•APC denies ex-Lagos gov threw wads of naira notes to crowd
•Campaign urges INEC to provide data of collected PVCs in 24hrs
•Urges electoral body to obey court order on MC Oluomo
Segun James in Lagos and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, yesterday, at the grand finale of his campaign in Lagos State, promised President Muhammadu Buhari, that he would work hard for the country the same way he has worked hard for him.
This is as the leadership of the APC in Lagos, has denied reports that Tinubu threw wads of naira notes at his Lagos crowd as his convoy made its way to the Teslim Balogun Stadium venue of the rally.
At the same time, the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the ruling party has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide data of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) so far collected within the next 24 hours.
It also advised the electoral body to obey a court order restraining the commission from engaging the Lagos State Parks Management Committee led by Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo to distribute election materials and personnel in Lagos State on election days, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Accompanied by President Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu, was ushered into Lagos by crowd of residents, who lined up the roads as his convoy made its way to the venue.
Speaking and facing the president, Tinubu said, “As you worked hard for me, I will work hard for Nigeria. All the plans set out in our Action Plan for Renewed Hope for Nigerians will be pursued rigorously.”
At every turn, he thanked President Buhari for standing firm for democracy, accountability, transparency and fairness.
“The president asked all of us interested to go and contest the primaries of our party. After I was picked overwhelmingly by the delegates, he didn’t ask them to change the results because of my tribe or religion or because I’m not from Daura like him, he accepted me and celebrated with me, telling me ‘you are almost there now’,” he said.
Asíwájú also said when it was time for the choice of a running mate, the president turned down his offer to choose for him and told him, “You know better. You are very experienced and you know the kind of person, who will assist you to run the country, so, pick that person. Thank you Mr. President, you gave me the courage, the confidence and the will to pick right,” he said.
The APC candidate said he chose as running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, whom he described as a most knowledgeable and independent-minded person, adding that, Shettima had shown determination and grit to perform and be different, describing him further as a dependable, reliable and courageous man.
Tinubu promised to do all in his power to continue where Buhari would stop, and consolidate on his achievements.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, thanked the people of the state for turning out in large numbers to receive President Buhari and Tinubu and to also attend the rally.
He said with the massive turnout, they had shown their love for the ‘City Boy,’ asking them to go further on Saturday February 25, 2023 to vote Tinubu for president.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who is also Director-General, APC Presidential Campaign Council, noted that the party was already celebrating Tinubu as in-coming president of the country, ahead the Saturday poll, saying a new president had already been sighted.
He said Tinubu, who is popularly referred to as City Boy, would soon become Garki Boy, once he gets sworn in as next president, come May 29, 2023.
He, therefore, thanked all for attending the grand finale in Lagos and congratulated them ahead of Saturday’s presidential election.
APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, described the rally as symbolic, noting that President Buhari had brought Tinubu to Lagos, to round-off the statewide campaign, which began many weeks ago.
The party chieftain assured Nigerians that Tinubu, whom he maintained would succeed Buhari in office, would sustain his legacies, urging the electorate to go all out and vote the former Lagos governor in the presidential election.
“We have a president who will be a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari. We are sure when he gets into office, the legacies of President Buhari will be kept. You go and vote, by mid-day Saturday, the die is cast, and we have the president to be sworn in by May 29. That is what the symbolic rally is all about,” he said.
Tinubu Never Threw Naira Notes at Crowd, Says Lagos APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied the trending report that its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, threw wads of naira notes to Lagos residents as his convoy made its way to the Teslim Balogun Stadium venue of the grand finale rally.
The party, in a statement by its spokesman for Lagos State, Mr Seye Oladejo, said the purveyors of the news were “dazed by the phenomenal success of Lagos grand rally,” saying, “frustrated political opponents have resorted to planting fictional story of naira-throwing by our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“In a currently trending post, the orchestrated report purports that Asiwaju Tinubu threw wads of bank-notes to cheering crowd at Oshodi as his motorcade rode past from Lagos airport enroute Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.”
Insisting the report “is nothing but a lie from the pit of hell,” he said, “It is part of an ongoing well-oiled campaign of calumny in a compromised section of the media to project Asiwaju in bad lights at a time millions of Nigeria are unable to access their hard-earned cash deposited in the banks.
