‘EMI LO KAN’: How my training, experience, knowledge can rescue Nigeria – Tinubu
The kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent shall take it by force. That’s a saying in the Holy Bible and Tinubu’s grabbing of the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Party, APC, could be described as a forceful takeover.
Or, how else does one interrogate his landslide victory at the June 7/8 primaries of the party and not come to that conclusion? More so, in a field of over 10 aspirants?
Whereas his co-contestants went after delegates, Tinubu, who also goes by the alias of Alakanbi, and the thunderous title of Jagaban ‘Borgu, went after the aspirants themselves; meaning, once he got the aspirants to his corner, the delegates were harvested for him. Whichever way he did it, he did it. Some strategies. Some sagacity.
So, for Tinubu, having fought the first part of the battle of his life by taking the presidential ticket, he is bracing for the second part, which is the presidential election proper.
In this political season, you cannot write anything about Tinubu without mentioning Emi lo Kan, Eleyi or O lu’le…. Or, ‘recruit 50million youths’. Or the story of agbado, cassava and Garri? In fact, it will be a grave injustice and a disservice to Tinubu’s usual romance with theatrics not to mention those. Or, is it about the way he shovels up the flaps of his agbada in a slow-motion-like manner? He is a man of drama.
However, make no mistake, Tinubu is a serious man, a very serious man.
Yes, individuals are given to make slips while speaking. And erroneous attributions or statements not apt or correct in all materials particular are not the franchise of one presidential candidate, as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have equally fallen, as all mortals do, into the mire. So, they can all be forgiven.
But beyond these niceties and packaging, however, there are issues Tinubu must contend with. How does it appear when Tinubu says he will continue with and build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari? Or the choice of his running mate, who is also a Muslim like himself? Or his health?
Some answers are provided to some of these questions. At least, in 2019, he told President Buhari some uncomfortable truth about the state of the nation and the way to go. You can only counsel. On his same faith choice, he has been telling Nigerians of other faiths to trust him. It is his choice and whatever arises therefrom, the burden remains his.
To those who discuss his health, it is worth mentioning that one of the greatest American Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, was wheeled into the White House in 1932, after defeating the Republican incumbent President, Herbert Hoover, by a landslide electoral votes of 472 to 59. According to TIME, GREAT PEOPLE of the 20th CENTURY, FDR “suffered a chill that was misdiagnosed, then the horrifying paralysis of polio”, ensured that he never walked again unaided – with braces or with the aid of a wheelchair. He went on to lead America for an unprecedented four terms. But that was in 1932.
This is 2022/2023. The challenges of today are as humongous as those faced during the Great depression, which FDR pulled America and, indeed, the world through. Again, Nigeria is not America. Nigeria is a country that President Buhari has led for seven years that, against expectations, if truth be told, cannot be said to have fared much better in the areas of insecurity, economy, education, corruption and the like. Tinubu says he’s up to the task.
As usual, we have pieced together his views in recent times regarding what he stands for and what he plans to achieve across some issues, using content in the public domain (in his own words and his speeches) . The opportunity of a fuller interview with the candidate is being explored and would be published later. But we can hold him down to the following statements.
A message to youths
We are working hard for youths to change the dynamics, to change the story of Nigeria, to be bold enough to start new initiatives, to change the story of huge potential to reality, to imagine that we are one of the most brilliant and most committed individuals in this country. We are youths. I’m here not for me alone but for you, for tomorrow that you represent. You, youths have represented us well. We feel your anger when you are angry. I don’t blame you.
The promises of the past have failed to realise that you build a future from kindergarten to high school, to the university and all of that needs serious reforms. I disagree with excuses that we cannot help it. We can help it. We must develop the can-do attitude. Youths must change the story; the story of potential to reality. Banditry, tribalism, poverty has no tribal mark. We, as a nation, can feed ourselves by being creative, visionary and committed. We cannot continue the lamentation of the past.
Push, we must push. We must be ready. Youths are the reason why I’m contesting. I want to be president for the youths. Enough of excuses. Enough of bitterness. Enough of disunity. We are going to mix the energy of the youth and wisdom of the old to avoid a dangerous agitation, so that Nigeria is handled carefully. We can promote unity and common destiny and common patrimony in a better and more creative way. What we’ve done in Lagos can be brought to bear in Nigeria.
