Tinubu Urges Ondo APC To Unite For Victory

All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday urged party members in Ondo State to unite and support the winner of the party’s ticket.

“In Ondo we must close ranks to achieve victory. The future of the state and of the party in the state should never be held ransom to insignificant personal animosities and perceived slights,” he said in a statement.

According to him, after years of misgovernance and suppression of the state’s immense potential, Ondo people have a chance to break those shackles and move themselves toward progress, justice and prosperity, which he said are their due.

Tinubu believes the APC must win the November 26 election to restore democracy and the virtues of public service to the state.

“This is what the people desire and deserve. They have waited patiently. Now is the time to answer their call. This is our duty as a party and as people who care about their fellow man,” Tinubu said.

To him, any of the APC governorship aspirants is better and more qualified than the candidate of the party he said would soon be ousted because of its poor stewardship.

“No matter who that person shall be, it will be incumbent on us as a party and as individuals who want better for the people of Ondo to put aside our minor differences in order to rally around the candidate.

“Brothers and friends squabble and argue. That is human nature, but in the face of opposition that is determined to do injustice, brothers and friends reunite in common cause. This, the APC in Ondo must do.

“You all know what is at stake. You all know what your conscience is telling you. There can be no excuses or failure this time,” Tinubu said.

The former Lagos State Governor said Ondo must not miss the opportunity to place itself on the “correct path”.

He added that for the “great change” to take place, governance must move from where it is held captive and into the hands of the APC.

“However, we cannot accomplish this great deed through petty bickering or by allowing our very opponents to sow discord among us. Our mission is too important and too humane to allow ourselves to be divided or sidetracked. We must remember what is truly at stake.

“Ondo will either renew the way of progress or it will continue to be oppressed. The APC is the way of progress. Thus, let us make this progress hand in hand, united in our belief that we can make Ondo better.

“The APC must go into the governorship as united in focus and purpose. All else is secondary to this objective. The journey to reestablishing governance for the people and for posterity begins with the primaries this Saturday,” Tinubu said.

According to him, during such tight competition within a party to choose a candidate, tensions always mount and often-harsh things are spoken.

He urged party members to keep their differences aside and work toward achieving victory for the party.

The statement added: “This back and forth, this committed dialogue, is an integral part of the democratic process. And it is this process that we have enshrined and shall cherish in this party.

“Party members have the right to speak their mind. They can levy criticism where they believe it is warranted yet also give commendation where it is due. They can comment on the quality of the process as well as endorse or oppose any candidate as they see fit.

“This process may not be neat and tidy because it is not choreographed or scripted in advance. What it is important is that it is fair to all who come into it. All those who have entered the contested primaries have a chance to win.

“In the end, as with any political contest, only one person will be chosen. Yet, that process would have been fair and open, all party members would have won. Democracy would have won and most importantly the people of Ondo will stand to win come the general election.

“These primaries will be enriched by the participation of all. At the end of a fair and transparent process, our champion in the state will be selected from among this excellent field.

“We all must focus on what is more precious than our personal ambitions and more durable than our individual wishes. We must dedicate ourselves to uplifting this state and the very lives of the people of this state and nation. All is minor and a distraction in comparison to this sound goal.

“Victory is within your grasp. Don’t let it fall away because you were deceived into reaching for something less valuable and more base.

“The key to the victory resides in how well you conduct yourselves after the primary. Joined in unified and fraternal purpose, there is no gathering or alignment of forces in the state that can best you. You must choose the history you seek. This cannot and will not be done in Abuja or anywhere else for that matter.

“Your walk toward destiny takes a momentous step with a successful primary. After that, all of the party, including its leaders will join the campaign trail in full support and commitment to the candidate you select that we may achieve victory over a spent and undesirable PDP.”

Subsidy Had To Go, Jonathan’s SURE-P Was A Fraud – Tinubu

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians not to lament the removal of fuel subsidy, which he described as a heavy yoke that the government could not allow to linger.

The former Governor of Lagos State said for almost three decades, the country had entertained distortions in the downstream oil sector by operating an opaque system susceptible to manipulations and structured in a way that allowed a few people to gain mightily from the system and feed fat on the misery and frustration of millions of Nigerians.

Tinubu said this on Thursday in a statement entitled, ‘Ending price fixing, the making of economic sense’.

He said it was understandable that the new pricing decision elicited mixed reactions from a cross-section of Nigerians as fuel subsidy had been with the nation for such a long period that it seemed an integral part of the country’s political and economic life.

“However, we should not lament the departure of something just because of its longevity, particularly, when that very policy had ceased to serve us long ago,” he stated.

