All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday promised to use Edo State’s natural endowment to foster prosperity in the Southsouth state.
He promised to develop the gas deposit to attract revenue for the state and the country.
Tinubu also asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to desist from abusing President Muhammadu Buhari in their rallies.
He said the president is unmoved by abuses by the main opposition party, stressing that the vituperations lacked basis.
Also yesterday, the former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, said he dumped the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because the party reneged on zoning.
The eminent politician said the constant criticism of the Buhari-led APC administration by PDP is grossly misplaced, urging prospective voters to ignore the opposition party.
He said PDP leaders attacking the Buhari government know that APC in eight years has performed than 16 years of PDP.
Tinubu stressed: “People who can’t give power to Nigeria say they want to come back. In only eight years, APC put rail back. We are putting refineries back and we will produce for you.
“They can abuse Buhari from morning till night. He does not hear their abuse. Abuse him, rail he provided, Second Niger Bridge he provided, Lagos-Ibadan expressway he provided. Benin-Ore Port will be done so that you don’t need to come to Lagos to clear your goods.”
Tinubu, who spoke at a town hall meeting in Benin, Edo State capital, said if elected, the state will experience prosperity.
At the town hall meeting were Deputy Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Edo State Governor Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor, former Edo State APC governorship candidate Pastor Ize Iyamu, Minister of Youths and Sports Development Sunday Dare, and Minister of State for Labour Festus Keyamo (SAN).
Before the parley, Tinubu and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Oba of Benin, Ewuare 11.
He told the first class monarch: “You talked about the education of our children. It is in our work plan and I can tell you as I am standing here, the programme is there. Education reform will happen. We will establish students’ loans and we will minimise the interest rate and we stagger their payments and give parents relief. They do not have to be slaves to the circumstances.
“Benin is the economic centre of this region, rich in resources, rich in gas. We are working on West Africa gas that will sell in Europe. I assure you, we are going to mend all those anomalies and Edo will be a centre of economic activities for all.”
On the return of artefacts taken away from Benin, Tinubu said he will fight for restitution, if elected.
He also gave an assurance that he would support the construction of a museum to house the the artefacts.
Tinubu added: “I am here to seek your prayers. I fought for and suffered for democracy in this country. I made sacrifices. When we started these eight years, it is only normal to look forward to succession. I told President Buhari that I am running and I am running nowhere. I am running for the villa, when you move out. I want to occupy the place. Therefore, I need your blessings. The blessings are important to me.”
The Oba of Benin hailed Tinubu’s pledge to support the Benin Royal Museum, located opposite his palace, which he said would boost tourism and research.
Oba Ewuare 11 said the Federal Government had taken over the building of the museum through the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).
The former Lagos governor said Edo will make money for Nigeria and create prosperity for its people through the development of the gas deposits in the state.
Tinubu told APC stakeholders, diverse trade groups and civil society organisations that under his leadership, Nigeria will pipe gas to Europe and compete with Russia.
Emphasing the economic potentials of Edo, Tinubu said:“Nigeria will make money because Edo has largest deposit of gas. We will make money for Nigeria. There will be long term money for long term projects. We will develop our gas and ship it to Europe and compete with Russia. I am one of the smartest assets of Nigeria.”
He urged the people of Edo State to take back their state from the PDP by forging a unity of purpose with APC.
He promised to be a listening president the people of Edo State can rely on.
Tinubu said: “Edo, take your state back. First of all, let us forge unity. Let’s find the way where they say there is no way. We must rescue Edo State. I am ready to work with you. Take lantern, go from house to house. Don’t get angry. Anger does not solve problems. Disappointment is an energiser for me. You Disappoint me, I work harder. You betray me, I don’t get angry, I ignore you.
“The reason is because you are not my God and you are not my creator. My mother taught me if you are sad, I will share your sorrow with you. If you are happy, I will rejoice with you. If you are poor, I will share the little I have with you”.
The presidential candidate urged Edo people not to vote for PDP and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar because the opposition party is not organised and cannot solve the problems of the country.
He said: “You see PDP, they are scattered; they don’t know the road. Atiku does not know how to lie again, except falsifying lie upon lie. Atiku cannot hold serious job for Nigeria.
“When they were privatising Aluminium Smelter Company at Ikot Abasi and privatising NITEL, I was negotiating Free Trade Zone in China. I negotiated Lekki Deep Seaport in Singapore and it is Deepest Sea Port now in West Africa. Edo people are extremely smart. You can do the job.
“Count on me at the federal level. I will be your listening President. Vote for me. Prosperity is here. When you put down ballot paper in the box say it is for creating job. I will create jobs for you because you are not lazy.”
Tinubu compared the 16 years of PDP with eight years of APC, saying that APC has served the country better.”
He said his administration will grow the nation’s industrial base to provide decent jobs and improve the wages of Nigerians.
He added: “We must now begin to make use of all our nation’s endowments. Greater industrialisation is a vital aspect of this. Through the production of more and better goods we shall improve our standard of living, provide workers with a living wage and establish businesses that will drive our national economy for generations.”
Tinubu said also reiterated his plan for industrialisation across the country, saying that it will foster economic prosperity.
He said: “Our industrial plan shall encourage the establishment of new manufacturing concerns across the country. We see a future in which Nigeria is known as a nation that produces high quality goods worthy of export to anywhere in the world.
“To achieve this vision, we shall use an array of policy measures. On the fiscal side, we shall employ tax credits and holidays, youth employment incentives, export credits and well-tailored subsidies where necessary. On the monetary side, we will work with the banking sector to channel low interest loans to the manufacturing sector.”
Tinubu added: “We will spark a consumer credit revolution where affordable credit is available so people can purchase cars, homes and appliances without carrying the burden of paying for such costly items all at once.
“Our policies will afford local artisans and craftsmen throughout the nation the necessary tools to provide for their families and, ultimately, boost overall economic activity for the national good,” he added.
Tinubu reflected on the burning issue of new Naira note scarcity, saying that PDP is culpable.
He said: “They are lying about currency. Who gave us the CBN’s governor? Was he not inherited? We inherited him.”
However, he applauded President Buhari for agreeing to the extension of the deadline for the currency change.
He said pleas for the extension contributed to his coming late for the Edo meeting.
Tinubu stressed,: “My coming late is not intentional. It is because of the national politics; some of our cousins, our wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roast corn, they need money and they need naira in the process. If naira is cancelled the way it is and we fail to intervene, we have failed in our duties.
“We have been on this for three to four days and suddenly today, when the president said okay, out of great respect, he will consider our request for extension, we were happy. I was running back and forth on this and calling him. So, that is what we have been doing, hopefully. Even though we did not get all that we wanted, we got an extension by a number of days.”
Tinubu called for unity in Edo APC, assuring that the struggle of the oppressed lawmakers will not be in vain.
He said: “We need to address unity in our party. I wish to commend the victim 14 (APC members/members-elect of Edo House of Assembly) that were not sworn in and not allowed to sit. God will always stand by you all. I stand before you, committed to your cause. We will not let you down.”