Amid the resurgence of his alleged drugs dealing past, the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Tuesday flagged off his campaign in Jos, Plateau State, saying he will not allow Nigeria to sink under his watch if elected president in 2023.
The former Lagos governor pledged to build on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu made fantastic promises before a big crowd at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium and hailed Nigerians for believing in the APC to lead the country to progress after years of backwardness under the PDP administration.
“Hope is back,” he said.
“One can 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.
“One can see a Nigeria where all who want 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. We also see how far we must go and the road that will take us there,” the APC flagbearer said.
He further said that he will continue on the foundation laid by Buhari by improving security, infrastructures, oil exploration in the North East and opening Lake Chad for agriculture and economic opportunities.
Tinubu added, “We hereby reaffirm our commitment to progressive good governance and to the fruits that such governance can bring to this nation.
“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 ranting show they cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy?” he asked.
Attacking the the PDP and Labour Party, he said, “One party wants to take us back to a past that never should have been. 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.
Interestingly, Rotimi Amaechi, former transport minister, who came second during the presidential primary of the APC, attended the rally. It was the first time he made a public appearance since losing the APC ticket in a primary he said was flawed by massive vote buying.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, serving governors including AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Sani-Bello (Niger), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Prof. Ben Ayade (Cross River), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) also attended the rally.
Other governors who attended the rally are, Babagana Zulum (Borno), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun)and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).
Former governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno) also attended.
Mr. Tinubu flagged off his campaign amid the renewed dust raised about his alleged links to drug rings in the United States while he lived there.
Recall that investigative Nigerian journalist David Hundeyin had over the weekend released a damning documentary over Tinubu’s alleged links to drug lords.
The main opposition, PDP, had quickly pounced on the new material, saying Tinubu is therefore ineligible to run for president.
In a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, PDP’s Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba said, Tinubu is “ineligible to contest the February 2023 Presidential election having been reportedly indicted and subjected to criminal forfeiture judgement for a narcotic-related offence by a United States Court in Northern Illinois.
“Nigerians are however appalled by the lame attempt by the APC Presidential Campaign which, after admitting that there was a $460,000 drug money criminal forfeiture judgment against accounts traced to the APC Presidential Candidate, is now desperately trying to pull a wool over the eyes of the Nigerians people and our democratic institutions.
“Seeing that it is technically out of the Presidential contest and further distraught because it cannot also field candidates at all levels in the 2023 general elections due to its illegal and unconstitutional congresses, the APC has resorted to unleashing hoodlums to attack PDP Presidential Campaign rallies and other innocent Nigerians going about their legitimate endeavors as witnessed in Kaduna and Borno States, in a bid to trigger crisis and scuttle the elections.”
The spokesperson quoted Section 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to support his party’s position that Tinubu is not eligible to contest the Presidential election in Nigeria.
Ologunagba underlined the fact that the US Court “Ordered that the funds in the amount of $460,000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking or were involved in financial transactions in violation of 18 U.S.C. S1956 and 1957 and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. S881(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C S981.”