Perseverance, great understanding is a common bond flowing in our veins as Fulani and Yoruba. Once you create peace, you create investment friendliness and you create a destination for investment
Austerity and inflation
Let’s pay attention to the issue of austerity and inflation.
It is only the state that must constrain itself on a balanced budget. It is only the local government that must restrict itself and balance the budget.
Sovereignty is that of Nigeria and it is only the federal government that has that sovereign power and must use it for the benefit and development, quality of life of Nigerians. That’s why it is sovereign.
APC and President Buhari’s reign
President Muhamamdu Buhari has already laid a solid foundation in security, economy, and anti-corruption. We will build upon this for the salvation of our people.
We formed this party to give the people of this land the progressive good governance they deserve so that they may live as well and as peacefully as any people on the face of this earth. This corrective journey began with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. At this convention, we must take the next step toward the proper and necessary direction.
In 2015, the All Progressives Congress won the election to halt the drift in our nation’s governance, redirect our path, and make clear our national priorities. We dedicated this party to the guiding principle that government must be for the benefit of each and every Nigerian before it is for the benefit of any single one of us. No one is above legal rule or regulation. Within this context, the APC under President Muhammadu Buhari has governed with patriotic and disciplined commitment these past seven years.
The Buhari government has championed needed reforms, ranging from an innovative petroleum industry law to measures that are aimed at improving power and electricity generation for all Nigerians. Government has invested heavily in building modern airports and railway networks and roads. Every Naira is better managed than in prior administrations. The Buhari government has done more with much less than its PDP predecessors did. Despite economic difficulties wrought by protracted global recession, the APC-led government has progressed in diversifying the economy, improving food security through intense investment in the agricultural sector.
The successive PDP administrations did next to nothing with the plenty they had. What they did with our nation’s abundance is no secret. But what they did not do was even a greater embarrassment. They left abandoned infrastructure projects all across the nation. The APC completed them. They allowed ISWAP/ Boko Haram to erect strongholds. The Buhari government has been compelled to wage great war against these threats because of the decade of neglect by the PDP.
The PDP should have uprooted this evil when it was but a seed. The APC-led government is now left to contend with the dangerous tree it has become. Yet, as surely as I can state my name, the next APC government shall uproot this evil such that, never again, shall it try to take hold in this land.
Blunt counsel to Mr. President
Forecasters are predicting a global recession within the next 12-18 months (Pre Covid-19). I render these observations not to frighten anyone but because they ring true. Wisdom requires that we accept reality instead of obscuring it under the cloak of wishful thinking. We must build policies that interact with the world as it is, and not with the world as it should be.
We must recognize these harsh economic tidings as advance warnings to the wise. Hence we must think deeper and work harder for our people in Nigeria. I would be a most wicked friend (to Buhari) if I knew a storm was approaching yet convinced you to ready your family for an outdoor picnic under the tallest tree. The truth is always a more valuable guardian than fantasy.
Working for the people
Wages stagnate while prices are on a ceaseless march upward…. We must amend our basic ideas about the economy. We must divorce ourselves from our fixation with GDP rates and similar statistics. These things were initially intended to be indicators, suggestive measurements. However, we have misinterpreted these road maps by treating them as if they were the destination itself. This has caused us to distort the organic relationship between the people and the economy. This dominant train of thought has made the people servants to the dictates of abstract economic theories. In a more effective system, the economy would be fashioned to serve the concrete needs and legitimate aspirations of the people.
Our economy must be redefined to be an efficient yet moral social construct with the primary goal of optimizing the long-term welfare of the people through the sustained, productive and full employment of labour, land, capital and natural resources. To pull the nation from poverty, the government must play a decisive role. It must at times direct and even develop markets and opportunities. This is nothing novel. I am only restating what the established economies did when they were young and assumed their trajectories toward growth. We must do more than simply work for the people. Government must “work for the people in a way that enables them to better work for themselves.
Affordable and reliable power will drive the industrialization that shall provide jobs in our cities and produce needed goods for all our people. In a more poetic rendering, it will take our people out of the dark ages and bring the nation into the light of a better day.
I believe we will work to increase electricity generation, transmission and distribution by more than 50 percent. We require serious and bold reforms to achieve this. What is happening to our gas pipelines? Whatever we have to invest now for our future is a task that must be done boldly. Put experts together for a more constructive reform to improve generation, transmission and distribution by any means necessary. We cannot afford to be too legalistic about this.
