Gentlemen of the press, we welcome you to this media briefing after our hugely successful final presidential campaign rally in Lagos yesterday that was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.
The grand rally in Lagos was a fitting conclusion to an exhilarating and unique presidential campaign that started on 10 January 2022 when our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced his candidacy to the State House Press Corps after discussing his interest in the race with President Buhari.
From that moment, 14 months ago, Asiwaju Tinubu began a painstaking and arduous journey of reaching out to a cross section of the civil populace and constituency holders in Nigeria through a nationwide consultation ahead of his party primary.
He met with former leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, party stakeholders and members across the country and intimated them about his vision, capabilities and readiness to serve our country. He used the opportunity of the consultations to lay out his grand vision that will propel the emergence of a new nation where citizens will find happiness and personal fulfillment.
That intense consultation and canvassing for support ended with a resounding victory on June 8, 2022 in an open and the most transparent party primary this election season.
His vision was later distilled into key priority areas in the Renewed Hope Action Plan for a Better Nigeria that was unveiled on October 21, 2022 by President Buhari.
Shortly after the primary election, Asiwaju Tinubu proved bookmakers wrong, when he announced a very capable, brilliant, eloquent, visionary and cosmopolitan, Senator Kashim Shettima as running mate. As a man of conviction, Asiwaju Tinubu didn’t take the easy road in his choice of capable running mate. He anchored his choice and decision on who can best partner with him to usher in a new country where religion and ethnicity will not define who we are or hinder service delivery to the people.
It has been an exciting and animating campaign season since the campaign council flagged of the presidential campaign rally in Jos, the home state of our Director-General and Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong on November 15, 2022.
From the flag off in Jos, Asiwaju Tinubu, Senator Shettima, APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, members of the party’s National Working Committee and the leadership of the campaign council have traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria with our message of Renewed Hope which has been well received by Nigerians.
The hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters and party members that thronged our rallies and those that marched on the streets to welcome our candidates attest to the popularity and acceptability of our party and flag bearers by the masses.
A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT KIND OF CAMPAIGN
The APC Presidential Campaign Council and Asiwaju Tinubu redefined, set new tone and template for Presidential Campaign in Nigeria in this campaign season. Our campaign introduced Townhall interactive sessions into this campaign to take our message directly to the people across various sectors and segments of the society. In so doing, Asiwaju Tinubu and Senator Shettima took their programmes to the people. They used the opportunity of the interactive sessions to directly share their plans and visions with the electorate and align those with the people’s own desire and aspirations. The Townhall sessions became specialised focus-group sessions to connect with the people almost on one-on-one. The sessions yielded amazing feedbacks that our candidates have taken on board as they prepare to take the reins of government come May 29, 2023 after Nigerians would have freely given them the mandate to serve on Saturday February 25th.
Beginning from mid-October, with his acceptance of the invitation by Northern leaders under the umbrella of the Arewa Joint Committee, Asiwaju Tinubu and Senator Shettima conducted over 15 townhall meetings around the country. They met with the organised private sector, youth groups, traders and market women, Labour Unions, Christian Association of Nigeria and other Christian bodies, Islamic groups and leaders, miners, Federation of Construction Industry, farmers and commodity traders, traditional rulers, Women’s groups among others. Through these intimate interactions, the Tinubu/Shettima message of Renewed Hope percolated deeply to all segments of the Nigerian society, making the ticket the most identifiable by Nigerians and easily the most trusted.
CAMPAIGN OF ISSUES
Throughout the electioneering season, we worked hard to keep our commitment to focus on issues that affect the lives of Nigerians. Like our principal, Asiwaju Tinubu, we used every opportunity to sell our agenda for a better Nigeria as encapsulated in our Renewed Hope policy document. We vigorously highlighted the achievements of the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in various sectors. These are its ambitious infrastructural development programme never witnessed in the history of Nigeria and massive improvement in agricultural production. There are also Social Investment Programmes that have been applauded globally as revolutionary and first in Africa and huge investment in our armed forces for better security, among other significant achievements of the APC administration.
We worked very hard to stay on issues, while the opposition elements, especially the rudderless Peoples Democratic Party constantly assailed Asiwaju Tinubu with ridiculous, unsubstantiated and often fabricated allegations all in futile bid to derail our campaign. Despite all the evil machinations of the opposition, we remained focused on our message of prosperity that will ride on the achievements of the current APC government, with strong determination by Asiwaju Tinubu and Senator Shettima to improve on areas that require greater and better governance outcomes.
COCKTAIL OF NEBULOUS OPINION POLLS
Gentlemen of the press, we are sure many of you must have seen all manner of opinion polls in the last few weeks that gave victory in the coming election to the Labour Party candidate, Mr. Peter Obi. These polls have oscillated between the sublime and the most ridiculous. We want to state categorically here, that those polls will only lead to despair, despondency, utter shame and disappointment because the pollsters only took a flight of fancy. There is no evidence and reality on ground anywhere in Nigeria as far as the presidential election is concerned that support Mr. Obi winning this election. Labour Party has no pathway to victory. This presidential election is going to be a straight contest between the candidates of APC and PDP and from more studious and rational polling, our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is coasting home to victory despite the current challenges in the implementation of the currency swap and fuel scarcity that have caused some difficulties for almost all Nigerians regardless of social and economic status.
We particularly find amusing the ANAP/NOI and Nextier polls that projected Mr. Obi as the winner or preferred candidate to win the presidential election. We have had cause to alert the security agencies to keep these pollsters under watch because their intention is to prepare ground for unrest by giving false hope of winning to Mr. Obi’s motley crowd of supporters who have predilection for violence with the way they bully, harass, intimidate and insult anyone who thinks differently from them.
Gentlemen of the press, in the last six months, we have conducted a good campaign. Our candidates have travelled round all the 36 States and even made return trip to many states for additional engagements. Our message of Renewed Hope and better future have resonated well with Nigerians who are prepared to entrust the future of our country to the capable and steady hands of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima with their votes on Saturday, February 25th.
Our message has been that the candidates in their first opportunity to govern their states of Lagos and Borno, left good impressions about themselves with their track records as performers and innovators. We cannot say the same of their competitors for power.
The Independent National Electoral Commission and our armed forces, especially the police, have all declared their preparedness and readiness to ensure we have a free, fair and credible election. APC as a party and our campaign council are ready for the election too. We have worked so hard since INEC declared campaign open for Presidential and National Assembly positions on September 28, 2022. We are certain of victory because Nigerians will elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for, he clearly stands apart from the pack and has worked so much to earn the trophy.
Finally, we sincerely thank you Gentlemen of the press for your support to our campaign and very good coverage you gave to our principals. We solicit your continuous cooperation in the days ahead as we manage our post election victory by the grace of God.
Thank you all.