The APC leader said the decision to end the subsidy was hard but inevitable, adding that it had transformed into a system where wrongdoers benefitted at the expense of the innocent.

“The bogus supplier was paid for supplying nothing, while you sweated in long queues for fuel that was never there. The smuggler secreted fuel across the border, while our economy crossed the border into fuel scarcity,” he added.

Tinubu said as the price stayed fixed at a low level, investors were apprehensive about fixing existing or building new refineries, and the petrochemical industry remained unfertilised because potential investors could not decipher how they could make a decent return under such a pricing regime.

According to him, because of these imbalances, the nation was forced to export hard currency and many jobs to purchase fuel and other products abroad.

He said, “While the price of fuel was cheap on paper, these were the hidden costs that made the subsidy regime an expensive and heavy yoke that the nation could not continue. With dwindling revenue from oil due to the slump in global oil prices and a dwindling forex reserve, the country could no longer live in denial.

“President (Muhammadu) Buhari, after carefully weighing the options, decided to do what is right. In an act of courage, he removed the oil subsidy, thereby freeing the downstream component of this strategic sector of the economy from the distortions of price fixing.”

The APC leader, however, stated that the decision should not be a step towards conservative austerity as practiced by the former government, which he said simply wanted to end the programme to “prove obedient to neoliberal economic doctrines.”

“They offered no programmes of valid compensation to the people. Instead, they instigated a policy of monumental fraud known as SURE-P. However, the only thing sure about it was that its architects would siphon the public’s funds to fatten their own wallets. They wanted to save money (for themselves) yet exploited the people for no good reason at all,” he added.

Tinubu said the Buhari government took a vastly different approach, adding, “Given the inefficiencies inherent in the pricing regime, this administration asked the fundamental question: could this money be better spent to help the most vulnerable of our people?

“For it was also recognised that the pricing regime was a regressive feature. Its benefit went disproportionately to the rich who needed no such help. Better to use the sums to more directly and exclusively assist the poor and working class Nigerians.”

He said Buhari followed through with a N500bn fund to support a social safety programme and empower the poor and needy, adding that five million school children would be fed for 200 days, among other plans of funding social infrastructure, education, transportation, health and other critical areas needing attention.

The APC leader stated, “What the President did is about the future of our country and that of the next generation. This government is transferring the funds to better spend them and better save the people.

“Nothing in this world is perfect but this decision is a just and correct one aimed at bolstering the economy, while caring better for those the system has unfairly treated.”

New Fuel Price: A Much Better Deal For Nigerians By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The President’s decision to reallocate funds once earmarked for the fuel subsidy and commit these to other more socially productive services and undertakings was a difficult decision. It was also a necessary one. Politically, it would have been easy for the president to sit back and let the subsidy remain in place, yet in the art of governance, the easiest policy is rarely the best one.

As originally envisioned, subsidy formed a basic part of the social contract between the people and government. It was a benefit all were to enjoy. Yet, because past governments were not for and of the people, the true meaning and objective of the subsidy policy became lost.

Over the years, the operation of the measure was distorted to where it no longer functioned for the benefit of the masses but for the undue enrichment of a small club of businessmen, some legitimate in their work, some not. Instead of remaining a positive aspect of the social contract, subsidy was transformed into an opaque haven of intrigue and malfeasance.

It was turned into a shadowy process from which the unscrupulous extracted large sums of money without providing the services and products duly paid for. Fake businessmen became true billionaires over night as if by supernatural force. They paraded themselves as such.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation, the innocent people, where left to face erratic supply and were made to groan in the misery of long fuel queues and the high costs and loss of time attendant to this situation. To allow this unfairness to continue would have been a breach of the promise made by this government to the people.

While we all have an emotional and sympathetic attachment to the ideals upon which subsidy was founded, we all must recognise that the institution was hijacked years ago. Instead of a bonus to the masses, it became a factory of corrupt enrichment, so imbued with trickery deceit and theft, it stopped serving the interests of the people. It became a weapon of profiteering.

The machinery of the subsidy had become so polluted that it was no longer feasible to talk about reforming it. Either it had to cease or we would have to surrender to the corruption now inherent in it. This administration entered office with a mandate of CHANGE. The government could not forever sit back and allow this dire inequity to continue, less it forfeit the essence of its mandate. We all want fuel at a cheaper price. Under subsidy, we got the right price but not the fuel.

Meanwhile, some were getting rich on the common man’s predicament. They were laughing to the bank while the rest of Nigeria waited on the petrol line. This is not the way to democratic development. It is a recipe for creating a class of economic predators that would feed off the people and in time gain such power and wealth that they would seek to buy and control, if not own, government as well.

