Mudiaga Affe and Jesusegun Alagbe
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, maintained that the duty of his administration was to imprison those who had looted the nation’s treasury.
He said it was his government’s responsibility to send to jail those who had corruptly enriched themselves by dipping their hands into the country’s commonwealth.
The President said this in Lagos at the presidential rally of the All Progressives Congress, where he promised that if re-elected, he would continue to focus on the promises he made in 2015.
The President vowed to prosecute those who had yet to return Nigeria’s stolen funds before sending them to prison.
Buhari said, “I assure you that the promises we made in 2015, based on which you elected us, we’ve made tremendous progress and I have mentioned through others what the administration is doing on security, economy and fighting corruption.
“I assure you, whoever is entrusted (with public property), his primary responsibility is to account for it.
“If the proper thing is not done, we will eventually get hold of them; take away what they have stolen and get them imprisoned.
“This is our duty; this is our responsibility and I assure you we will continue to do it.”
Buhari said he looked forward to the people’s support to be re-elected.
Obasanjo, greatest election rigger in Nigeria –Tinubu
Meanwhile, before Buhari’s speech, who is the presidential candidate of the APC, the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the greatest election rigger in Nigeria.
Also, the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, said unlike the Peoples Democratic Party, the APC had never used federal might to rig elections in the country.
Speaking at the venue of the presidential campaign rally, which held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, Tinubu said Obasanjo should be relegated to the dustbin.
He said he drew his position from a reported statement credited to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who stated in 2007 that the election that brought him into power was flawed. The 2007 election was conducted during the administration of Obasanjo.
A mammoth crowd of party supporters waited for over six hours under the Lagos scorching sun for Buhari and his entourage.
Dignitaries at the rally were Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Oshiomhole, regional vice chairmen across the country, host Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; governors of Ogun (Ibikunle Amosun); Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi); Ondo (Rotimi Akeredolu); Edo (Godwin Obaseki); Osun (Gboyega Oyetola); Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi), and Kebbi (Abubakar Bagudu )
Others included the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; his colleague in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; a former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola; a former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande; and a host of others.
Tinubu said during the administration of Obasanjo and his then deputy, Atiku Abubakar, major companies moved away from the country, adding that the PDP’s move to return to power was to continue the sale of the country from where the party stopped.
The former Lagos State governor said, “Who sent Michelin, Dunlop, Siemens (packing) out of the country? It was the PDP government. They want to come back to take our money to Europe and America. For the foreign observers, you are truly welcome. Observe what you want to observe; write your report in peace and go home. This is our democracy. America is still questioning its own democracy.
“In 2007, the late President Yar’Adua said the election that brought him as president in this country was flawed and he promised to reform it. Who conducted that election? Obasanjo is the greatest election rigger in this country. Let him be put in the dustbin.”
Prior to Buhari’s message, Fashola listed the ongoing construction of roads, such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; and the 3,050 Megawatts Mambilla Power Plant, among others in different parts of the country as the achievements of the present administration.
Fashola, who initially addressed the supporters in Yoruba, but later translated an abridged version of what he said to the President, urged the electorate to re-elect Buhari to complete the work he had started.
“I have delivered your message and the message of your government and our party to them. I told them that the ‘Next Level’ means jobs, from Mambilla, to the road projects, to the factories, roads from Apapa all the way to Oworonshoki,” added Fashola, the immediate past Lagos State governor.
The state party chairman, Tunde Balogun, said Buhari had fulfilled more than he promised when he was seeking election in 2015.
Oshiomhole, who handed over the party’s flags to the APC governorship candidate in Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his running mate, Obafemi Hamzat; as well as other candidates, said Atiku should not be trusted because he did not do anything that had made the masses to remember him after he left office.
The ex-Edo State governor stated, “If as vice-president he did nothing, why should we trust him? Look at our vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo; he can go to the market places and traders will come out to identify with him. Atiku only has a way of enriching himself and his friends when he is in government.
“Whereas Buhari is fighting corruption, Atiku has promised to grant amnesty to those who stole money. So, this is a fight between the masses and the rich and powerful. PDP supervised the liquidation of companies in the country when he was vice president and now, he is promising jobs. Is it possible?
“I urge you to vote for APC. We have no tradition of rigging elections. Those who have always used the federal might are in the PDP. February 16 will be like a Christmas Day for us; there will be no fighting.”
Victory is yours, Oba of Lagos tells Buhari
Earlier on Saturday, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, said Buhari was a man of his word, promising that the incumbent would be victorious in the forthcoming presidential election.
Akiolu spoke when Buhari and his campaign team visited the king’s palace on Lagos Island on Saturday on his arrival in the state in continuation of the presidential rallies ahead of Saturday’s election.
The traditional leader, who noted that the body of traditional rulers in the state was happy to receive the team, said the monarchs appreciated Buhari’s efforts as a highly respected person in Nigeria.
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He assured Buhari that there would be a repeat of his 2015 electoral victory in the coming election.
“Give Buhari another chance and you will see how Nigeria will move forward,” Akiolu, the Chairman, Lagos State Traditional Council of Obas and Chiefs, said.
The monarch decried the rot that past administrations left behind in the country.
“We should not go back to the past again. Now that you are here, Isha Allau, on February 16, God will open the way for you. The best will happen to you,” he said.
Akiolu presented Buhari a Quran as he prayed for him.
Buhari commended Akiolu for appreciating the efforts of his government.
The president added, “I appreciate all you have said and I assure you that I will continue to do my best.
“The promise we made through our party in 2015, our country needs to be secured and properly managed.
“If there is no security, we cannot do anything no matter your resources. We thank God our efforts have brought some fruits.”
He commended Fashola for on his hard work and efficiency and for keeping contractors on their toes, saying the minister had done creditably well.
Earlier in his welcome address, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the state was very delighted to receive the President and for all he had done for the state.
Ambode stated, “It is my pleasure to welcome Mr President and Mr Vice-President to the palace of the Oba of Lagos, who is the chairman of the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos State.
“On behalf of all of them, we welcome you to Lagos State in continuation of your presidential campaign rally.
“We are very delighted to receive you; we are very appreciative of everything that you have done for us in Lagos State.
“All our Kabiyesis are also very appreciative.”