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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Will You Vote Tinubu As APC Or Independent Candidate? – By Ikeddy Isiguzo



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A Major Commentator on Minor Issues

Whether he speaks by himself or sustains his presidential campaigns by proxies, it is time Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu told Nigerians if he was running on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, or as an independent candidate.

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He should address the matter urgently.

People are busy discussing how Tinubu licked a microphone while testing it. Few would be surprised that he mistook “testing” for “tasting”. Others concentrate on his health, indeterminate identity, character, his Chicago street years. Still others are about his certificates, career history, and his claims to developing Lagos.

So, if Tinubu by sly addresses these concerns or ignores them as he has successfully done, he should get the votes to be President of Nigeria? Why are we so blasé?

We joke so much that neither the present nor the future seems important. Even if the past has passed, is Tinubu of the present different from Tinubu of APC in 2015? Has his muddled identity extended to the last eight years?

Tinubu’s political sagacity got us to where we are. His boasts about making Buhari president confirms that he is a major source of challenges we have faced in the past eight years.

He insults Nigerians daily with his pride in being the facilitator of our woes. He reminds us, lest we forget, that he would continue from where Buhari stopped.

Nobody can easily forget his public battles for Buhari. At campaigns he shouted himself coarse about how APC would turn Nigeria to paradise. He nicely listed the issues and their solutions through Buhari who within a month of being in office started complaining that the presidency was too burdensome for his age.

APC has a manifesto that pin-pointed its covenant with Nigerians to figures. It said it would kick off the economy with six regional economic commissions that would get N50 billion funding per region. Corruption  would be wiped out completely. APC rather multiplied corruption. Yet Tinubu at campaigns speak glibly about corruption, accusing others, not APC. Where are the millions of jobs and houses APC said it would create annually?  Where are the promised electricity, health services, youth empowerment?

The Auditor-General of the Federation has alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC,  Limited exported 17.877 million barrels of crude without proper documentation in four years. The report is published on the website of the Auditor-General of the Federation.  The product valued at $1,020,969,281.12, according to the report, was exported by NNPC between 2016 and 2020. Of course, that is firmly under APC’s watch. NNPC has denied the report.

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Corruption has become central to governance.  Cost of petroleum subsidy keeps increasing, just like crude oil theft where government reels out statistics of the losses while the thieves strut sround. The school feeding programme was carried on when schools were shut down over COVID-19. The Minister said it identified pupils’ homes and delivered food to them during the lockdown. This remains one of the best examples of the boldness of corruption in the APC administration.

Budget padding has been mainstreamed into the nation’s public finance processes. APC has led us to Ministers publicly accusing the Minister of Finance of padding the budget. Buhari responded by signing the budget into law. The Debt Management Office has told Nigerians that a debt of N77 trillion awaits the in-coming government. The assumption is that Buhari will not borrow more in his remaining months.

Should a government drenched in debt not show interests in identified cases of government resources that have been mis-managed? Not the APC government of Buhari. It would rather borrow more than recover the funds.

Muhammed Kazaure Gudaji, an APC member of the House of Representatives for the Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa, Yankwashi Constituency of Jigawa State, has been driving moves to at least investigate N89 trillion from stamp duties that  accumulated over the years. The responsible government agencies deny knowledge of where the funds are warehoused. Kazaure said that a Nigerian forensic auditor told him about the money.

Government’s attention on the matter is momentary. Who would accommodate it in the fleeting days to the end of the Buhari administration. To his credit, Buhari told us he was tired less than a month in office, but such a man of integrity sought a second term riddled with incapacity to act for the greater good.

There was a joke about insecurity during the 2015 campaign that swept Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, into office. Buhari, a major general had enough experience of the North East, where he was a military government, and the zone which was under him as the General Officer Commanding the Third Division of the Nigerian Army from Rukuba Barracks, Jos, that he would bring normalcy to the area.

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If the matter went beyond physical prowess, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, a senior pastor in his congregation, was expected to go spiritual and fire away insecurity.

The lastest jokes on insecurity are evident in Buhari’s trite claims that the country is under less threat than he met it.

Insecurity that was mostly in the North East in 2015 has been spread across the country with no effective response from the government. The Commander-in-Chief is ensconced from blames. The people are to blame for not securing themselves.

What is the point of building rails, roads and bridges that people cannot use because they have to deal with kidnappers? Why did the government invest billions in agricultural loans, much of which government admits was stolen, when kidnappers have taken over the farm?

APC brought untold misery to Nigerians. No apologies, no explanations for throwing millions of more Nigerians into poverty. We are told that without Buhari the country would have been doomed. We should be grateful for the minimal damage he did.

Everything about APC is huge joke and so is its candidate Tinubu who carries on as if he is an independent candidate. He believes that the presidency is his entitlement.

He dredges up his credentials with the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, in the fight to restore democratic rule, as if they exculpate him from dragging Nigeria into darkness, all to water the grounds of his claim to be president.

Nigerians should note how Tinubu distances himself from the achievements of APC because he knows APC has brought unimaginable ruination to the country. He campaigns as if he is an independent candidate since he does not want to account for the wreckage of the locusts that gained power with his support.

Nigerians are waiting for a tired Buhari and APC to leave on 29 May. They would say so at the polls.

Tinubu, his unsteady gait, gaffes, incontinence, tasting the microphone, and other befuddlement he would use to divert focus aside, should account for APC’s mis-governance. He cannot gloss over our woes from APC.

Let those who insist on Tinubu be reminded that he has told us he would continue the APC/Buhari agenda. How will Nigerians survive the burden of APC back to back?

Those are questions Tinubu should answer. He does not because he is so entitled that the people no longer count. He doesn’t need your votes.

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