•Let fuel be scarce, change ink of naira, I will win, declares former Lagos governor
•Atiku to Tinubu: currency redesign has destroyed your bullion van plan
•Insists attacking president won’t save his failing campaign
James Sowole in Abeokuta
A new twist was yesterday added to the current fuel scarcity in the country and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the N200, N500 and 1,000 banknotes, as the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, alleged that both events were contrived to sabotage his victory at next month’s election.
Tinubu said he would win, despite the disruptions.
But in a swift reaction to Tinubu’s comments, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, alleged that the APC candidate was frustrated by his inability to stop the cashless policy and currency redesign of the CBN. Atiku said the monetary policies would curb vote buying and enhance the credibility of next month’s election, claiming Tinubu has begun crying over his imminent defeat due to frustration of his strongest strategies.
Adopting a cautiously belligerent tone, Tinubu told a mammoth crowd of APC members and supporters at the party’s presidential campaign rally in Abeokuta that the fuel scarcity and naira redesign project were artificially created to discourage people from voting for APC. He said the target was to deny him victory at the February 25 presidential election.
In a vague reference to those he referred to as the powers that be, Tinubu wondered why the fuel scarcity, which began in October last year, had not abated.
The rally held at the MKO Abiola International Stadium in Abeokuta was attended by APC leaders at the state and national levels.
Tinubu alleged that some powerful individuals in the country were behind the fuel crisis and scarcity of the new naira notes, saying they intend to scuttle the coming election.
However, the APC presidential candidate called on the citizens to remain resolute and resist any attempt to stop the elections. He described the forthcoming elections as “a revolution” that would usher in new government.
Tinubu stated, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like let them create fuel crisis, even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote. They are full of mischief; they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create fuel crisis, but forget about it. Relax, I Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed.
“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring stone and use it to break it, then the kernel will come out.
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote and we will win. Even if they changed the ink on naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to naught. We are going to win. Those in the PDP will lose.”
Tinubu added, “I am homeboy, I have come here, you will not be put to shame, we will take over the government from them, the traitors who wanted to contest with us. They had no experience.
“The great Nigerian youth, the great Nigerian students, the confident Nigerian youth. This is a revolution. This election is a revolution. They are plotting, but they will fail. They said fuel price will increase and reach N200 per litre. Go and relax.
“They don’t want this election to hold, they want to scuttle it. Do you agree?
“On this one, I’m guaranteeing you one thing: there will be student loan. Nobody will drop out of the university because of school fees. I guarantee you that. Nobody will have to repeat for eight years and not graduate.
“We are too smart, we are brilliant, we are courageous, we are sharp, we will make a four years course be for four years. Do you agree?
“Will you vote whether there is fuel or not? Call your sister, we are bringing revolution. Let me say what’s on my mind. The other day, I told you. This one too, they think they can cause crisis by sabotaging fuel supply. They are sabotaging fuel supply. Whether there is fuel or not, whether there is Okada (motorcycle) or not, whether there is tricycle or not, we will go and vote and we shall win.
“This is a revolution and when I tell you, you know what I mean. You know me, we are going there to win.”
Tinubu also called on the people of Ogun State to go all out and collect their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) at the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He said they would be able to ensure his victory if they made it a duty to collect their PVCs.
Earlier in his remarks, the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, assured the APC presidential candidate that the votes from the state would be 100 per cent for him. Abiodun said Tinubu remained the best deal for the country at this period.
The governor also called on the people to go and collect their PVCs.
But reacting to Tinubu’s comments at the Abeokuta rally, Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant, Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, stated that Tinubu was obviously frustrated by his inability to stop the cashless policy and CBN currency redesign project.
Quoting from the Holy Bible, in Proverbs 28:1, which says, “The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion,” (Good News Translation), to buttress his point, Shaibu stated, “Even though the CBN policy affects all 18 political parties, Tinubu is the only one frustrated because his plan to deploy bullion vans and bribe poor voters and security agents on the day of election has failed woefully.
“Recall that on the eve of the 2019 presidential election, two cash laden bullion vans were pictured entering Tinubu’s premises located on 26 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi. Several petitions were written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but nothing was done.
“Also frustrated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s unwillingness to attend some of his insipid rallies, Tinubu launched an attack against the president, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum.”
Responding to Tinubu’s accusation that the fuel scarcity was artificially created to sabotage his victory at the poll, Shaibu said, “It is funny that Tinubu is just commenting over the fuel scarcity, which started in different parts of the country as far back as February 2022. In Lagos, where Tinubu claims to be the landlord, the state has been witnessing fuel queues since last November.
“It is, therefore, dubious of Tinubu to try to extricate himself from the failures of his party because elections are 30 days away.
“Like his previous colourless rallies, the discombobulated APC candidate vowed that his supporters would use their PVCs to ‘chase them out of power next month’.
“Tinubu urgently needs to be on medication since he has forgotten that his party is currently in office. How can the APC defeat the APC?
“Besides, the so-called Lagos godfather, who says he will remove petrol subsidy on his first day in office, if he wins, told the people of Ogun State that he will push the price of petrol below N200 per litre. It is obvious that he has not even read his own manifesto.
“Tinubu’s paranoia is clearly getting the best of him. He has gone from attacking the leader of his own party to Igbos and northerners all because he believes they are not supporting his failed presidential ambition.
“For a man who claimed to have single-handedly made Buhari president, it is funny that he is now running from pillar to post all in a bid to save what is left of his failed campaign.
“As we stated last week, Nigeria will not recover from a Tinubu presidency. This son of Barranquilla, who has undisputed ties to drug lords in the United States, cannot be trusted with the leadership of Nigeria.
“A man, who tacitly admitted to drug trafficking by forfeiting $460,000 to American authorities, cannot be given the keys to Nigeria’s treasury.
“Having seen his imminent defeat at the polls, he is already using the fuel scarcity and naira redesign as excuses. Tinubu should throw in the towel or get ready to be disgraced on February 25, 2023. A word is enough for the wise.”
In a related development, spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, also berated Tinubu for trying to blackmail Buhari and blame the “APC-led federal government over his looming devastating rejection by Nigerians.”
A statement signed by Ologbondiyan said, “Our campaign finds it pathetic that Asiwaju Tinubu is seeking a face-saving measure ahead of his shattering electoral defeat by shedding crocodile tears and claiming that the redesigning of the naira notes and the fuel crisis under the APC administration, which he has reportedly been corruptly benefitting, were plots to scuttle the 2023 general election.
“It is unfortunate that Asiwaju Tinubu is trying to hoodwink Nigerians by seeking to exonerate himself and blame others in the Buhari led-APC administration from the biting fuel scarcity in the country, when in reality he (Asiwaju Tinubu) is known to be behind the insensitive and anti-people policies that have brought so much calamity to our country, including the current persistent fuel scarcity.
“It, indeed, speaks volumes of Asiwaju Tinubu’s character that while he is reported to be hugely involved in the corruption in the petroleum sector, which had led to the fuel crisis, he is pretending to care for the pains Nigerians are passing through just because it was beginning to affect his political life ambition.
“Furthermore, it is clear that Asiwaju Tinubu is lamenting over the redesigning of the naira just because the policy has frustrated his boastful plots to use slush fund, which he reportedly stashed away in secret vaults, for vote buying and manipulative schemes, including alleged funding of thugs to compromise the integrity of the 2023 presidential election through the setting up of the Jagaban Army.
“Of course, only politicians who have always won elections by relying on bullion vans have become troubled over the CBN monetary policy to redesign the naira.”