who wants to be a president who is fond of saying ‘when you do the right thing.’ How to solve his problem is by when we do the right. What is the right thing? They fool you with foolish statistics and lies. Don’t get me into the mood of campaign.
In his remarks, Shettima said, “This man seated here is one of the most demonised Nigerians but take it from me, the true hallmark of leadership is not the ability to carry a bag of cement. We are not preparing for the Olympics, but an institution that relies on a field of ideas and tracks records and shows me, I dare to challenge you, show me among the people vying for the presidency of this country who has the experience, track record and of course, who has the intellect to catapult this nation to a higher pedestal.
“Leadership goes beyond glamourising poverty. We won’t glamourise poverty, we tackle poverty. I won’t tell you I have two pairs of shoes or I have a single wristwatch. Leadership goes beyond spewing dubious statistics or showcasing a mediocre performance as the governor of Anambra State. I respect Atiku Abubakar, but leadership goes beyond high-scale antics. A man who can’t unite his party, I wonder how he can unite a country.
We are talking about artificial intelligence or big data or nanotechnology, but the training that an elder statesman got from Kano School of Hygiene was that of wole wole. The ability to sell bottled water doesn’t make one an expert on the economy. My parting shot is that Atiku Abubakar is not Abraham Lincoln; he is Ralia Odinga and come May next year, we are going to permanently retire the political tourists to Dubai.”
Tinubu also noted that there is a need for the government to cooperate with the organised private sector to revive the industry sector and tackle other forms of underdevelopment.
He added, “There is a need to revive our industries, create minor and major industrial zones to make it grow from top to bottom, foster productive excellence in light manufacturing and digital economy.
“There is no industrialisation that is possible without a constant supply of power and power is the most important discovery of humanity in the last 1,000 years. If you have an answer contrary to that, show me. We have wind, water, and all sorts of energy sources that we can explore and you will discover that we need long-term funding.”
However, the Chief Spokesperson of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr Yunusa Tanko, expressed disappointment at the statements credited to both Tinubu and his running mate.
He said, “As far as the Labour Party is concerned, we cannot have a repetition of another eight years of an incapacitated president. We cannot afford to have somebody that will be going out of the country for a medical check-up every fortnight. It cannot be possible.
“We cannot afford to have someone full of lies and criminal records in power. Nigerians cannot afford to have the same Old Order again. They (APC) are just afraid that we have a capable, consistent, and hardworking individual on our side.”