The Presidency has distanced President Muhammadu Buhari from what it terms a ‘malicious campaign’ aiming to drive a wedge between him and a staunch ally, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In a statement on Friday, the president’s special adviser on media, Garba Shehu, said those attempting to estrange the two leaders are doing so with reference to a statement President Buhari made in a recent interview.
According to Mr. Shehu, the president stated in the interview that nobody but the APC would determine the zoning and selection of where the next President will come from.
The president’s special aide said the twisting of his principal’s statement is nothing short of a mischievous attempt to drag the Buhari into controversies.
Shehu urged citizens and especially the members of the All Progressives Congress, APC not to fall for the scheme.
Buttressing his point further, the special adviser said the mention Buhari made of Lagos was not a reference to the respected party leader, Senator Bola Tinubu as the “opposition party’s predatory designs” would put it in order to damage the excellent relationship between the two of them.
He maintained that President Buhari, the Asiwaju, and the rapidly growing members of the party want a dynastic succession of elected leaders, adding that the APC should not be distracted from its progress as a democratic party.
“The Ruling party, the APC, unlike others before it is a popular political party owned by its entire membership, hence Mr. President was making the point during the 45-minutes interview that neither he nor anyone in the leadership could impose their wishes on the party.
“This is a basic consensus that binds the entire party leadership.
“The party leaders remain firmly committed to the principles that succession must be through the democratic norms and processes,” the president’s special adviser assured.
The long-sought relief from choking vehicular gridlocks may have finally come the way of residents in the Agege-Abule Egba axis of Lagos State.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, commissioned the Pen Cinema Bridge and five arterial road networks in the area, formally opening the infrastructure for public use.
The commissioning marked the fulfillment of another campaign promise made by Sanwo-Olu to residents, who daily endured pain in commuting within the axis in the last four years.
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had the honour to inaugurate the projects, which he described as “needed catalyst” for the resuscitation of economic activities on the axis.
The construction of the 1.4-kilometer-long flyover was part of the recommendation at the Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti) under ex-Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration, as a strategic intervention to achieving significant traffic improvement in the densely populated area. The last administration created the right-of-way and set up the structural beams; Governor Sanwo-Olu substantially completed civil works on the bridge.
The imposing overpass ascends from Oba Ogunji Road and drops at the Oke Koto area of Agege. The bridge also opens to the old Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway through Abule Egba.
A tumultuous crowd of joyous residents joined Gov. Sanwo-Olu and members of the State’s cabinet in handing over the bridge for public use.
The Governor described the delivery of the project as a “landmark progress” in the State Government’s drive towards eliminating bottlenecks causing suffocating gridlocks and relieving residents of stress associated with commuting on roads.
Sanwo-Olu said the two-pronged approach, which his administration deployed to deliver critical infrastructure, gave priority to continuation and completion of strategic projects, regular maintenance, and construction of new ones in line with the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP).
He said his government decided to continue the project because it was in tune with the first pillar of his administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, which targets the provision of roads for expedited economic growth and seamless mobility.
He said: “I am delighted to stand before Lagosians today to celebrate the delivery of this landmark project, which again, reflects our administration’s belief in the principle of continuity in governance and demonstrates our commitment to the urgency of infrastructure development and the welfare of our people. The completion of this flyover and five networks of roads sends a strong message about our determination to accelerate our futuristic vision for a world-class transportation system complemented by a good network of roads for social and economic transformation.
“In order to address the challenge of huge traffic burden, the immediate past administration initiated and commenced the construction of a precast and pre-stressed reinforced concrete of 1.4km dual-carriage flyover and ramp, with road works across the Agege-Pen Cinema Intersection. As of May 2019 when this administration was inaugurated, this project was at about 20 percent progress. With the delivery of this bridge, which is complemented with traffic signalisation and drainage channels, we have resolved the perennial traffic arising from huge human and vehicular movement from Agege-Pen Cinema Intersection towards Abule Egba, Fagba, Oke Koto, and Iyana Ipaja.”
To achieve a quick turnaround in commuting on the bridge, Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his Government identified and reconstructed five strategic arterial roads with good connectivity to adjoining roads that could serve as alternative bypasses to other routes in periods of heavy traffic.
The Governor said since road transportation remained crucial to economic growth and physical development, he believed the project would inject more life into the socio-economic activities of people living and doing business in the area.
