* APC criticizes as ex-VP says a pan-Nigerian from the North is what the North needs, not a candidate who is Yoruba or Igbo.
Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, and Senator Bola Ahmed, the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) presidential candidate, yesterday traveled to the northwest to continue their campaign for the majority of votes. There, they vowed to address the nation’s security issues and revive the economy before the general election of 2023.
A candidate is declared to have been elected as President in accordance with Section 134 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) if he receives a simple majority of the vote and not less than 25% of the votes cast in at least two-thirds of all the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In contrast to Tinubu, who spoke at the seventh Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KadInvest 7.0), Atiku was a guest speaker at the Arewa Joint Committee’s interactive sessions with the various presidential candidates of political parties at Arewa House in Kaduna. Tinubu expressed confidence that he would win the 2023 presidential election.
However, Atiku’s claim that the North needs a pan-Nigerian of northern heritage rather than a Yoruba or an Igbo candidate infuriated the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), whose spokesman called on the former vice president to get out of the race due to what he called his careless remark.
Atiku stated that the northern part of Nigeria needs a pan-Nigerian leader, emphasizing that national inclusivity rather than ethnicity should be the North’s deciding factor when choosing a new president for the nation in the elections of 2023.
Regardless of political differences, the former vice president stated that the region should concentrate on how to regain its prosperity so that it can reemerge as a thriving, prosperous, and independent economy operating in a peaceful environment. He added that anything less than this goal cannot be an option. The event was jointly organised by the leading northern groups – Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation (ABF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) and Jamiyyar Matan Arewa (JMA).
According to the spokesman of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the event was for Atiku and other presidential candidates to share their ideas and vision for the country if they become president.
“It will influence our decisions in terms of who possesses the best ideas, the best thinking. “This is a genuine attempt to get to understand what the candidates have for the North,” he added. Speaking at the interactive sessions, where two other presidential candidates – Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Prince Adewale Adebayo, of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) also unveiled their plans for the country ahead of the 2023 elections, Atiku noted that with a political career that spans more than three decades, he stands out as a northerner, who has built bridges of across the country.
“I have transversed the whole of this country; I know the whole of this country; I have built bridges across this country. I think what the average northerner needs is somebody who is from the North and who also understands other parts of Nigeria, and who has been able to build bridges across the rest of the country. This is what the North needs. It doesn’t need a Yoruba candidate or an Igbo candidate. This is what the northerner needs. So, I stand before you as a pan-Nigerian of northern origin,” Atiku explained.
He argued that Northern Nigeria’s current social and economic challenges required sober reflection and not partisan politicking. “Irrespective of our political differences it should be our collective desire to see Northern Nigeria fulfill her potential in the not-so-distant future. We must build consensus on one goal: Northern Nigeria must have its prosperity restored. It must re-emerge as a vibrant, prosperous, and self-reliant economy, operating in a peaceful, secure, and disciplined environment. Anything other than this goal cannot be an option,” Atiku said.
Atiku highlighted the key policy agendas which he seeks to pursue if elected president including promoting national unity through deliberate actions that will secure mutual trust and confidence amongst all tendencies. The other policy areas that the former vice president enumerated are reforms in education, and agriculture and reversing the economic downturn of the country. Atiku said his development agenda seeks the political and economic transformation of Nigeria into a united, secure, and prosperous country in which all citizens can live a happy, healthy, and productive life.
“Economic prosperity is an integral part of this agenda that has five elements: to restore Nigeria’s unity, strengthen national security, build a dynamic economy for prosperity, improve education delivery and restructure the polity. Indeed, economic prosperity is the thread that runs through the other critical elements of the agenda. All five elements of our development agenda are closely linked and dynamically influence one another: the dream of building a prosperous economy will remain a mirage without unity, peace, and security,” Atiku added.
According to him, his five-point development agenda is a national agenda but with a local touch. “My five-point development agenda is a national agenda, it identifies where we are today and where we want to be as a nation and outlines how we will get there”, he said.
