All Progressives Congress( APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore any letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and seek re-election.
Obasanjo, in an open statement, urged Buhari to stay off the race next year and become a statesman. But, to Tinubu, the former President is a busybody and not a democrat whose letter to Buhari had been marked as “not delivered”.
He said the successful hosting of the party’s national convention had proven wrong those who predicted its explosion.
He insisted that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) was a party of the past which had been deserted.
Tinubu, who spoke shortly after the inauguration of the new National Working Committee of APC, led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said Obasanjo had no democratic credentials to ask Buhari not to run.
He said: “If anybody must blame you at all; it’s over-democratisation. Those who asked me not to follow and support a General should better look at their house; it has been deserted; it is a house of frustration and migration to other parties.
“I remember one Uncle backdoor, who has been a General himself and who has been elected President; I call him election rigger.
“ Let us compare the two of you. The man had the temerity to write a letter, not to the post office. We said, ‘no; we are not using the post office like that anymore, we are now using email. Your letter is not delivered, you are analogue’.
“If he had the temerity to say Buhari must not run again, in which party? Thank God he is not a member of our party, we hold our future in our hands. What is your business, busybody? Unfortunately, he has torn the card of his previous party, his own legacy. So, he has none anymore.
“Now we have a General that they asked me not to follow. They said if you call yourself a democrat, don’t follow this man. I said I am not mad enough to listen to your lies. Thank you Muhammadu Buhari for the job you are doing up till today.
“You have not set half of the records of this General who is not a democrat. He does not know the meaning of democracy. You have not tried to dismantle the National Assembly and impeach or remove a governor with six out of 38 members. You have not done criminal assault on democracy and they are writing letters.
“Today, through convention, we have changed the leadership of our party, but not at gunpoint as it was done to Mr. Audu Ogbeh.
“Our new elected National Chairman, our new elected national executives, to my friends the governors, to my dear citizens and members of our great party, the challenge is confronting us. We thank God that we have been able to be strong enough to stop 16 years of their looting and broken promises. There is no way we face 16 years of looting, abuse of power , denial, hunger and be able to perform within three years.
“Mr. President, we thank you that you have offered yourself again, run, contest, you must.”
Tinubu said he almost doubted if the convention would hold until he was proved wrong by the commitment and dedication of the National Convention Committee, headed by Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State.
He added: “Sometimes a steel can melt. Mr. calculator, thank you; Badaru, you have delivered. The pigs and their fortune tellers said there will be explosion today. They predicted that our party will fall apart; that we will never see this party again. You navigated a very complex situation since you became the chairman of this convention committee.
“In fact, a week ago, I almost changed my name to Thomas because I doubted if it was possible to hold this convention today. I gave you a call, are you set? You said ‘no, Asiwaju. Even though I have not spoken to the President, we are doing fine.’ Thank you to all of you (all the members) that showed dedication and commitment and good party leaders to deliver today for us. May God bless you.”
Tinubu said the APC had come of age within a short time.
He said: “To our party members, in less than five years, our dream of a united party came to fruition. That we need a very strong party to face the party of the past who had spent 16 years of our precious life to demolish our economy, frustrated our people and led us almost astray. We said then: ‘enough is enough.’
“We came together; they called us all sort of names, they said it was impossible. We bunched together with just a great symbol of our party, the broom. We brought the revolution about, we got an Army General (retired) to lead us among other Generals.
“Some of them called me, they said ‘we don’t want the General’. One member said: ‘It cannot be General; he was tired of the Generals. I said until we finished with Boko Haram and looting we need one more General at least. Sai Baba and you lived up to the expectations in facing all the challenges.
“Cast your mind back, dear members. When we came together, there were 12 cases in court to stop us from being registered, to stop us from bearing our name (APC), and we said these people in court were the headache of Nigeria and we said they needed a cure , they needed the medicine of APC.
“Here, I must thank the Judiciary for being steadfast in the face of all intimidation, threat. And now, INEC registered the party, they registered our name. We marched on and led by this simple-minded General who is today a great democrat.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki said: “With Oshiomhole, I can see that there is hope and a future in what he has promised. We look to the future and as we do that, we must ask ourselves, ‘how have we been successful so far? How were we able to win an election against all forms of opposition?”
“We did it because we were courageous and because we had leadership led by the President. We did it because we came together united and with a focus and direction. We did it because we made sacrifices and worked as a team. That was what we did to make this achievement. Can we do it again? Of course, we can. We do have challenges, but the responsibility of leadership is to tackle challenges and take them head-on. It is irresponsible of leadership to take on challenges and find solutions.
“You have spoken so well by admitting that there are challenges and I am happy that you promised to set to work to address those challenges. These are those who are supposed to be here because we need everybody. We want everybody so that we can carry on with the assignment that Nigerians have given us. The intention of all of us is to make Nigeria better and move forward.
House Speaker Yakubu Dogara said: ”Oshiomhole’s leadership skills will be tested and the job is neatly cut out for him. The challenges the face are enormous.
“But there are no challenges that have no solutions and if we search deeper, we will definitely find solutions to all the challenges confronting this movement.
“I know that with the deep knowledge and rich pedigree that he brings to the table, by the grace of God, we will bid bye to most of our problems.
“One issue that I want to dwell on is the issue of justice, which we know Mr. President stands on. He stands for the common man. It is, therefore, very important the new leadership creates equal opportunity for the weak and the strong.
“Challenges will come, but we must always rise against them. I want to also charge you to maintain the culture of democracy, which is conflict, compromise, consensus and progress. Without conflict, there cannot be progress.”
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