He said: “A key outcome from the strategic execution of this magnificent Pen Cinema Flyover project is that our administration has again demonstrated the priority it accords to the wellbeing of our people. It is a true test of our commitment to the Greater Lagos vision and a reflection of the achievability of our audacious socio-economic goals. In the course of implementing this project, we created jobs for about 380 people including engineers, supervisors, artisans, and others- a clear indicator of the nexus between infrastructure development and employment generation.”
Sanwo-Olu pledged that his administration would not relent in provision of infrastructure for coordinated and sustainable development that would help to improve the State’s performance on the Ease of Doing Business index.
Tinubu expressed confidence in Sanwo-Olu’s leadership, noting that the Governor had stabilised and brought Lagos back on a focused journey, despite economic turbulence occasioned by Coronavirus (COVID-19) and coordinated destruction of the State’s assets.
The APC National Leader, who described Sanwo-Olu as “a brilliant captain”, praised the collaboration between the executive and the legislative arms in the State.
He said: “This is a commendable achievement by Sanwo-Olu, who has further brought Lagos on the path of progress, given the economic resuscitation this infrastructure will bring on this axis and entire Lagos. May you continue to think and perform to demonstrate excellent results as you have done today.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye said the axis on which the flyover is sited is one of the busiest in vehicular activities in Lagos, saying the bridge would bring back convenience to millions of residents commuting in the area.
She said: “The entire project consists of a dual carriageway, with a bridge component of two lanes with 3.65 cm width in either direction. The road component consists of service lanes on either side of the bridge with median, kerbs, and walkways that are complete with signalised traffic system. There are junction improvements with LED streetlight features.”
Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, who represents Agege in the Assembly, described Governor Sanwo-Olu as “a proactive, wonderful performer”, who always accomplishes any projects he promises.
The adjoining roads commissioned with the flyover are Iju Road, Oba Ogunji Road, Agunbiade Road, Oke Koto Intersection, and Iyana Ipaja link road.
According to the Senate President, himself and Tinubu had in previous meetings admitted to, and raised several issues within the party.
He said, “I can also vividly recall that he (Tinubu) himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office. I also made the point that whatever travails I have gone through in the last three years belong to the past and will not shape my decisions now and in the future.
“However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between Tinubu and I is that while I expressed my worries that there is nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years in a manner that will enable us to deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-west. This viewpoint of Tinubu’s was not only expressed to me but to several of my colleagues, so much for acting in national interest.
“It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting the collective national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies of the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023.
“This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency — particularly when one reviews his antecedents over the years,” the statement read in part.
He further explained that his complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014 when himself (Saraki) and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement for the 2015 polls.
According to him, the APC national leader has since then made all efforts to undermine him, by peddling falsehood.
“It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 General Elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones.
“Since that time he has been very active; plotting at every point to undermine me, both within and outside the National Assembly,” Saraki stated.
A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has denied rumours that he may be chosen by President Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate in 2019.
He described the report by a national daily, as a “classic case of utterly and irredeemably-fake news”.
In a statement by his media officer, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu said he and the people of the South-west “have absolute confidence and are exceedingly proud of the excellent job Professor Osinbajo is doing as Vice President of Nigeria”.
The report dated Wednesday, had claimed that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was considering returning to full church work and that Tinubu was being mooted as a replacement for him.
Tinubu, however, noted that there was no empirical or logical basis for the speculative story, adding that it was merely an attempt to distract the government from continuing its good work.
The statement read in part: “There is no empirical or logical basis for this mischievously speculative story. Is it even conceivable, as the story recklessly insinuates, that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would be considering returning to full church work rather than run with his boss, President Buhari for a second term if the latter so decides without as much as discussing such a sensitive issue with his party and with Asiwaju Tinubu? In any case, is this story not entirely unwarranted and indefensible as the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket has an electoral mandate of four years out of which it has spent only two and a half years?
“It is clearly an attempt to distract the APC Federal Government from the yeoman’s job it has been doing in rescuing the country from the deep-rooted socio-economic, political, security and moral mess inherited from the PDP’s 16 years misrule of Nigeria, instigate crisis within the party, stoke dangerous embers of religious disaffection within the party and the country generally and stem the remarkable progress being made in the reinvention and revitalization of Nigeria.