President Buhari has with this decision put an abrupt and just end to the assault against our economy and political system. He has made a courageous and prudent decision. It is time to end fuel subsidy and begin to subsidise the true needs of the people.

To Mr. President, I say congratulations for having the courage to remove subsidy. The president has taken this tough decision in the interest of the present and future generations of Nigerians. For some time, I have been a proponent of this action. I believed the ending of subsidy was the only sure way to put to sleep the myriad demons that had invaded the subsidy process, sucking the blood of Nigeria, swallowing much of our needed money.

The rentiers will no longer be able to make free money at our common expense. They will no longer be laughing to the bank while you languish on endless fuel queues. Nigeria has taken the historic step needed to create a competitive environment that that will eliminate smuggling, provide incentives for private refineries and attract foreign investments in the downstream sector and create employment.

Instead of just shipping off oil and having the more expensive finished products sent back to us, Nigeria will move closer to realising its potential to become the plastic centre of the continent by manufacturing numerous by products. Nothing can stop Nigeria from being the net exporter of fertiliser from the bye products of the oil industry. I am hopeful but also realistic about this measure. I am also mindful of the situation of our people.

This change will mean higher fuel costs in generally, and I would be lying if I said this will cause no pain or dislocation. However, it will lead to better supply and end the hidden substantial costs associated with long waits and delays for fuel. The days and hours of waiting for fuel will be a thing of the past. In a perfect setting, I wish we could have sanitised the subsidy regime and thus continued with it.

However, I believe that President Buhari correctly understood that there are to many malefactors and flaws in system for that hell to be turned into heaven. Better that we remove it. But I believe he is removing it not for the austere purpose of saving money but for the nobler purpose of putting those same funds to fairer, more equitable use in order that government might better serve those of us who are truly in utmost need. Now that the subsidy is being phased-out, we should simultaneously phase in social programmes benefiting the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Programmes such as transportation grants, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are profound social objectives that can be funded with the money that was once going to rentiers and speculators. This way we can use government funds to ensure that fruits go to the hungry, not the already well fed.

Thus, I ask everyone to take a step back to coolly and objectively assess what has been decided. We must not make the mistake of allowing our political and sympathetic attachment to subsidy blind us to the hard fact that the purpose and benefits of subsidy had long ago been taken from the common man to reside in the purse of an elite few. We cannot persist in this imbalance and think it will help us to develop.

Instead, it is better to end subsidy and use the funds to establish well-targeted anti-poverty programmes that actually assist the people in need. True, this measure will increase fuel cost in the immediate term, and government must be vigilant to ensure that market forces are allowed to work properly and bring about a fair balance between supply, demand and longer-term favourable pricing.

Collusion and manipulation of the market must never be allowed. If government sets the system fairly, it will ensure better supply and with it economic certainty. Over the longer term, it will boost investment that can spur employment across several sectors. Perhaps more importantly, it will liberate money that government can now use to lower the social costs of living for our brothers and sisters who really need the help. While this may not be perfect, it is a much better deal than the one the subsidy offered us.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu is National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Tinubu, Aregbesola Champion Progressive Leadership As APC Welcomes Osoba

Former governor of Ogun State Aremo Olusegun Osoba was yesterday reunited with leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Southwest at a reconciliation meeting, where they jointly pledged to push progressive ideas to reinvent the country.

The reconciliation meeting at the Lagos residence of Osoba was attended by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all APC governors from the Southwest with the notable exception of Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who also did not send a representative.

Tinubu, who spoke to newsmen at the end of the meeting, however, said Amosun was with other Southwest governors on the reconciliation.

Also present at the meeting were former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande; former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Niyi Adebayo, Senator Gbenga Obadara; APC National Vice Chairman, South West, Chief Pius Akinyelure; immediate past deputy governor of Ogun State, Segun Olusegun, among others.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the nearly four-hour meeting, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said progressive leaders of the zone had resolved to collectively work towards the revival of Nigeria’s ailing economy.

“The leadership of progressive leadership in western Nigeria, leadership of progressive leadership in the western part of the country met today at the residence of Aremo Osoba and have resolved all the differences within the leadership completely. As such we are happy to tell the world that the leadership of progressive politics is united. And we are ready to jointly prosecute the agenda for growth, purposeful leadership, development, good governance for the western part of Nigeria and we are committed to doing that for the entire nation.