We must commit ourselves to a national highway system linking our major cities and towns, our centres of commerce, with each other. This will save lives, spur commerce, cut costs and bring Nigerians closer together. Water catchment and retention systems in strategic locations should also be introduced to end the destructive cycles of flood and drought affecting many areas. In working to transform the face of our economy, the government must also enact policies that encourage industrialization and modern agricultural practices.
We must applaud President Buhari for the historic innovations made in the agricultural sector. We must further encourage him to do even more. Government funded social security for the aged and government backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner. Our goal is nothing less than enabling people to enjoy lives free of penury and lack.
His experience to lead
I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
I do not say this as a boast. I claim not to be special nor great. My training, experiences, and acquired knowledge are what is special and uniquely suited for this moment. I am merely a conduit, a servant of a cause much larger than myself . Now is a time for progressive vision and singular purpose. There is a general agreement that 2023 will be an encounter with destiny, when our nation shall need a certain type of leader to realise a better Nigeria. My experience in office and the knowledge gained through hard work, tough trials and patient undertaking have prepared me for this hour. I am a man of purpose with a serious mission. My vow is to use all that I know and all of my abilities to the benefit of the nation and its people. I do not step forward because I think this nomination is my due. I step forward because I can help lead our nation to become what it ought to be.
A daring-do mentality
Do we dare reform our national economy such that prosperity grows as poverty vanishes? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare provide meaningful education and jobs for our youths so that they may strive for a better future? Yes, we dare. Our teeming youth population is our nation’s greatest asset. We will create jobs for our youth from the Zamfara and Osun gold deposits to the vast agricultural lands across the country. We will create new opportunities in the FINTECH sector, the creative and entertainment industries, digital skills and other areas.
Do we dare feed our nation and provide the farmer a solid income for his toil? Yes, we dare.
Do we dare construct a society where the vulnerable, the weak, the disadvantaged and the elderly are attended to and loved? Yes, for we must care for those who cannot care for themselves.
Do we dare muster our collective strength to conquer terrorism, kidnapping, and violent evil of any form? Yes, we dare.
Security and competition between terrorists and governments for recruitment of youths
We are under-policed and we are competing with armed robbers and bandits to recruit from the youths who are unemployed. 33% unemployed? Recruit 50 million youths into the army and take away from the recruitment source (of terrorist’s). What will they eat? Cassava, agbado, corn in the morning, yam in the afternoon and all these are grown here and you create demand and consumption for over 5million army of bootcamps. Don’t call these (criminals and terrorists) illiterate. Anyone who can own a gun, handle a gun, cork a gun, service it, clean the chamber and shoot, is technically competent to repair a tractor in the farm. We can create jobs here. (So, recruit our youths and get them engaged in farming)
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Tinubu sues for peace, condemns ethnic slurs, election violence
President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, yesterday condemned what he described as “isolated” cases of infractions, ethnic slurs and violence that trailed the 2023 General Elections, declaring that elections were now over for the healing process to begin.
But the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in a swift reaction, dismissed Tinubu’s call for healing after a violent election as the height of hypocrisy.
These came as The Washington Post commended the general elections, stating that despite some obvious flaws in the process, the democratic system had held and was holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected.
This is even as the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, asked those not happy about the outcome of the just-concluded general elections to seek redress in court and avoid the violent protest.
In what appeared a post-mortem of the polls, Tinubu said the polls, which were held across 28 states and the state legislative poll across the 36 states of the federation had brought the 2023 election cycle to a fitting close.
While he praised President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, and other stakeholders, Tinubu said consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses.
‘Let’s rise above foibles of sentiments’
Condemning the violence and other negative trends that followed the conduct of the elections, the President-elect appealed to Nigerians to rise above the foibles of partisanship, ethnicity and religious sentiments and focus more on the “valued strings that bind us together as a people.”
He said; “I am saddened by the reported isolated infractions during the elections and its aftermath in some states. I strongly condemn it. Also, the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one state that did not represent who we truly are: peace-loving people.
“The physical and verbal assaults committed are unacceptable and antithetical to democratic ethos.
“Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief. I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mischaracterisation reported in some locations.
“My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people, irrespective of the circumstances of our births.
“As former governor of Lagos State, I can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potential.
“I will give priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law.
“Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us.