“The Buhari and Osinbajo-led Federal Government is deftly steering the country out of an economic recession that was the result of the ineptness of the PDP years of the locusts. Asiwaju Tinubu will never support any attempt to distract Buhari and Osinbajo from the job they are passionately doing through this kind of false report.
“In particular, this story does great injustice to Vice President Osinbajo. Here is a man of the highest integrity, moral rectitude, amazing humility, high intellect and unimpeachable credibility.
“Here is a man of fierce loyalty and absolute trustworthiness who will never do anything in word, thought or deed to undermine his boss. His unquestionable dependability and indisputable fidelity to his oath of office was demonstrated beyond question by his honourable conduct during the President’s medical vacation.
“Asiwaju Tinubu and the people of the South West have absolute confidence and are exceedingly proud of the excellent job Professor Osinbajo is doing as Vice President of Nigeria,” he added.
The Osun State House of Assembly under the leadership of Hon. Najeem Salam, has felicitated with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the Celebration of his 65th birthday.
In a statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, the Assembly described Tinubu as a quintessential, larger than life politician, with a passion for democratic ideals and commitment to national development.
“The former governor of Lagos state is a man of many parts, a bridge builder, philanthropist, master strategist and patriot who in many ways has raised the standard of civilization and human dignity.
“Nigeria owes Tinubu a huge gratitude for his determination, consistency, doggedness, vision and fearless disposition in the strengthening and enthronement of good governance in the country”.
The parliament noted that Tinubu, who is acknowledged by friends and foe, far and near, as a rounded politician, pathfinder, investor, generous and people person, said, through his extra ordinarily large heart and unusual magnanimity of character, he had raised countless men from miry clay, produced several remarkable politicians and business leaders.
The Assembly then advised him to remain focused in the days and years ahead in ensuring that democracy which he bravely fought for is not left to drift or suffer any form of setback.
While wishing him many more years in radiant health, the Assembly added that his many legacies and contributions to nation building, party politics and wealth creation are eloquent testimonies of his great personality as a distinguished Nigerian.
APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is expected in Borno state, northeast of Nigeria on Monday, to commission 432 resettlement houses for victims of the Boko Haram insurgence.
He is also expected to commission 13 Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, a General Hospital, five Primary Healthcare centres, as well as irrigation items, mobile fish ponds among other projects.
In addition, the former Lagos State Governor is expected to commission 26 luxury apartments in five detached three story buildings located in Maiduguri, to serve as residence for medical doctors working in Government Hospitals which Governor Shettima has named ‘Bola Tinubu Court’.
The Media Adviser to the state governor, said in a statement that Tinubu would be the first in the lineup of VIPs invited by Governor Kashim Shettima starting from March till the end of May 2017, to commission series of projects executed by him in the face of the Boko Haram insurgency.
It was also revealed that the wife of a former President of Nigeria, Maryam Abacha, is expected to visit the state after Mr Tinubu, to commission a 250-bed ultra-modern hospital for women and children, also named after her.
Located along Dikwa road in Maiduguri, the large hospital complex built by Governor Shettima is the first hospital dedicated for women and Zannah said reasons for honouring both Tinubu and Maryam Abacha will be explained in the course of events scheduled for the commissioning exercises.
Most of the projects to be commissioned are located in Ngamdu, Benisheikh, Mainta Kururi, Tamsukawu, Mainok and Auno villages.
In a statement issued in London on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP and the Jonathan Administration still do not have any answer to what has now become an epochal moment that has separated the wheat from the chaff.
”Our presidential candidate’s globally-acclaimed outing has presented Nigerians, and indeed the global community, to choose between an ineffective, incoherent, and incompetent President and an assertive, knowledgeable, dignified, purposeful and principled President-in-waiting.
”Having failed to discredit that outing with a rented crowd, some of whom confessed to have been paid to carry placards they do not understand, the PDP and the Jonathan Administration had resorted to making nauseating claims that were totally untrue, absolutely incomprehensible” it said.
APC said the claim was the latest in a series of desperate moves by the PDP and the Jonathan Administration since the emergence of Gen. Buhari as the APC presidential candidate, and the clearest indication yet that they had no answer to the unstoppable momentum of a man of history.
”They had thrown everything imaginable at Gen. Buhari, but he had continued to wax stronger and stronger: They said he was not qualified, that he was too old, then they fabricated a medical report of an illness of their own choice, sponsored death wish adverted against him and instituted a myriad of court cases to stop him.
