The Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association held in Lagos on Monday provided a platform for leading 2023 presidential candidates to sell themselves ahead of the campaign scheduled to start 28 September.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was represented by his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, while his counterpart in the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso did not attend or have a representative.
The Labour Party (LP) candidate, Mr Peter Obi and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar shared their thoughts about the Nigeria of their presidency with the participants and the AGM.
Shettima said that the APC administration would replicate the achievements recorded by Tinubu in Lagos upon emerging victorious in the election scheduled for 25 February 2023.
The former Governor of Borno State urged Nigerians to follow the man “that knows the road”.
He said: “Nigerians have the capability to see through the worn-out rhetoric and sophistry of pretentious politicians.
“Nigerians should follow the man wey know the road. From day one, we will hit the ground running. We’ll promptly address the issue of the economy, ecology, and security.
“And we have the antecedents. I built some of the best schools in Nigeria. Go to Borno and see wonders; you will never believe that it is a state in a state of war.
“So, we are going to replicate our achievements in Lagos, in Borno and some of the frontline states so that our nation will be a better place.
“The fundamental issue is pure leadership.”
For Obi, the 2023 elections would not be about connections, tribe or religion, but about competence, character and commitment to deliver.
He said: “Remember, the election we are going to have next year will not be about tribe, not religion, not connection, not entitlement, but about character, competence, capacity, and commitment to deliver”.
On his part, Atiku lamented that every negative thing now happens in the Nigeria of today.
He said that since 1999, Nigeria had never experienced the level of poverty, insecurity and unemployment that now pervade the country.
He said: “Since the return of democracy in 1998/99, Nigeria has never found itself in such a very critical point in our history”, and added that history now beckoned on Nigerians to tackle the negative developments.
“This is where history and experience beckon on us to make sure that we don’t get it wrong at this point in time otherwise if we get it wrong. I don’t know when we will ever get it right.
“I have been involved in the struggle to return this country to democracy to this country in the time of military days. In fact, I can even say I was even lucky to be alive because so many of my contemporaries have been killed in this struggle but by the grace of God I have survived till this point in time”, he said.
He promised to hand over federal universities to states if he is elected president.
According to the former Vice President, one of his proposed reforms is to create an enabling environment for foreign and local investors.
He explained that the reform would include healthcare and education, saying that government alone could not bring about development.
“One of the fundamental reforms I have in my policy document is to encourage the private sector as far as the development of the country is concerned — both foreign and local. It is very essential because the federal government does not have the resources to do all the things that they want to do”, he said.