From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan, Okey Sampson, Umuahia and Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has related Nigeria to a vehicle with knocked engine caused by recklessness and quackery of its past drivers, saying a new Nigeria is possible if entrusted into the hands of trained, confident and fully qualified drivers – Baba Datti Ahmed and himself.
Obi said this during the campaign rally at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday.
Obi, who was introduced by the Director General of the Campign, Dr. Doyin Okupe, started his speech by paying glowing tributes to the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola and the current leaders of the Yorubas, especially Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who was there physically and other Afenifere members .
Obi said that by standing on the side of equity and justice, that Afenifere had stood out as one of the custodians of the conscience of the nation. He said justice, equity and fairness remained the only durable foundation for the future of a prosperous Nigeria.
Dwelling at length on the trajectory of his government, Obi said their first priority would be to secure and unite Nigeria and Nigerians, move the country from consumption to production. He also talked about bringing back the greatness of Nigerian cities by building on their strength, thus restoring Lagos as the financial capital of Africa; Ibadan as a strong industrial and educational base; the vast north as the food basket of the country.
He decried the use of tribe, religion and ethnicity as an instrument of division and vowed that Datti and himself would ignore those distractions and use their experiences as wealth creators to expand the national cake for everybody to equitably enjoy.
Earlier in his speech the acting leader of Afenifere, whose over 90 years made him an unlikely participant at a political rally, said he was determined to attend in his desire to see the birth of equitable, strong and fair Nigeria, which Obi/Datti’s candidature represented.
Adebanjo, who spoke in Yoruba said: “Today is not a day to make noise. It is a day to provide responses to some tantrums towards achieving shared meaning or understanding. For those of you that are here today and that you have been suffering for the past seven years, and that you have been calling for the re-enactment of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s regime, give me time to reply those that have been abusing me on my support for Obi.”
He asked those that have been saying that he (Adebanjo) hated the 2023 presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba man, by supporting Obi, to know that they never said he hated him when Tinubu wanted to become governor in Lagos State and how he stood with him when he (Tinubu) had some issues as governor for eight years.
But Adebanjo noted that the abuses against him for supporting an Igbo against a Yoruba did not come from Tinubu himself, but from his spokespersons. He added that he has been supporting good cause in Yorubaland when fathers of his detractors were not yet born.
“The people that have been talking about the 2023 from the prism of Yoruba or Igbo should know that the Nigerian presidency is not a matter of Yoruba or Igbo; it is about Nigeria.”
Adebanjo noted that the political arrangement that was on ground before the country’s independence, especially between 1954 and 1960, is federalism. The three blocs of Nigerian leaders then – Obafemi Awolowo from Western Region, Nnamdi Azikiwe from the Eastern Region, and Ahmadu Bello from the Northern Region – agreed on federalism.
He stated that the federalism was in operation in Nigeria even after independence, till 1966 when military intervened in Nigerian politics and changed the system of government. He added that there have been agreements that Nigerian presidency should be rotated between the North and the South.
The late Chief MKO Abiola, a Yoruba man, he said, was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll. But the election was annulled. He stated that when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Yoruba was compensated for the annulment of the Abiola’s election, through the election of another Yoruba man, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was president for two terms.
Adebanjo also noted that after Obasanjo, who is from the South, the power went back to the North and the late Umar Yar’Adua was elected. The power, he said, came back to the South after Yar’Adua, when Goodluck Jonathan became president. He noted that power also went back to the North after Jonathan, when President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
“After Buhari, the power should come to the South. Now, Obasanjo from the South West has done it and Jonathan from the South South has also done it. The South East has not done it. Will it be right for Yoruba to be the one to produce the president again? What about the Igbo? For justice, fairness and equity, ‘Igbo lo kan’ (it is the turn of Igbo to produce president of Nigeria in 2023)”
Aisha Yesuf described what is happening as the promise of a great future. She maintained that it was about time all those manifestly part of the old order cleared from the road to renewal, which Obi’s quest represented.
The LP governorship candidate in Oyo State, Taofeek Akinwale, who received the party’s flag, said: “As far as Nigeria is concerned, if you are not in the Labour Party, you are nowhere.”
National Chairman of LP, Julius Abure, noted that the people of South West have always shown the way, thanking them for their support for Obi, adding that the LP presidential candidate has the energy, capacity, pedigree, answers and solutions to the problems of Nigeria.
•Obi-Datti alleges plan to sabotage PVC collection
The Obi-Datti media organisation has raised concerns over alleged reports that the collection of PVC is not going smoothly in some centres across the nation.
The media team, in a statement, yesterday, said its attention was drawn in particular to Lagos State where in some identified areas, prospective voters wishing to collect their cards were being frustrated with all kinds of excuses.
It said it was also aware of the large inducement to some personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos to lure them into the “dubious act.”
“When we recently charged President Muhammedu Buhari and the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, to walk the talk of their promise to conduct free and fair elections in 2023, we expect that they should be concerned about all pre-election day activities.
•APGA BoT member donates buses, other items
A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chikwe Udensi, has donated two buses, a command and control unit as well as a monitoring system to support the election of the LP candidate.
Udensi, an Interpol Systems Consultant announced the donations when he hosted Obi for the second time.
According to Udensi, the system allows for the monitoring of over 176,000 polling units in the country to ensure there are no incidences and where there is one, they are resolved immediately.
“It is an incidence-recording office device with high resolution servers and computers and it helps in monitoring the election in all angles.
“We have also trained 40 volunteers, one person for each state and the FCT, plus extra three persons who will serve as the coordinators. They are to assist in monitoring the units with the high-tech systems we have provided,” he said.
Udensi described Peter Obi as the best of all the presidential candidates.
“It has not happened since the return of democracy in 1999, no governor has left office and left the government account in green but Peter Obi is the only one who left billions of Naira along with investments. We must have to commend him.”
He insists that the situation of the country demands emergency and not just about party politics, stressing that Peter Obi is the only person that has the capacity to rescue Nigeria.
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From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan, Okey Sampson, Umuahia and Adanna Nnamani, Abuja Presidential candidate of the Labour Party…
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