The presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), declared that if elected on April 16 and sworn-in on May 29, he would not waste too much time probing Obasanjo on his alleged misdeeds while in office.
Buhari, former Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, said all the evidence of corruption were there “for all to see” on how the country’s wealt
h was mismanaged between 1999 and 2007 when Obasanjo was president.
Buhari spoke in Lagos at a special rally to mobilise support for all CPC candidates in the National Assembly elections in the Centre of Excellence.
With him were his running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare, and others.
At the event held at the Skypower Playing Ground, Ikeja, Bakare urged Lagos voters to reject the candidates of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties “and only vote for the CPC.
Buhari, who thanked the crowd for staying in the sun for more than three hours, said the corruption in the country was so deep that those involved will always escape any investigation.
He said: “The society is so corrupt because the elite is rotten. Because of this, we cannot trust them again. Between $10 billion and $16 billion was spent on power during the Obasanjo administration. Today, where is the money? When we get to power, we have no time for a special investigation at all. It has gone beyond that. We know what to do.
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we know where we were in 1999. We know how much we earned since 1999 and now. What Obasanjo earned was more than what we earned from 1914, when Nigeria came into being, and the time Obasanjo came in 1999. Where is the money? Corruption is killing Nigeria and we have to halt this dangerous drift.
“And don’t allow them to steal your votes. We did it in Kano in 2003 and Bauchi in 2007. We must do it again by ensuring that we protect our votes. Make sure you vote out the bad rulers, their backers and supporters. Vote for CPC because I have promised that I will remove corruption from the country. I will do it.”
Bakare, who also spoke with the same passion, revealed that Buhari built all the refineries in the country “and yet, he has no petrol station.”
He said Buhari was the only candidate who could clean up the country.
“You must vote for CPC candidates from the House of Assembly to the presidency. Don’t let anybody intimidate you,” he said.
Although he said he had nothing against the ACN, he, however, declared that ACN could not give Nigerians and Lagosians the needed liberation.
“I have nothing against the ACN but their symbol is too old and archaic. They are using brooms but vacuum cleaners have been invented so, broom is useless now. The corruption in the country is too deep, too high to be swept by the ordinary broom of ACN. There is nothing ACN can do. Vote them out and PDP,” he added.
He then started singing in Yoruba: E le won jade o, e le won jade o, awon to ba ilu eko je, e le won jade, Asiwaju, e le won jade (Chase them out, those who destroyed Lagos, Asiwaju, chase them out).
Meanwhile, hours before the National Assembly elections, ACN leaders are in a dilemma over the fate that awaits the political fortune of its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Saturday.
Tinubu’s wife, Oluremi, is contesting for the Lagos Central Senatorial District seat on the party’s platform.
But, some young turks in the party have vowed to ensure her defeat over the way she was imposed during the primaries in January.
A sample of their anger was shown last Saturday when they voted against her before the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, shifted the polls.
Lagos Central district is made up of Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Eti-Osa, Apapa and Surulere, Governor Babatunde Fashola’s constituency.
Several meetings held to pacify the aggrieved members, majority of whom have joined the Labour Party (LP), have proved abortive.
To Tinubu, Fashola is sponsoring them against his wife. This is because of the general belief that all the National and state Assemblies candidates were imposed by Tinubu and the 40 state lawmakers may give Fashola a tough time in his second term, hence the need by the governor to sponsor candidates in another party “to balance the equation in the Assembly so that Tinubu’s loyalists will not continue to hold him to ransom,” said a source.
The former governor, when he saw that the voting pattern did not favour his wife before the postponement last Saturday, warned Fashola to go and pacify them immediately, saying if his wife loses on Saturday, he may be forced to work against the governor on April 26.
In fact, Mrs. Tinubu was trailing the LP candidate, Dapo Durosimi-Etti. The trend of the protest votes over imposition manifested last year when a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Gbenga Oshin, defeated the ACN candidate in the rerun for the vacant Assembly position in Ikorodu, seen as the stronghold of the ruling party.
Though, some ACN leaders are feigning ignorance of LP popularity in the state, those in the know say they are only economical with the truth.
Said a source: “If LP is not a threat to them, why are they blacklisting their members? Why are they placing embargo that no LP member would be allowed to join the ACN even after the election? Why are they running helter skelter to beg people? This is the height of hypocrisy by these leaders who professed to be democrats when they are not.
“A forthnight ago, they showcased the ‘big fish’ they caught from the Peoples Democratic Party with fanfare when Lanre Rasak, Demola Seriki, Wale Ahmed, Demola Sadiq and Tunde Salau joined their party, why are they placing a caveat on LP if they are sincere? Why are they declaring fatwa on some people?”
Tinubu, while condemning the movement of some aggrieved ACN members to LP, said at the weekend: “They have left ACN for Labour Party, which is not our party. After the election, the party leadership has decided that they would not be accepted back into the fold and this resolution will not be revoked.”