“In a democracy, the majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression. Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation.’’
He called on all elected officials to take urgent steps to unite the people and champion the healing process.
“We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters.
‘’As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation-building, a task beyond one individual or a section of society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck,” said Tinubu.
Tinubu’s call for healing after unleashing violence, is hypocritical, says Atiku
Reacting to Tinubu’s call, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, dismissed it as the height of hypocrisy.
He, however, commended the United States government for condemning the violent and ethnically charged election in Lagos State.
Tinubu had, in a statement he personally signed yesterday, expressed sadness by what he described as “ infractions in some states as well as the divisive rhetoric that characterised the polls.”
In response, Atiku, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr Phrank Shaibu, in a statement, described Tinubu’s statement as an “after-thought and hypocritical garbage.”
He said it was curious that Tinubu was talking about reconciliation after his loyalists attacked Igbo voters in Lagos in order to give his party- the All Progressives Congress, APC, an advantage during the governorship election.
Shaibu said Tinubu had continued to protect transport hooligans, politicians and even traditional leaders in Lagos who were seen on video threatening non-indigenes.
Atiku said: “Tinubu’s latest statement is laced with hypocrisy and lies. For a whole month, traditional leaders, transport hooligans and politicians in his camp threatened non-indigenes but Tinubu kept mute.
“His lackey, MC Oluomo, who is a member of his presidential campaign council, was seen on video threatening Igbo people but Tinubu said nothing.
“His campaign spokesmen, Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode, went on social media to warn Igbo people against exercising their franchise but Tinubu looked the other way.
“Traditional rulers imposed curfews and went about slaughtering goats and placing them in front of polling units but Tinubu said nothing.
“A traditional leader and council chairman in Gbara community, Eti Osa local government summoned non-indigenes to a meeting where they threatened non-indigenes with eviction if they failed to vote for the APC but Tinubu said nothing.
“Those invited by the police ignored invitations because Tinubu is shielding them. On the day of election, many people who looked Igbo were beaten and prevented from voting but Tinubu kept mute.
“Now that his party has stolen the election, he has found his voice and is preaching reconciliation. He should tell that to the marines.
“If Tinubu is serious, he should ensure that all those found culpable are arrested and prosecuted. But we know he cannot do this because he is their godfather.”
He also described the statement by the US Embassy in Nigeria condemning the violence meted out to the Igbo as a welcome development.
He, however, said the US ought to have gone further by mentioning the names of those found culpable and exposing the identities of those it will hit with visa restrictions.
Atiku added: “We commend the US and the EU governments for condemning the violence and intimidation that marred the governorship election, especially in Lagos, where Tinubu’s henchmen held the state to ransom.
“But the US knows the identities of the perpetrators of violence and ought to have mentioned their names. MC Oluomo is an American citizen.
“The US must also go further by mentioning the names of others, including the traditional rulers in Lagos who were complicit.
“The US has in the past openly condemned Vladmir Putin of Russia and others found wanting in other countries.
“This is not the time for political correctness. Those who will be slammed with visa bans should be named and shamed.”
Atiku maintained that there could be no reconciliation without restitution, adding that anything short of this would not heal any wounds.
He further argued that Tinubu had shown from his electioneering that he had no plan to unite Nigeria but was only after one thing – power and the resources of Nigeria.
“Tinubu is only after power. Before he took over power, Lagos was known for its urbane and accommodating nature. The late Nnamdi Azikiwe built his political base and business empire in Lagos.
“Mbonu Ojike, born in Imo State, was the Deputy Mayor of Lagos in 1951. Many others from around the country and beyond built businesses and political careers in Lagos unmolested.
“But on Bola Tinubu’s watch, Lagos has become an intolerant state where non-indigenes are openly beaten on election day and threatened with eviction if they don’t vote for his party. Now he seeks reconciliation? What a joke!
“There will be no reconciliation until MC Oluomo and all his minions who took part in issuing threats and brutalising people are diligently prosecuted.”
Nigeria points way towards democracy in region – Washington Post
In a related development, The Washington Post has commended the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly election and the March 18 governorship and Houses of Assembly polls, stating that despite some obvious flaws in the process, the democratic system has held and is holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected.
In its editorial dated Monday, Marched 20, 2023, the publication described the election as a ‘messy affair’ but added that much good came out of it.
