By Ebenezer Ishola
All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday described himself as the candidate to beat in next year’s election.
He said there was no contender for the highest office who can match his track record.
The eminent politician spoke on his records, wealth and the economy in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Africa Service, monitored by The Nation.
Also yesterday, the APC Presidential Campaign Council dissected the manifesto of the Labour Party (LP) candidate, saying it cannot offer any refreshing relief to Nigerians.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was not impressed by Tinubu’s performance at the Chatham House, London, on Monday.
The Director of Strategic Communication of Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation, Dele Momodu, said in a statement that it was “a complete charade”.
But, the APC Presidential Campaign Council defended Tinubu, saying he demonstrated capacity, competence, experience and the worth of leadership.
Describing himself as the most competent candidate, Tinubu said other contenders were not up to the task.
He said: “Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar are not competent. They are not as competent as any other person out there. They’ve no track record, none of them is qualified except me.”
Expressing optimism that next year’s polls will be free and fair, Tinubu said: “Things are going very well. I’m very confident that this election will be free and fair. I’m the frontrunner, and that’s why I’m getting many arrows.
“My top priorities are security, and economic recovery to accelerate development to get Nigerians employed and get inflation down. You know, monetary policy needs to be changed. Subsidy needs to be decided upon and then, removed.
“Insecurity in Nigeria is actually reduced, and I will defend him (Buhari) for that. Then, in 17 local and about four states, we had flags of foreign jihadists in Nigeria. That’s no more; that’s long gone.
“To start chaos is easy, to bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari has degraded, but not completely eliminated ISWAP. We need mass recruitment of individuals in a volunteer army to really clean up.
“I’m different. I am Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I have governed Lagos. I built a modern state that could be a country on its own. I’ve led an administration that’s so prudent, from N600million internally generated revenue to N5 billion a month.
“That’s a record. Nobody else can brag about that. I’ve treated and tamed the Atlantic Ocean surge in Nigeria that would have perished so many people in Lagos. The infrastructural renewal of Lagos is excellent. I have continuity in Lagos.
“Buhari has done his best, he’s my leader in the party.”
Speaking on the source of his wealth, he said: “I have an example of Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world. He started from stock buying and brokerages. I inherited great real estate. I turned the values around. I’m not denying my wealth.
“I was the most investigated, the most accused governor in opposition up to, you know, for eight years, and up till 2007, and since I’ve left the office. I’m still there. I’ve not taken any government appointments. No government contracts.
“I’m not getting any share of the revenue from Lagos. The World Bank and IMF have investigated the record in Lagos.”
LP manifesto faulted
APC Campaign Council said the LP manifesto titled: “It is Possible: Our Pact with Nigerians,” was high on graphics, demagogic rhetorics and short on substance.
The council criticised the LP flag bearer Peter Obi for the use of the subtitle ‘Action Plan’, which the APC-PCC said was shamelessly parroted from Tinubu’s manifesto.
The campaign organisation, in a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, in Abuja, said aside from falling short of expectation, the LP policy document “is a poor imitation and regurgitation of what the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing.”
It maintained that the document reeled out by Obi and his running mate, Ahmed Datti, showed that they are ill-prepared for the task of governing Nigeria.
The statement reads: “As a candidate, he (Obi) has nothing new to offer Nigerians beyond hawking fake statistics and preying on the young people’s sentiments as a demagogue.
“We are glad that LP and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, finally released their much-awaited policy document after many contradictory statements on same.
“After perusing the document which is very high on graphics and demagogic rhetorics and short on substance, we have concluded that the document is empty and vacuous.
“Peter Obi’s document contains no grand policy initiatives and options to excite right-thinking Nigerians.
“It was silent about how Obi wanted to achieve his high falutin objectives.
“Instead, it will set alarm bells ringing in the Southsouth and Northeast as Obi promises to ‘engineer the transition of Nigeria from a fossil fuel dependency to climate and eco-friendly energy use”.
Faulting the document, APC-PCC alleged that Obi’s document contains fallacies and false statistics.
“Obi claimed China moved 740 million people out of poverty. He understated the achievement and was silent about the period it took the Chinese Communist party to achieve this.
“China moved close to 800 million people out of poverty and it was achieved in 40 years. This makes the present APC government’s plan to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, more realistic than Obi’s rhetoric tends to suggest.
“One of the fallacies contained in the document, which Obi has often repeated to his followers, is that Nigeria is a failed state.
“We wonder whether the LP candidate sometimes bothers to check the meaning of a failed state and whether the country he dreams to govern falls into the mould of Yemen or Somalia, where institutions of government have lost total control of their societies.
“Another fallacy is Obi’s claim that Nigeria recorded modest gains between 1999-2015, the PDP years, even when all verifiable evidence points to the contrary.
“The LP candidate simplistically diagnosed Nigeria’s problem as ‘elite, which is self-indicting as he and his running mate, who he styled ‘new breed’ are members.
“He claims incompetent leadership has divided the nation, playing up religious and ethnic sentiments.
“Another self-indictment as the hallmark of his campaign has been to jump from one church to the other, positioning himself as a ‘Christian candidate’ and inciting the church against the current APC government.
“The document Obi released is a poor imitation and regurgitation of what the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing.
“If anything, the document showed him as a man without honour, credibility and character because he is promising to do all the things he has railed against and de-legitimised in the past.
“We make bold to state that Obi lacks the mental acuity and rigour for the job he is asking Nigerians to entrust to him. He is surely not ready and prepared to be the President this great country deserves.
“And if indeed the LP candidate paid for the wishy-washy document, he should ask for a refund for the following reasons:
“On security, in his document, Obi and his running mate promised to tackle insecurity, and defeat Boko Haram, Bandits and other violent crimes by partnering with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
“It is a pity that Obi and his party didn’t know that President Muhammadu Buhari did this within his first week in office as President in 2015 and has continued to strengthen regional cooperation.
“The Multinational Joint Military Task Force with headquarters in Ndjamena, Republic of Chad is an outcome of the successful diplomatic shuttle to these neighbouring countries, including the Benin Republic.
“Through the Joint Military Task Force and our gallant soldiers, Boko Haram and ISWAP have been routed out of Nigeria and permanently degraded and the whole of North East is stable.
“Thousands of displaced people have returned to their communities to restart their social and economic activities.
“Peter Obi has nothing to offer on security if he is only promising what Buhari has been doing for over seven years.