”After they failed to stop him, they went after the election itself, using the PVCs as a tool to launch a campaign for postponement and, when they realized that would not work, came up with the bogey of insecurity in the North-east to force a postponement of the election, hoping they could buy enough time to revive their electoral misfortune.
”With everything working against them, they engaged in a show of shame at The Chatham House that backfired badly, on the heels of their bare-faced lies that Gen. Buhari was hospitalized in London. The preposterous claim of a secret oath – reminiscent of what they do in their own party – by the spokesman of the Jonathan Campaign Organization, Femi Fani-Kayode, is their latest desperate act,” the party said.
APC said in as much as it had so far refrained from engaging Fani-Kayode in his game of character, abuses and irresponsible name calling, the party was becoming seriously concerned that he may be caving under pressure and reverting to his undignified past of substance abuse.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to mete out appropriate sanctions to anyone who has violated its ban on early campaigns for the 2015 elections.
The charge, is in view of the “First Lady-driven phantom peace rally, that is actually a facade for electioneering campaign, if the electoral umpire’s ban on such campaigns is to be taken seriously”. the newly registered opposition party said.
The APC also challenged the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency image makers to tell Nigerians why the ruling party has allegedly failed to lift the country in the past 14 years.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also asked the presidency to tell Nigerians why its has allegedly defied INEC rules by continuing to campaign for the 2015 elections.
”Issues, issues and issues. These are what Nigerians are interested in, not continuous muck-raking about opposition leaders like Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. For example, Nigerians want to know why the country can still not feed itself after 14 years of endless promises by the PDP; Nigerians want to know why they cannot be protected by their government when the security of lives and property is the rason d’etre of any government.
”Nigerians want to know why over 40 million youth cannot get a job under a government that gleefully touts a 6% GDP growth; Nigerians want to know how 400,000 barrels of oil are being stolen daily and who the thieves are’ Nigerians want to know why the country is more divided than ever under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan, and why corruption has become a bigger monster in the years under the PDP.
”The 2015 elections will be fought on the platform of issues, not meaningless attacks on personalities and attention-diverting tales like how Gen. Buhari wants to stage a comeback or how Asiwaju Tinubu wants to expand his imaginary empire,” it said.
APC said the reason its leaders have put national interests above personal considerations is to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of the PDP and a mediocre presidency, both of which have failed the citizenry and dimmed their hopes, not because of power-for-power sake, which is the mantra of the do-nothing PDP, the statement added.
”Our eight cardinal programmes, which we shall be articulating in the days ahead, represent a summary of how we intend to rescue the long-suffering citizens and rescue our nation. These are War Against Corruption, Food security, Accelerated Power Supply, Integrated Transport Network, Free Education, Devolution of Power, Accelerated Economic Growth and Affordable Health Care.
”Our Guiding Philosophy will derive its impetus from these seven principles: Belief in, and the fear of God; Upholding the rule of law; Preserving national unity; Pursuit of a just and egalitarian society; Building of strong institutions; Commitment to social justice and economic progress; and Promoting representative and functional participatory democracy.
”These are the issues we will be enunciating in the days ahead as we steer the politics of our nation away from jejune matters that are at the core of the PDP misrule to serious issues of relevance that will benefit our people under an APC federal government,” the party said.
It said a party that defies rules and lies through its teeth cannot be trusted to rule over a people who are eager for their country to join the comity of developed nations.
”While one of the PDP gong-bearers, Okupe, was telling Nigerians that President Jonathan has not informed anyone that he will contest in 2015, his wife was coercing hundreds of hapless women, including those in uniform, into a show of shame tagged a ”Peace Rally”, but in essence a campaign for President Jonathan ahead of 2015.
”Defying INEC, this brazen campaign featured women clad in specially-made ‘ankara’ that bore the picture of President Jonathan and reminds one of the disgraceful days of the late despot Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire, and the late clownish leader of Uganda, Idi Amin. What a company to keep in the 21st century!
”In what must be ranked as the first of its kind in Nigeria, women drawn from various security agencies – the same that will be expected to provide security for the 2015 elections – were coerced into a march of shame, as organizers of the campaign masquerading as a peace rally blocked traffic and prevented citizens from earning their daily bread. Yet, Okupe said his boss has not told anyone he will run, and had the temerity to insult the media by saying they have been taken over by a few people. The good news is that Nigerians are far smarter than their present rulers and therefore cannot be fooled,” APC said.