The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday in Ilorin charged the people of Kwara State to vote for him and the candidates of the party in this year’s general elections in order to cement the freedom from exploitation, which he said they achieved four years ago.
Tinubu and his entourage virtually shut down Ilorin, the state capital, as the mammoth crowd that thronged the Metropolitan Square venue of the rally spilled across the roads and all over the ancient city.
It took well over two hours for the candidate’s train to arrive at the square from the Ilorin Airport, according to a statement by his media team.
At the rally, Tinubu told the people that they had been enjoying freedom and progress under the leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, urging them to remain committed to the administration.
“Are you going to be committed to the freedom that you have been enjoying under Governor Abdulrazaq?
Are you going to cement that freedom? Do you have your PVCs?”, he asked.
Thanking the people for believing in the governor and for being committed to his re-election, Tinubu said: “On 25th February, we will need you to come out. You don’t vote for anybody else, you vote for me, you vote for the APC. Vote APC across all levels – Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections”.
In his prepared speech, the APC presidential candidate again warned Nigerians never to be deceived into voting the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next month’s election, saying a vote for PDP would be an error that would be hard to correct.
According to him, several facts have pointed to the fact that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is only interested in the presidential race to enrich himself and his friends.
He said that just like he did in the past, if given the opportunity again, Atiku would only sell Nigeria to his “shady friends” in the name of privatisation.
He said: “You earned a favourable and great place in the history of our progressive party and of the nation when you voted for the APC to chase the PDP out of this beautiful and historic town. You kicked them out and now they want to come back.
“Do not let them back in. They only want to devour what they could not take the first time. If you give them the chance, they will strip Kwara and Nigeria bare to the bone.
“The PDP candidate in the race is well known for selling everything that has the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s name on it. If it is part of the public treasure or national patrimony, he is looking to pawn it to one of his shady partners.
“He wants to sell off your chance at a decent job, good schools, a nice home and a happy life. His aim is to sell and turn our public assets into his private profit. He wants you to go hungry so that he can feast off the abundance of the land”.
Tinubu also dwelt on the recent revelation by one of Atiku’s former aides, Michael Achimugu where the former vice president himself admitted to setting up Special Purpose Vehicle companies to siphon the country’s funds.
He said: “Before today, we used to call him Mr. Privatise. But today, we must give him a new name. One that comes from his own mouth.
“He is now Mr. SPV. From his own mouth, we have heard him admit that he and his old boss conspired to rob from the Nigerian treasury millions upon millions of dollars. They did this by using a fancy business device called an SPV, Special purpose vehicle, to hide the money.
“By his antics, Atiku has changed the meaning of SPV. It is no longer a business unit. With him, it is a money-eating monster. From henceforth, Atiku shall be known as Mr. SPV. S for Stealing, P for Plunder and V for Vicious.
“For this is a vicious assault on the public funds, public welfare and on the public conscience. How can he so brazenly steal and plunder yet ask you to return him to the scene of the crime. He wants to return to the crime scene not to repent but to repeat the Stealing Plundering and Viciousness.
“You must stop him before he stops your dreams and aspirations for a better Nigeria”.
He said that the APC, just like it has done in the about eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has shown that it means well for the country and its citizens, promising to continue with this.
“Instead, the APC has a much better way for you. We have good and positive plans for this country.
“If you give us the mandate with your vote, we will carry Kwara and the rest of the country to a more prosperous and secure future”, he added.
Tinubu promised to take advantage of the agricultural resources in abundance in Kwara to transform the state for the creation of jobs and welfare of the citizens.
He added: “We will return farming to its glorious past of profitability. Farmers will be paid the full value of their toil and their produce. This will be achieved through Commodity Exchange boards setting a minimum price for strategic agricultural produce.
“We shall create agricultural hubs throughout Nigeria. These hubs will increase land under cultivation. They will also wed small, medium and large farms so that small farms will benefit from the expertise and equipment of the larger ones.
“We shall continue the progress made by the present administration by enhancing agricultural productivity and agro-allied industry. We will boost our production so that we turn our country of importers into one of exporters. We have the experience and the will to make it happen”.
On education, Tinubu said: “We will prioritize education as a tool for empowerment. It is not just about producing more and more graduates. We will improve the quality of our education to make our youths more productive and will reform education such that our able and energetic young people are given the skills and knowledge needed to fill the jobs and compete in the economy of the future”.
The APC candidate also did not fail to mention his plans to ensure that the country is secure and conducive for everyone to move around unhindered and without fear.
“We will secure our nation and our borders through recruiting and deploying more security personnel, improving the communications, equipment and training of our personnel as well as using top shelf technology to improve ground and aerial surveillance.
“These evil crime, kidnapping and terror networks want to put a roadblock in the way of your destiny and future. But we shall take up our progressive broom and sweep away their evil doings so that we can move forward to our nation’s best destiny”, he further said.
Abdulrazaq thanked the people of the state for the massive turn out while also urging them not to allow “those who stole your future, who could not pay your salaries and pensions to return to power”.
The rally was attended by APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Director-General of the Tinubu-Shettima Campaign, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State; APC Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Abubakar Kyari; and members of the party’s National Working Committee, among others.