Fellow Nigerians, it is with a tremendous sense of history and an immense awareness of the challenges ahead of us as a country that I address you today. For the past few months, my running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima and I and other leaders of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have traversed the length and breadth of our country in the course of our campaigns for the forthcoming presidential, governorship and legislative elections at all levels.
I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic crowds that have trooped out to receive us in all the states we visited. On Tuesday, we had the grand finale of our rally in Lagos State. It is obvious to me from my interaction with our people across the country that, despite our challenges, the APC enjoys tremendous goodwill among the vast majority of our people.
In all the states we have visited, there are visible landmarks of the huge impact the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has made in terms of infrastructural development in the form of rural and urban roads and expressways, modern railway tracks, as well as improved airport facilities, among others.
Millions of our poor and vulnerable people have benefitted from the various social intervention programmes of the Buhari administration. The amounts disbursed to these categories of our people are unprecedented in terms of the sheer transfer of resources to the less privileged sections of the population not only in our country but in Africa. It is remarkable and ironical that those who were in power for 16 years earned far higher revenues from petroleum than we did and yet were unable to effectively tackle neither infrastructure nor poverty. They now have the temerity to cast aspersions on the APC administration.
Our campaign tours demonstrated clearly to us that you, our people, are not deceived.
Of course, we are aware of the hardships suffered by our people and the challenges confronting our country. Some of these could have been mitigated by better conceptualized and articulated policies. The truth is that there can be no perfect government in any human community.
Some of the problems are also of global origin such as the unanticipated COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted economies worldwide or the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that has disrupted global food and fuel supply chains.
It is clear to me that there is a lot that the Buhari administration has done that are laudable in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and poverty alleviation. We must build upon these achievements.
There are also some sectors where we must adopt new approaches and stress new priorities.
What is clear is that the Office of the President of Nigeria is not one of pleasure. Rather, it will demand the highest standard of hard work, discipline, focus, determination and commitment on the part of the next President.
I pledge solemnly that my Vice-President and I will dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to working for the greatest good and happiness of the greatest number of Nigerians.
Senator Shettima and I have outstanding records of high performance in public office as Governors of our states. In Lagos, where I served as Governor for 8 remarkable years, I led a team of talented, hardworking, creative, intelligent and purposeful people that recalibrated governance and set new standard in good governance that continues to propel the state to greater growth and development till date. That Lagos State is the 5th largest economy in Africa didn’t happen by chance. It is a product of consistent hardwork and creative leadership.
We seek to demonstrate on national scale that energy and capacity that transformed our states to bring prosperity to all Nigerians.
Our administration will work to ensure not just a farewell to poverty but also usher in an era of prosperity in our country. To achieve this, we will re-engineer our security architecture to enhance the capacity of our armed forces and security agencies to guarantee the safety of the lives and properties of our people. This will enable our farmers to return fully to their farms with the resultant increase in food production and affordability. We will initiate measures to boost the revenue earnings of our farmers and improve the standard of living in our rural areas, home to the vast majority of our people.
We will task our ingenuity to drastically enhance the country’s revenue generating capacity so that we can adequately fund and fundamentally improve the quality of social services in education, healthcare and housing, among others. We are determined to ensure that incessant strikes by unions in our public universities become a thing of the past. We will make facilities and welfare packages in our health sector compare with the best in the world so that many of those health professionals who have migrated to other lands will be attracted back home.
Ensuring adequate and uninterrupted electricity will be one of our cardinal priorities. This will help boost the performance of the industrial sector and create jobs on a massive scale for our teeming youths. We shall put in place a robust and virile credit system so that more people can acquire the basics of life such as housing, cars and household equipment and pay gradually. That will have the immediate effect of reducing the motivation to resort to corrupt means of wealth accumulation.
To fight corruption, we will also provide better welfare and motivation to the judiciary to perform its functions with integrity while we will also enhance the autonomy of the anti-graft agencies and provide them the necessary incentives to make them less vulnerable to corrupt inducement.
We are of the firm belief that Nigeria is too endowed and blessed for any of our citizens to live in abject poverty. We are a hardworking and talented people destined for greatness. We are determined to offer the visionary and creative leadership to help actualize Nigeria’s immense potentials. We do not delude ourselves that we are supermen with the magic wand to miraculously solve all our country’s problems. But what I solemnly pledge is the determination to select the best and brightest talents in Nigeria to help our country achieve her manifest destiny for the good of her people and the glory and pride of the black man.
To help actualize this, I urge you to turn out in large numbers on Saturday to vote for Kashim Shettima and I on the platform of the APC.
●Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Presidential Candidate, All Progressives Congress
February 23, 2023