President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will succeed him.
“Tinubu is the incoming president,” he said while paying a courtesy call on the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwan Adamu, in his palace yesterday.
A huge crowd of party faithful and supporters welcomed the APC campaign train to Bauchi, the capital of Bauchi State.
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House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila explained why the North should vote for Tinubu, saying that voting for him will validate their loyalty to the president and the ruling party.
He said Tinubu had stood behind President Buhari in two previous elections, adding that it was time the supporters of the president also rallied around him for the February poll.
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APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary Yakubu Ajaka said the days of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were numbered in the State House, advising Governor Bala Mohammed to prepare his handover notes.
Urging the people to reject PDP, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, said the party had abandoned the Northeast to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Before kicking off the rally at the Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Buhari, Tinubu, APC National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu and other party leaders paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Bauchi.
The president was led to the ancient palace by Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed, who thanked him for the Kolomani oil wells at the boundary of Bauchi and Gombe states.
President Buhari tendered his stewardship, saying: “In 2003 and 2012, I visited all the 774 local government areas in this country, and in 2019 when I was contesting for the second term, I visited all the states.
“So, there, I made the promise and the pledge that I will serve Nigeria and Nigerians to the best of my ability.”
The Emir thanked the president for the visit and urged politicians to play politics without bitterness.
While commending the governor for ensuring a level playing ground for all political parties in the state, the royal father wished the president a safe trip.
PDP abandoned the Northeast to Boko Haram, says Lawan
Lawan alleged that the PDP had abandoned the vulnerable Nigerians in the Northeast region at the mercy of Boko Haram.
He commended President Buhari for technically eradicating insurgency in the region.
He said: “Mr President, our father, mentor, the PDP abandoned the Northeast to Boko Haram until you came into office.
“In 2015, when you were sworn in, you liberated us. We in the Northeast are the most important beneficiaries of your administration because Boko Haram was technically defeated by the time you came into power.”
The crowd erupted with joy when Tinubu entered the stadium. He was cheered by supporters carrying posters, beating drums and chanting solidarity songs in Hausa.
Tinubu was accompanied by his running mate Kashim Shettima, Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni, Gombe State Governor Mohammed Inuwa, Jigawa State Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, an elder statesman, Yerima Giade, Senator Musa Salisu, Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, Salisu Ibrahim Musa Matori, former Governors Isa Yuguda and Mohammed Abubakar, and other members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and National Working Committees (NWC).
The Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, predicted victory for Tinubu.
He said: “We have no choice but to support the Tinubu-Shettima presidential ticket because that is what President Buhari wants. He wants a successor and he has found that in Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
APC Deputy National Woman Leader Maryam Katagum praised Buhari’s legacy while assuring that Bauchi women would vote for Tinubu.
Gbajabiamila said the loyal people of Bauchi will display their loyalty to Buhari by voting for the ruling party.
He said: “It’s time to recognise the love, the loyalty you have for Mr President. Bauchi is Buhari, Buhari is Bauchi and if the president is sitting down here for a campaign rally for a purpose, then, he is sitting down here to tell you that he is for APC and for Tinubu and Shettima.
“If you look to my right on top of this tower, there are two flags flying high above everywhere else. That’s the APC flag, that’s the same way the APC flag should tower above every other flag in this election.”
Lawan added: “There is something to be said about Bauchi people. You’re an extremely loyal set of people, you reward track record. Asiwaju stood with your brother, your son, through thick and thin.
“At that time, another candidate abandoned your brother, your father. It’s that time to reward loyalty.
“So, ladies and gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, when you go to the polls, Asiwaju won’t walk alone, he is going to work with the team from Bauchi.”
Prepare your handover notes, Bauchi APC tells Bala Mohammed
In a statement in Abuja, Ajaka said the huge turnout “is a verdict on the maladministration of the PDP in Bauchi state, which people are yearning for urgent change.”
Ajaka said: “Tinubu is a promise keeper and he will keep to his promise with the state and the party members if given the opportunity.
“He won’t forget this show of love which he received today in Bauchi during our presidential campaign rally.
“By February 25, it will dawn on the PDP elements in Bauchi that it is already over. I want to assure the people of Bauchi State and Nigerians that the state specifically would witness another success story by bringing back the government of the APC under the leadership of Alhaji Sadique Abubakar.
“The PDP-led government in Bauchi State should be preparing its handover notes by now because the APC is winning both the presidency for Asiwaju and the governorship election for Sadique Abubakar by a landslide.”
In his prepared speech, which he could not read at the venue, Tinubu promised to consolidate on gains of the Buhari government to foster prosperity across the country.
“Mr President, you have shown them that our party is a party of thinkers and doers; people who can find a way where there is none. We thank you for that.
“And it is this spirit of finding a way in the middle of nowhere, of drawing water from dried wells that we seek to consolidate when we succeed in getting the mandate of Nigerians.
“At a time of dwindling revenues and global economic crises, we need to explore all available resources that could help resolve our development challenges. It is for this reason that projects like Kolmani and AKK gas pipeline started by the Buhari administration will be accelerated under my leadership.”
Tinubu, who shed light on his blueprint for the nation, added: “We will create wealth through value addition across all the major planks of our economy.
“We will make farming profitable and support agro-allied industries that will help us process what we produce, instead of just selling raw produce. We will bring forth prosperity, Insha Allah!”
Tinubu also promised to prioritise security in order to engender the right environment for businesses to thrive.
“Our security forces will be adequately empowered to respond to residual challenges we are facing. You will have the peaceful environment you require to engage in productive enterprise.
“My dear people of Bauchi State, I urge you to offer me the same support you have always accorded our party, the APC, and even more. You have always loved President Buhari and his party. I count on you for victory.”