“Asiwaju has championed the cause of long-suffering Nigerians that they be allowed to spend old bank notes pending when CBN is able to make adequate bank notes available. So, where will Asiwaju have seen new notes to be throwing on Lagos highways?
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored this infantile lie given its provenance (one of the cheap bloggers hired by political opponents now traumatised by APC’ imminent victory on February 25). But we chose to make this brief statement for the sake of the gullible, who might be deceived by such cheap spin.
“A closer look at the accompanying short video (attached to the referenced fake report) will clearly reveal that two APC leaders are the ones actually throwing branded APC fez caps and leaflets to cheering crowd. Certainly not Naira notes. We urge our supporters and all right-thinking Nigerians to remain calm and vote Asiwaju Tinubu and all APC candidates on Saturday, February 25.”
APC Asks INEC to Provide Data of Collected PVCs in 24hrs
The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide data of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected within the next 24 hours.
Director of Election Planning and Monitoring, Babatunde Fashola, who is the current Minister of Works and Housing, disclosed this while addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja.
He also advised the electoral body to obey the court order restraining the commission from engaging the Lagos State Parks Management Committee led by Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo to distribute election materials and personnel in Lagos state on election days pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Fashola, who expressed worry that such crucial data, has not been made available to political parties and Nigerians a few days to the elections, said, “We are in the homestretch of the election and we think it is important now that INEC, the regulator to let us know – all the parties and the nation – how many people actually collected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).”
The minister, who was of the opinion that making the data available was very important for the credibility of the results and the credibility of the elections, added: “We have been acquainted with how many people registered, but we don’t have the numbers of how many people collected PVCs and that is a very important ask.
“And I think I speak the minds of all the parties by saying, how many people collected PVCs, the breakdown of the PVCs collection per state and per local government and to every unit of electoral activity that INEC can provide that information. We think it is a very important piece of information that will help INEC reinforce the credibility of the exercise that it is undertaking.”
Fashola emphasised that at every point in time, INEC, through its National Commission on Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, had always acquainted the parties and Nigerians with information regarding the electoral process.
“If they have been consistent with providing all of that data, how many did this, how many did that, I think that it is only logical that we know how many have collected and that is the context in which we are making the demand.
“Because, we are the Election Planning and Monitoring Directorate, we have all of the other data but we don’t have that data. It is a crucially missing data in which to close our planning and projections. So, we asked that data be made available in the shortest possible time. Hopefully, not later than the close of business today or certainly not later than 24 hours from now,” he said.
On the court order on MC Oluomo, Fashola noted that INEC has no option than to obey the order.
His words: “I think that by now, from my own public service records, where I stand on rule of law is no longer a matter for debate. I have been a public servant for 21 years and it is not what I say now that matters or what I do. It is the consistency of my conduct
“I see that some sections of the media have tried to suggest that I was inviting certain authority to act in defiance of the court order. For me, there is no choice between the rule of law and my life, because my life really means nothing if it is not lived with the rule of law.That is what protects all of us.
“So, anybody who is faced with an order of court, whether it be INEC, whether it be anybody is bound to comply. Whether you like the court order or not, if you don’t like the court order, the rule has been set down from centuries ago that you must go back to the same court to say I am challenging this order. The person to whom the order is made should simply comply. There is no choice, it is the rule of law or nothing.
“So when some sections of the media try to paint a picture when I was creating a hypothesis, they were just stretching common sense to a ridiculous ends,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Directorate of the campaign has also said Tinubu has the required votes to emerge victorious in Saturday’s election.
The Director, Senator Mohammed Hassan, while speaking yesterday in Abuja, at the Civil Society Organisations pre-election roundtable discussion, said for the first time, a ruling party would win the Federal Capital Territory by 70 per cent because Tinubu is a marketable product.
Hassan, who was represented by a member of the Directorate, Okpokwu Ogenyi, said with various briefings he has received from different organisations, “It is certain that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the next President of Nigeria.”
Also, the National Coordinator of Tinubu/Shettima Network Unit-Unit, Bala Usman said his organisation has at least 20 voters each in every Polling unit nationwide especially in the South-west.
On his part, the National Coordinator, Renewed Hope Ambassadors of Nigeria, Dr. Tunji Asaolu, said they have the structure to deliver Tinubu on Saturday.