It stated that leading opposing candidates’ decision to challenge the outcome of the election in the court, instead of resorting to violence and absence of military interference, were pointers that Nigeria’s electoral process could stand as a reference point for other African countries where post-election violence and coup had become a pattern.
The publication stated: “It might be tempting for opponents of democratic governance to take Nigeria as a case study in why democracy can’t work in Africa. Actually, the opposite is true.
‘’In Nigeria, even with its chaotic and flawed process, the system has held and is holding — far better, so far, than might have been expected. True, Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25 was a messy affair.
‘’Some polling places didn’t open on time. A new electronic voting system to upload results from the 176,000 scattered polling places to a central website seemed to collapse. There were reports of scattered violence in a few places, with ballot boxes stolen at gunpoint. Turnout was disappointing, at 28.6 per cent.
“The candidate of the current ruling party, Bola Tinubu, was declared the winner with 36 per cent of the vote on March 1. But because of the problems, the result is being challenged by his two closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar, who won 29 per cent and Peter Obi, who got 25 per cent.
‘’Mr. Abubakar, Mr. Obi and their supporters claim the election chaos means the voting was rigged in favor of the ruling party, but they have yet to produce concrete evidence of malfeasance. They are demanding the election be rerun. That doesn’t mean the vote should be discounted. In fact, much good came from it.
“It is encouraging, first, that the losing candidates are pursuing their claims through the courts. They have until March 31 to present their petitions to Nigeria’s appeal court tribunal, which would be expected to issue a written decision within 180 days.
‘’While the rhetoric has been heated, remarkably there have been no reports of post-election violence, intimidation or threats. No one has blocked highways, as happened in Brazil after Jair Bolsonaro lost his re-election bid. Opposition party supporters have not attempted an insurrection.
Nigeria’s military stayed out
“Second, Nigeria’s military has stayed out of the fray. This was not a given, since Nigeria’s generals ruled the country after a series of coups for most of the 1980s and ’90s. In Africa and elsewhere, a supposedly flawed election has been a handy excuse for militaries to annul election results and seize power for themselves.
‘’It happened in Myanmar in early 2021, for example, despite no evidence of any fraud. If Nigeria’s generals remain on the sidelines this time, it could be taken as evidence that Africa’s most populous country, and its largest economy, has moved past its coup-prone history.
“Third, this proved to be Nigeria’s most competitive election since democracy was restored in 1999. Each of the three top candidates — Mr Tinubu, Mr Abubakar and Mr Obi — won 12 of the country’s 36 states, a surprisingly even split. And Mr Obi, who was projected to win in some polls, could claim a stunning victory in Lagos state, Mr Tinubu’s home turf.
‘’Mr. Obi’s campaign was powered by young, better-educated urban voters savvy with social media, but he was unable to make inroads in more rural and traditional areas. But at 61, he is nearly a decade younger than Mr Tinubu, 70, and can be expected to be in politics for years to come.
“Nigeria’s neighbours and its major trading partners, including the United States, have all accepted the result, which most international observers said was largely free and fair, despite problems.
‘’But a delicate period lies ahead. If President-elect, Tinubu, is eventually confirmed as the winner, he will need Nigerians to fully accept that he was the legitimate victor. This means the losing candidates should have their day in court and be able to present any evidence that election-day problems affected the final result.
“Officials have asserted that technical glitches, not sabotage, were the issue and have cited poor internet connections and heavy traffic that slowed the system. But to restore trust, they need to demonstrate this with transparency.
‘’All election day irregularities need to be thoroughly examined. And the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, needs to assess what went wrong and fix it.
“A round of elections on Saturday for 28 governorships and state assemblies seemed to be much better managed and passed without major snafus, despite some scattered reports of violence.
‘’Even a flawed election in Nigeria can set a standard in a part of Africa where staging a coup is more common than canvassing for votes. Among Nigeria’s neighbors, Chad’s military leader, Mahamat Idriss Déby, who seized power when his father was killed in 2021, has repeatedly delayed elections and halted a return to democracy.
“Military leaders in Mali, which saw coups in 2020 and 2021, have delayed elections until 2024. Guinea’s first democratic leader was toppled in 2021. Niger has been rocked by coup attempts.
‘’Benin’s President, Patrice Talon, has clung to power and stacked the parliament, which must approve presidential candidates, with his supporters. In Cameroon, President Paul Biya has ruled since 1982.