Castigating Durosimi-Etti, Tinubu described him as a military apologist who will not score 10 per cent of the total votes whenever the election is held.
“Dapo Durosimi-Etti is my personal friend. He was in the Abacha government when we were in the struggle. I know what I have done for him and with him. In this election, he will not win 10 per cent of the votes. He has not made any positive contribution to politics as much as my wife. I am not worried by the threat,” said Tinubu.
It was gathered that to counter the onslaught from the LP and other parties, the ACN leadership has budgetted N50,000 per polling unit for the Saturday election.
Given the fact that there are 8,560 polling units in the Centre of Excellence, about N428 million will be spent to woo voters on Saturday.
Durosinmi-Etti was the arrowhead of the Continuity Group for Fashola in ACN, while Tinubu was fighting Fashola over his second term ambition before he defected with his supporters to the LP.
Fashola, according to impeccable sources, embraced the LP option to whittle down the awesome power and control of Tinubu over the Assembly lawmakers.
In Ikeja, the slogan now is “Operation Stop Ikuforiji”, the Speaker of the House of Assembly who is returning to the House to checkmate Fashola. The LP Assembly candidate, Pastor Femi Majekodunmi, it is believed, will be the nemesis of Ikuforiji.
To pacify Tinubu, Fashola also called an emergency meeting at the Mainland Hotel, Oyingbo, on Tuesday to appeal to the aggrieved members.
At the meeting, most of those who attended were non-committal to Mrs. Tinubu’s senatorial ambition. To worsen the problem for the ACN, the CPC is also waxing very strong in Alimosho, Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye and some council areas.
Reacting to Tinubu’s outbursts yesterday, Durosimi-Etti said the former governor “is jittery of imminent defeat that is staring him in the face”.
The LP chieftain refuted the allegation that he was Abacha’s apologist and that he served in the late Head of State’s regime.
“It is laughable. I want him to say the portfolio that I held in Abacha’s government. On the contrary, he was the one lobbying to serve in Abacha’s government. He knows the role I played while he was in exile. I will leave it at that because he claimed to be my personal friend,” said Durosinmi-Etti.
Faulting Tinubu who maintained that he would not score 10 per cent of the votes when the election is held, Durosimi-Etti said: “I don’t know his premise for saying that I will not score 10 per cent of the votes. I can assure you, 85 per cent of the votes for Lagos Central Senatorial District whenever election is held is going to Labour Party, that is why he is running helter-skelter. We should wait for election day. His wife, who is contesting has not been talking, maybe he will follow his wife to the floor of the Senate, that is why he is the one doing the talking.”
Also yesterday, politicians continued to resort to the use of text messages to get across to the electorate in their quest to wrest power from the ACN.
These text messages continue to multiply even as the election gets closer, all emanating from the unidentified Lagos Voters. The latest in the series of text sent across to the electorate was quite affirmative.
According to the message, “6.1 million Lagosians will vote to end Tinubu’s oppression”. It called on the electorate to vote for LP candidates for Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly and vote for Fashola in the ACN.
A day earlier, the same group of people had forwarded text messages in which Fashola was allegedly quoted as saying no to alleged Tinubu’s juju oath swearing antics, calling on the electorate to pray for the governor.
“Fashola says no to Tinubu’s juju oath swearing. Let us pray for Fashola’s protection from the evil Tinubu’s godfather”, the text message noted. The governor has dissociated himself from such a group, claiming that the PDP was behind the messages.
The mails continued to pour in even as Fashola yesterday intensified his meetings at the senatorial districts in a bid to get the electorate to switch their votes to ACN candidates.
The governor, according to sources, met with party stalwarts at the senatorial district yesterday at a town hall in Mende, Maryland, as part of continued efforts to appeal to party members, who have vowed to vote against the party as a result of selection and massive imposition of candidates.
Meanwhile, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital was yesterday thrown into confusion after the arrest of a printer at Mokola area of the city.
He was caught printing fake papers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Saturday’s National Assembly elections.
The news confirmed the apprehension of some opposition parties in the state, particularly the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Accord Party that some people were trying to undermine elections.
He was arrested at a printing press about 4:30 p.m. yesterday.
He was caught with about 7,000 copies of the ballot papers already printed.
After his arrest by men of the State Security Service (SSS), he was immediately taken to Mokola Police Station for interrogation and later moved to the State Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police Command for further grilling.
It was learnt that he made a useful statement at Mokola before he was moved to the CID.
Opposition politicians immediately accused chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being the brains behind the illegal printing.
The Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Saliu Hashimu, confirmed the arrest on telephone last night and disclosed that about 7,000 copies of the papers already printed were caught with the suspect.
He said he had instructed his deputy to handle the matter till today when would be fully briefed and given adequate information about the incident. He promised to make public findings of the command today.
Unconfirmed report stated that a chairman of the caretaker committee of a local government in the state gave out the job to the printer.