National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, declared that only credible candidates will win elections in the 2019 general elections.
Tinubu, who spoke at the 15th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: “Nigeria and the challenges of 2019,” insisted that the politics of 2019 would go beyond just registering certain people into the fraternity of officeholders.
Represented by an associate, Mr. Wale Edun, the former governor of Lagos State, who warned against seeing politics as a game, emphasized that those who will win elections in 2019 must be able to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
His words: “The challenge we face heading into 2019 is not to fall backward in governance and development as we move forward in time. Reform and change are difficult because they are always and everywhere resisted by those who benefit from the old order.
“But we must insist on a better life for our people. As such, the electoral politics of 2019 cannot be played as if a game that has no end other than itself. Here again, we must insist on politics having a nobler and larger goal than just registering certain people into the fraternity of officeholders.
“People must not only aspire and hold office; they must seek to govern prudently from that office. This is the challenge of 2019. Shall our elections be a game in and of itself or will it be a platform from which we continue to move toward the progressive, responsive governance Nigeria deserves? I know the path I prefer.
Because the next time I speak with a child, I would rather that it be that I can tell him more about the nature of our politics than can he tell me.” He added the “the proper outcome of electoral victory is not for the victor to revel at his good fortune or his skill in electioneering.
The inevitable sequel to an election is for the winner to assume the sobering burden of governance.” While admitting that the APC government has not done as much as expected in provision of security, food, shelter and employment to the people, the APC leader said there is need to embark on impactful reforms that will transform the country.
His words: “As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation. Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance. “For example, we must reform the current fuel subsidy regime.
At this stage it causes more problems than it cures. Bottlenecks of long fuel queues, erratic supply, resultant economic dislocations for consumers from lack of fuel and the corrupt practices of trade insiders undermine the good intentions upon which the subsidy is based.
“Currently, the subsidy does not benefit the average person. It sweetly profits the elites, who manipulate the programme to their own advantage. We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price.
We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonise supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good. “In addition, we must repair our so-cial safety net.
Old people who have given so much to the nation are being shortchanged and forced to live in penury when they should be living in the dignity due their advanced years and their former labours. “Mr. President won the 2015 election on a platform that included economic recovery, job creation and improved welfare for workers.
In keeping with his promise, one of his first executive actions was to arrange federal funding of nearly N800 billion for states to pay salary arrears; also, the subsequent refund of over N800 billion of Paris Club excess payment came with a similar guidance to state governors to prioritise salary arrears and payments.
“These laudable initiatives notwithstanding, clearing of salary arrears is still not fully achieved although it has clearly taken on an importance not seen in prior governments. Meanwhile, the issue of longstanding mounting arrears of pension payments and retirement benefits to public sector workers remains outstanding.
The total figure is estimated in trillions. This not only results in untold hardship for pensioners and their families, it denies the economy of needed stimulus and growth from the increased purchasing power resulting from payment of pensions.”
Former governor of Jigawa State and 2019 presidential hopeful on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sule Lamido, who also spoke at the event, said the 2019 general elections would be different from that of 2015 as it would not be won on lies and propaganda.
Lamido, who claimed that the APC has failed because it came to power through lies, submitted that the failure of the ruling party is evident as its members are wailing against the government. He added that the claim by some people that Nigeria is a failed state has been made manifest by APC’s three-year government.
He said: “The governors are wailing; the ministers are wailing; the wife of the President is wailing; the national leaders of the party are wailing and the President is wailing. Propaganda and lies underlies the 2015 election. Of course, the PDP had its own problems.
We were reckless, careless and APC saw the cracks and before you know it, we were overrun. “APC promised Nigerians heaven on earth, we were demonized, they called subsidy a fraud. Today, it is APC, a party that was coordinated by PDP thugs, PDP rogues among others because APC is a very barren woman who cannot get pregnant.
They had to come and beg PDP members to come in and they got five governors. They came to our states to beg us to join them, but I refused because I have something that is called principle. “Today, APC is run by hate heroes.
If you are PDP, Ibrahim Magu (acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC) is there for you and you are constantly hunted because they can blackmail you anytime, but if you are in APC, you are safe because you are in a safe place.
“To me, 2019 would be defined first by what APC is all about. We are going to look at the PDP, despite our imperfection and what this government of the APC has done in the last three years.
All those things that signal a failed nation are happening to us today. Everywhere you go today, there are killings going on and there is fear everywhere because there is no commitment. So, 2019 will be a defining test for the PDP in Nigeria. I am sorry to say that there is no government in Nigeria today.”
Earlier, President Buhari, who was represented at the event by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for conducting peaceful general elections in 2015 and declared that he will not condone election violence in the 2019.
Commenting on the 2019 election timetable released recently by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the President said the timetable is a reminder to politicians and other stakeholders that the polls are fast approaching.
He said: “I call on politicians and political parties to pledge their commitment to a peaceful democratic process by urging their supporters to respect the electoral process and restrain them from violence. All aggrieved parties should seek redress through constitutional means and respect for the rule of law.
“On our part, I want to assure Nigerians that my administration will not condone any violence, support any individual or groups that undermine citizens’ confidence in the ability of the country’s political institutions to conduct peaceful and successful elections.”
The chairman of the occasion and a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, advised the Federal Government to allow Commissioners for Justice and Attorneys General in the states to handle election disputes that may arise from the 2019 elections.