He noted that although the current growth and projections are significantly lower, Nigeria has the potential to become one of the 15 global economies. But in a swift reaction to Atiku’s address at Kaduna, the spokesperson of the PCC of the APC, Keyamo called on the former vice president to quit the race now over what he described as his thoughtless statement.
Keyamo was reacting to a video from the event, which showed Atiku telling his audience that an average northerner does not need an Igbo or Yoruba candidate but a northern candidate who has built bridges across the country.
“This is the height of desperation and daredevilry on the part of Atiku! This is so horrendous, so horrible and so thoughtless for Atiku Abubakar to use ethnicity to campaign, saying the North does not need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate. My God! Atiku needs to quit the race today!” Keyamo tweeted from his verified Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the ruling APC, Tinubu, has assured Nigerians of a buoyant and vibrant economy, expressing confidence that he will emerge victorious in the election.
Tinubu spoke at the seventh edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KadInvest 7.0) in Kaduna, according to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Tunde Rahman. The APC presidential candidate hailed Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for raising the bar in attracting investment to the state just like he did in Lagos over 20 years ago.
Tinubu said with the support of El-Rufai, he is confident in leading the country. He said that he is confident of winning the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu begged El-Rufai to stay back in the country in 2023 to work with him if he is eventually elected president. He said, “If you leave me on the podium I will continue to campaign here, begging El-Rufai not to run away from Nigeria in 2023 because we need your creativity at this critical time.
“I am confidently telling you that I will lead this country in 2023 with your support. I can surmount all the problems and bring the country on the right track to prosperity.”
On insecurity, Tinubu said, “no inch of this country will be conceded to banditry; we will fight it to a standstill. Under my leadership, we will use counter-insurgency technology to eliminate crimes in our society and your lives will be secure.” On the role of the private sector in national economic development, Tinubu praised President Muhammadu Buhari for giving maximum support to them to flourish.
According to him, laws put in place by the Buhari administration helped to improve the ease of doing business in the country. He said if elected, his administration will build on this, making it better for the private sector to excel.
“I desire that the next administration, under my leadership, will continue to drive forward and accelerate the progress made thus far, taking bold steps and initiatives to encourage investments in new areas typically considered risky, and leading the way by providing the enabling environment to nurture our innate entrepreneurial spirit.
“It is essential that our nation continues to champion the rule of law and sanctity of contracts, for these are the prerequisites for creating a business-friendly economic environment.
“My administration would ensure that the judiciary has true financial and administrative autonomy and strong disciplinary and integrity monitoring mechanisms,” Tinubu added.
“Under my leadership, the government will place great emphasis on the use of a counter-insurgency doctrine and strategy by our military. We will continue to train and equip our gallant forces and security personnel with the resources, gear, and equipment that they need to hasten our inevitable march to a resounding victory against the enemies of our great nation. Where necessary, we will recruit and train more personnel to bridge any gaps in manpower.
“Furthermore, my administration will prioritise the use of superior aerial technology to deter criminal and terrorist activities, as well as to monitor and protect our critical national infrastructure including our network of pipelines, our power stations, our transmission and distribution networks, our sea and airports, our rail networks and other vital infrastructure,” he added.
“I will marshal a team of the most talented of Nigerians – men, women and youths – no matter their tribe and affiliations, to reset our nation on a path to achieve double-digit economic growth within a couple of years. We will do this through a coordinated set of policies in key sectors.“We will champion an efficient government that will eliminate revenue and expense leakages across all federal government areas, leveraging technology, which will be increasingly embedded into government operations.
Additionally, Tinubu pledged that his administration will give the distribution and availability of gas to power industries, top priority. In the housing sector, Tinubu pledged to implement regulations that would make it simpler to transfer titles and complete transactions involving landed properties. He also stated that his administration would collaborate with the private sector to significantly increase mortgage financing and offer credits and incentives to real estate developers.
El-Rufai pledged to stay in the country, even if it was only part-time, in response to Tinubu’s request to do so in 2023 if he were to be elected president and work alongside him.