‘’We have resolved to support the effort at the national level to revive the economy and put the people of Nigeria in a better stead than we met it when our party came to power. The Aremo himself is back in the progressive leadership of Yoruba race. I have told you that the progressive leadership of Yoruba race is now ready and charged to reposition our land and integrate with others nationwide in its stead.

‘’Progressive leadership is on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC. All governors of the APC in the Western part of Nigeria are here. With the leadership united, whoever subscribe to the leadership of the leaders must be part of this.’’

On his part, Tinubu while speaking on the sideline noted that the party leaders of the South west extraction resolved to be more progressive in pushing forward with a common vision.

His words: ‘’What is very crucial is forging one front and for us to remain progressive in our party. I am an unapologetic progressive and I will remain a progressive. And that is the only philosophy and principle I believe. Wherever the progressives must unite with their vision, I am for it. Nobody is left out, it is all progressive and no one is left out. The governor of Ogun State is with us. He was elected on the platform of the APC and he is for the APC.’’

The senior special assistant on Media, Adejuwon Soyinka and the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Taiwo Adeoluwa both denied knowledge of the meeting when contacted on the absence of the governor at the meeting.

Tinubu also dismissed news reports that he had endorsed Akande for the chairmanship of Board of Trustees of the party.

“This is not a leaderless revolution, leaders are defined and identified and it is clear that we are all one including governor of Ogun State. We are not in PDP that is why they think of something they are not.”

Osoba Returns To APC

Former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba is back to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Top APC chieftains in the South-West on Sunday met to receive Osoba at his residence in Lagos.

Present were former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Ogun State, Bisi Akande, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Oluranti Adebule, who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Osoba left the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and alongside others, rejuvenated the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform upon which his supporters contested in the 2015 general elections.

Osoba has governed Ogun State twice.

He was elected on SDP platform and was in office from January 1992 until November 1993 when he and others were removed from office by General Sani Abacha.

In 1999, he was elected again as Governor of Ogun State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

Tinubu Explains Source Of Wealth

Former Lagos State Governor and a leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has narrated how a working trip he made while serving as an auditor for auditing giant, Deloitte and Touche, made him an “instant millionaire”.

Mr. Tinubu first served as a senator in the short-lived third republic and later as governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007. He has been accused of making a fortune from politics.

“At Deloitte and Touche, I chose to travel more than 80 per cent of my working years there. And that is because if a staff chose to travel, he would make more money because he would get travel allowances,” Mr. Tinubu said in a lengthy interview he granted TheNews Magazine on March 29 about his journey through life as he celebrated his 64th birthday.

Mr. Tinubu said he was sent on an assignment to help set up a an accounting and auditing system for a joint-venture between National Oil and Aramco in Saudi Arabia but by the time he returned to the United States, he discovered that his account had been credited in millions.

“We had gone there to set up their accounting and auditing system. It was while on that service that I got my financial break. When I returned to the United States, my employers gave me a huge bonus, which instantly turned me into a millionaire.

“The bonus was $850,000, before taxes. My salaries were also being paid into the bank and I was not touching them. At the time, my salary deposits in the bank had risen to about $1.8 million.”

Asked if he was not frightened by the development, Mr. Tinubu said, “No. This is because I had a strong grasp of financial matters. I was happy. I bought a house from the money and invested the rest in the U.S. I was living well. I was living in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in the south of Chicago.”

Mr. Tinubu said he stayed back working for several years in the United States after completing his degree in Chicago. He worked in Deloitte and Touch before returning to Nigeria to serve as an accounting executive for Mobil.

Tinubu Made The Impossible Happen, Fashola Says In Birthday Tribute To APC Leader

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), says the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, made the impossible happen by ensuring that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, opposition parties successfully merged.

Fashola said this in a video tribute to commemorate Tinubu’s 64th birthday.

The minister, who was present at the colloquium held in Tinubu’s honour in Abuja, on Tuesday, said Nigeria was falling apart under former President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that Tinubu steered Nigeria away from the course of destruction.

Fashola said, “It was dangerous for Nigeria to keep that administration for another term and the evidence of that was before us. The country was falling apart. You must salute the courage, the passion, the foresight of Asiwaju to reach across and say ‘let us forge a partnership to save Nigerians, to save ourselves’.”

The minister added, “On whether or not there could be a merger, everyone said it wasn’t going to happen, it had never happened in the history of Nigeria and as far as that was concerned, it (the merger) was a victory that the impossible had become not only probable but possible and that was due to Asiwaju’s self conviction and, as I said, his ability to mobilise people and materials behind an idea.”

