From Christiana Gokyo, Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari was in Jos recently at the flagging off campaign of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinibu, who was presented with a flag, as the flag bearer of the party.
The president called on members of the party to support its presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2023 general elections in the country.
Speaking during the event, the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Tinibu, called for more ‘builders’ to help make Nigeria better, saying that Buhari has built a solid foundation for it.
President Buhari and national chairman of the party, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, led its governors, ministers, National Working Committee members and other its leaders to Jos, the state capital to flag off the campaign at Jos Township Stadium, where the president was assisted by the party chairman, Sen. Adamu.
They handed over its flag to Asíwájú Bola Tinubu. The president promised to lead the party’s campaign for the 2023 presidential election.
The flag-off had in attendance Vice Presidential Candidate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
In attendance were governors Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara), Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Malam Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger), Alhaji Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Alhaji Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River), Alhaji Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Engr. Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Lagos Deputy governor, Femi Hamzat, former Bauchi State governor, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Borno State, Alhaji Ali Modu-Sheriff and former Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. There were also Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of APC Presidential Candidate and Hajiya Nana Shettima, wife of the Vice Presidential Candidate Shettima, both of who also addressed the rally, and Dr. Ibijoke Sanwoolu, wife of Governor Sanwoolu of Lagos, ministers and members of APC National Working Committee.
On arrival in Jos, Asíwájú Tinubu and his entourage had paid a courtesy call on Gbong Gwon Jos, Jacob Buba, who described both Tinubu and his running mate as tested people who have records of achievements, adding that what the country needs at this time are tested men.
While addressing the rally, both the national chairman of the party and the chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum, who is also the governor of Kebbi, Bagudu, commended President Buhari for his achievements.
According to him, he would be leaving behind important legacies in democracy, good governance, infrastructure development and economic growth particularly in the area of agriculture and food security.
The Director-General of the Tinubu/ Shettima Campaigns and governor of Plateau, Mr. Simon Bako Lalong, said Tinubu who is described as City Boy of Lagos is now City Boy of the Plateau.
On his part, President Buhari presented the party’s flag to Asiwaju Tinubu to formally present him to Nigerians as a symbol of the party in the coming presidential election.
In his speech, that was later interpreted in Hausa language by his running mate, Kashim Shettima, Asiwaju Tinubu, praised Nigerians for believing in the APC to lead the country to progress after years of backwardness under the PDP administration by declaring “hope is back.”
He said the campaign was starting in Plateau, a place that properly shows Nigeria’s vast potentials, adding that one could see greater prosperity and jobs in an economy humming with activity.
“From the farmer in the rural area to the city boy in a bustling urban centre, each will have productive work to do and a decent home to return to,” he stated.
According to him, one can see a Nigeria where all who wants to will be able to build a decent life from the fruits of their individual and collective endeavour.
“From this fine vantage point, we see how far we have come and we also see how far we must go and the road that will take us there,” Tinubu said.
The APC flag-bearer took time to commend President Buhari for his presence at the flag off and the great foundation he has laid for the nation, which his incoming administration plans to build on. According to him, he is deeply honoured for the presence of the president, as campaign chairman, promising to lead from the front, describing him as a man of his word.
He said President Buhari had done what he said and more. He said the president had provided exceptional service to the nation and the party, adding that, his contributions are both positive and enduring.
He said, “when the history of this period is objectively written, it will smile upon you and treat you with utmost kindness.”
He also praised Adamu for leading the APC and steadying the ship of the party since assuming office as national chairman.
Speaking on his plans for the country if elected president, Tinubu said unlike other parties who are either dwelling on a fruitless past or a tomorrow of fantasies, his administration hopes to chart the course of progress already stated by the Buhari administration.
He reaffirmed their commitment to progressive good governance and to the fruits that such governance could bring to the nation.
He said: “February 2023 is more than an election. It is a fight to define the soul of the nation and to determine our collective fate.
“Do we adhere to the ideals of broadly shared prosperity, competence, peace, justice and compassion toward all? “Or do we toss these ideals away, lashing ourselves to the divisive politics of the past or to those whose rantings show they cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy party wants to take us back to a past that never should have been.”
He added: “Another party wants to take us to a past that resides only in its candidate’s head, neither the old road nor the fantasy road is good enough. “Instead, we forge the wiser path toward our approved destination – an even better Nigeria.
This is what the election is truly about.” The presidential candidate said they would ensure overall energy, security and resource mobilization for the country.
He promised to continue the ongoing exploration works in all frontier basins and especially speed up the development of the commercial oil find in Gombe/ Bauchi states.
Reeling out the successes of the Buhari administration, Tinubu said there was massive development in the agricultural, infrastructure and power sectors in the last eight years of the APC government. According to him, these foundations now require more builders to make it a massive structure, calling on all Nigerians to embark on the journey with him.
While appreciating President Buhari again, he said he had truly established a strong foundation “for the things we are now to do.”
Tinibu noted that, the Buhari administration has achieved things in the agricultural, infrastructural, and power sector no other administration has done.
“Additionally, his government liberated hundreds of communities from terrorists and brought thousands of displaced persons back to their homes, truly the foundation has been set.
“It is now time to call more builders forward to further construct the national edifice that will be our best home,” he said.
He added: “We, the APC and the Tinubu/Shettima team, seek to make permanent a covenant of progressive good governance with the people.
“Under this hopeful pact, we will assemble the best team, and we shall build on progress in the agricultural sector by establishing commodity boards guaranteeing minimal prices for strategic crops and we shall create agricultural and industrial hubs in all zones.
“You shall also see water catchment and irrigation systems to help farming while mitigating the dire effects of drought and flooding brought about by a changing climate.
“We will encourage urban employment through a national industrial plan that employs a series of measures including tax and employment credits.”
He said: “We will deepen the knowledge economy. Millions of the tech savvy, innovative youth will benefit as will our overall economy.
Talented youth will find a place in our government. “We will bring greater power through natural gas and reasonable reform of the entire power sector, and assured that their government will continue the infrastructural expansion so the overall economy may continue to expand in lockstep.
“Most importantly, I will give utmost priority to extinguishing terrorists and violent criminals.
“We shall augment our military, police and security personnel while providing them with better tactical communication and mobility.
“We will employ hi-tech aerial surveillance to track and attack these menaces. “These evil forces seek to destroy our democratic way of life. I have news for them.
“We will defeat their destructive way of life. They shall be utterly defeated and vanquished.”