Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday took his campaign to Benin City, capital of Edo State where he held a town hall meeting with political leaders, social groups, professionals from various sectors.
During the meeting, Tinubu also presented his programmes to his audience and called for support for his party in all the elections beginning from February 25th.
At the palace of the Oba of Benin, His Majesty, Oba Ewuare II in company of traditional rulers from Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial districts, the APC presidential candidate commended President Muhammadu Buhari for agreeing to the extension of the deadline for the redesigned naira notes, adding that his appeal for the extension, contributed to his coming late for the meeting.
He also said he would fight for restitution on the artefacts taken away from the city and part of his programmes if he wins would be to explore the rich mineral resources in the state, particularly gas for export to European market.
According to him, “My coming late is not intentional, it is because of the national politics, some of our cousins, our wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roasted corn, they need money and they need naira.
“In the process if naira is cancelled the way it is and we fail to intervene, we have failed in our duties. We have been on this for three to four days and suddenly today when the president said okay out of great respect he will consider our request for extension we were happy. I was running back and forth on this and calling him so that is what we have been doing, hopefully, even though we didn’t get all that we wanted, we got an extension by a number of days.”
On his ambition, Tinubu said “You have been a great ruler, I saw you spoke your mind about unemployment of youths, Your Majesty, count on me, bless me we will be able to achieve great employment for our youths.
“You talked about the education of our children, it is in our work plan and I can tell you as I am standing here the programme is there, education reform will happen. We will establish students’ loans and we will minimise the interest rate and we stagger their payments and give parents relief, they don’t have to be slaves to the circumstances.”
Speaking about his other development plans, he said “Benin is the economic centre of this region, rich in resources, rich in gas.”
For the artefacts, Tinubu said he would support the construction of a museum to house them and would continue to call for restitution from other foreign countries.
“I am here to seek your prayers, I fought for and suffered for democracy in this country, I made sacrifices. When we started these eight years, it is only normal to look forward to succession and I told President Buhari that I am running and I am running nowhere, I am running for the villa when you move out, I want to occupy the place therefore I need your blessings, that blessing is important to me.”
On his part, Oba Ewuare II appreciated Tinubu’s planned support for the Museum which he said would help tourism and research.
He also commended the state government for its support for the museum project.
At the town hall meeting, Tinubu said he would ensure total deregulation of the oil sector so that market forces would determine the price of oil products.