APC Wouldn’t Have Won Without Tinubu – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed the triumph of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 general election to the vision of a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Buhari said this in a recorded tribute which was presented at the 8th Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Abuja on Tuesday.

At the event, which was held to commemorate the 64th birthday of Tinubu, the President said the former governor of Lagos State was the brains behind the merger of Nigeria’s main opposition parties in 2013.

He said without Tinubu’s vision and intelligence, the party would not have been formed and the APC would not be in power today.

Buhari stated, “If Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not participate, there wouldn’t have been a merger and there wouldn’t have been an APC government at the centre. That is absolutely clear.

“He should thank God that he has gone through so much and has remained relevant, that he is healthy and young.”

Earlier in his address, the President had contended that Tinubu remained one of the most important figures in Nigeria at the moment.

Buhari added, “There are very few patriots, alive or departed, who can match the commitment, resilience and creativity that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has, over the past few decades, demonstrated in organising Nigeria’s public life for good.

“As he adds another year today, my best wishes and prayers go out to a man who deserves a lot of commendation for what he continues to stand for.”

The President’s address, which centred on the theme: ‘Agriculture: Action, Work, Revolution’, highlighted the several opportunities which abound in the agricultural sector.

According to him, it is unfortunate that Nigeria is importing food when it should be exporting.

Buhari said, “Nearly all our crop-based farming activities are dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and this makes our agricultural productivity entirely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“In the past few years, on the average, we have spent in excess of $11bn annually importing wheat, rice, sugar and fish. We need not, and indeed we cannot afford to continue on this trajectory.

“Agriculture is the key to our economic growth and social investment policies. Our administration’s key strategy is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self- sufficient in the foods that we consume the most.

“Maize, rice, corn, millets, fruits, poultry products and their derivatives can all be produced at home if we put our hearts into it. Our policy is simple: We will produce what we eat! It is not only logical, it is necessary.”

In his tribute, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, recalled the role Tinubu played in bringing aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party’s governors into the APC after the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

Amaechi said Tinubu convinced the members of the APC to allow the New PDP members to join its fold at the time.

He said, “He was able to gather the leadership of the political class together. He was key; more than gathering the public because once you gather the leadership of the political class and ensure that there is unity of purpose, they could share to the public jointly this change mantra.

“We in the New PDP were in constant contact with him and we virtually negotiated through him. By the time the President (Buhari) and others got involved, we had gone far with Asiwaju. He played a key role.”

Also speaking in the tribute video, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, described Tinubu as a visionary, noting that the ex-governor of Lagos was dependable and loyal.

Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said, “It was people like Tinubu that insisted that this country could not afford another four years of that kind of thing (past administration) and basically laid down their lives, laid down their resources and gave their all to ensure that change happened.

“He is extremely loyal and that is how you know your friends. It doesn’t matter where you are or what happens to you, you can always be sure that Asiwaju will be there.”

Tinubu, while speaking at the event, recalled that the 2015 presidential election coincided with his birthday.

He said Buhari’s victory at the polls was his biggest birthday gift yet.

The ex-governor described the PDP-led Federal Government from 1999 to 2015 as a deceptive one.

The APC leader recalled that the PDP government claimed that it had established a Nigerian Commodity Exchange to provide a practical solution to a number of challenges that have adversely affected the growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector, contending that the initiative was a sham.

He thanked guest speaker and Ethiopian agric expert, Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, for exposing the dubiousness of the PDP-led Federal Government.

Tinubu said, “We have had a series of promises in the last 50 years and particularly in the last 16 years. I remember the article I wrote after the presentation of the book, Financialism: Fetching the water from a dry well’. It was about this commodity exchange.

“The deceptive government at that time announced immediately that same week that commodity exchange had been established. It took an Ethiopian to discover its lies, but thank God, we are taking it more seriously now.

“I salute the President and the entire cabinet that Nigeria is being redirected. There is no option for us but to revalidate our faith in our country and take the hard decision now. Our renaissance must come from within. We have the land, the mind, the capacity and the ability.”

Earlier, several of the contributors at the event decried the over $11bn that Nigeria had spent yearly on the importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish products.

They noted that the whole of Africa accounted for a mere 5.6 per cent of the global meat production while Asia accounted for 42.3 per cent; Europe, 18.7 per cent; Asia, 42.3 per cent; America, 31.4 per cent; while others accounted for two per cent.

It was generally agreed that the narrative must change for the better.

Some of the dignitaries, who attended the event, included The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II; and the Ooni of Ife,Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

Others were the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN); the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Niger, Kebbi and Imo states; several senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Senate President Bukola Saraki; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were, however, not at the ceremony.

The Punch