‘’An election in Nigeria won’t turn Africa into a democratic utopia. But it can point the way to a different path.”
Those aggrieved should go to court —Sultan
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, and President General, of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, have asked those unhappy about the outcome of the just concluded general elections to go to court.
Recall that complaints have continued to trail the presidential/National Assembly and governorship/State Assembly elections, prompting calls from prominent Nigerians on those aggrieved about the outcome to seek redress, rather than adopting a violent approach.
The Sultan, who spoke at a Ramadan symposium with the theme: “Ramadan, the Month of Blessings”, organised in collaboration with the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, JNI, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and the Islamic Education Trust, IET, yesterday, also urged Nigerians to embrace peace and ensure peaceful coexistence after the general elections.
He said: “We should embrace peace with our brothers and sisters, not allow politics to destroy our relationships. Any politician, who feels aggrieved should seek redress in court.
“Politics and elections are all over and the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching, we should then seek forgiveness from one another.
“This is in order to be among the ones Allah will bless with multiple rewards in the sacred month.’’
The sultan further advised Nigerians to eschew differences and shun violent tendencies as the elections were over and God had chosen leaders for the country.’’
How I curbed vote-buying — Buhari
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, narrated how he told the electorate to collect money from candidates that offered money to them to buy their votes in the February 25 and March 18 elections but vote according to their conscience.
He also said given the chance of a free and fair election as well as non-interference as witnessed in the elections, Nigerians had proved to be capable of deciding who led them without anyone telling them what to do.
The president, who expressed satisfaction with the remarkable passion towards democracy exhibited by Nigerians through the choices they made in the presidential, National Assembly and the subsequent governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections, said Nigeria’s democracy had truly matured.
In a statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying: “People are realising their power. Given the chance of a free and fair vote, nobody can tell them what to do. I am unhappy that some candidates lost in the election.
“But I am inspired by the fact that voters were able to make their own decision, to decide who won and who lost. With the currency change, there was no money to spread around but even then, I told voters to take the money and vote according to their consciences.”
The president, who spoke at a farewell meeting with the outgoing United States Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, at the State House in Abuja, said he was completely satisfied with his role in the election process.
He commended the outgoing ambassador for the enormous achievements recorded in Nigeria-US relations in the three-and-half years she had been here.
In an answer to a question posed by Ambassador Leonard, President Buhari said he planned to be a “big landlord” back at home, working on his farms and tending his more than 300 animals, adding: “I am eager to go.”
In her remarks, the American Ambassador said she was happy with the progress made in Nigeria-US relations in the three–and–half years, specifically citing the recent institution of a five-year visa regime between the two countries; active collaboration in security and the supply of military hardware including warplanes and the soon-to-come fighter helicopters; and also cooperation in the health sector to fight HIV and COVID response, giving assurances that US will continue to assist in the strengthening of Nigeria’s health sector.
Ambassador Leonard expressed her gratitude and that of the US government for the continuing role of the President in ensuring regional security and strengthening democracy as a system of government, citing his strong response against the recent surge of coups-d’état in West Africa as worthy of commendation.
Election petition: Tinubu about to be cleared of all allegations – Keyamo
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has reacted to the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, calling for the annulment of the February 25 Presidential Election won by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
Obi had previously challenged the outcome of the election and had also sought the court requesting to have access to all the sensitive materials Independent National Electoral Commission deployed for the election.
On Tuesday, the LP candidate filed another suit at the election tribunal challenging the declaration of Tinubu by INEC who he said “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election.”
The former Anambra State governor claimed there was rigging in 11 states including Rivers, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Imo, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, and Plateau, adding that he would demonstrate this in the declaration of results based on the uploaded results.
Reacting to his petition in a post via his verified handle on Wednesday, Keyamo said that all the deceit, lies and disinformation about simple and clear issues would be busted in the court.
He wrote, “I am excited about the issues raised in those Election Petitions. All the deceit & lies & disinformation & misinformation about otherwise very simple and clear issues are about to be busted by our Law Lords. Whoever continues to argue after that should relocate to another planet.
“Nigerians will finally see a huge difference between calm, dispassionate adjudication of issues and all the hoopla caused by garrulous spokespersons shaking and falling on stage, ignorant TV hosts turned debaters, misinformed documentaries, illiterate tweeps and some dancing Hijabi mamas.”
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