National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the party would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.
Tinubu said this in a statement made available by his Media Officer, Tunde Rahman.
He said: “This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.
“Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku.
We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after Feb. 16 when he goes into retirement.
“For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.
“Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come Feb. 16.
Perhaps together they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man.”
Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.
He said: “Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.
“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty.”
Tinubu said the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.
He said: “Our vision is the opposite of theirs, Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.
“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.
“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, Trader-Moni and N-Power.
“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies.
These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens.”
Tinubu said the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.
He said: “We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.
“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.
“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities.”
The former governor of Lagos State said the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.
He said: “We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.
“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.
“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes.”
Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.
He said: “The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria.
Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.
“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security.”
Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.
He said: “The future is uncertain until we enter it. February 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.
“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.
“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.
“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secured future.
He said: “This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.
He said: “In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.
“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.
“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.
“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.”