Warns members, supporters against electoral violence
.Boasts PDP doesn’t have APC’s strength in S’West, middle belt
..Expresses confidence in INEC to conduct free, fair polls
. Seeks Igbo’s votes for APC
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Less than 48 hours to the conduct of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has affirmed support to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on any person involved in ballot box snatching during the Saturday, February 23rd, polls.
Buhari, while addressing a meeting of APC Caucus in Abuja, Monday, before the discussions went into a closed-door session, had ordered security operatives to “deal ruthlessly” with anyone who attempts to snatch ballot box during the rescheduled general elections.
The President said he had ordered security agencies to prepare to crack down on potential trouble makers during the rescheduled elections.
Tinubu, at a large stakeholders’ meeting, yesterday, held at the Lagos State chapter of APC, Secretariat, Acme, Ogba, ahead of the Saturday polls, explained that APC in Lagos and South West is behind Buhari on the warning against box snatching and other electoral violence, saying it is in the interest of protecting the nation’s democracy from mischievous elements and enemies of democratic principles who were bent on scuttling it.
Some of the leaders in attendance included: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, former deputy governors in Lagos, Femi Pedro, Abiodun Ogunleye, respectively, former Minister for Defence, Prince Demola Seriki, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, members of the Governor’s Advisory Council,:-[GAC, led by it’s chairman, Tajudeen Olusi, Chairman, Lagos APC, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun, Women Leader South West, Chief Kemi Nelson, and state Women Leader, Jumoke Okoya Thomas, among others.
Tinubu, who rent the air with a tract from one of the popular Juju Musicians record, which expressed superiority and victory over enemies and oppositions, urged members and electorate not to be deterred by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s postponement of the election, and propaganda from political opponents, but be resolute and go out en masses and vote for PMB and other APC candidates on Saturday, in order to “bury” PDP finally from Nigeria political space.
He stated: “We all heard what PMB directive on political thuggry, ballot boxes snatching, violence to the security personnel. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I’m not.
Women, please warn your children, brothers not cause any form of trouble on Election Day as the security will be ruthless against such act. It will do everyone good to obey than to disobey.
“I stand with President Muhammadu Buhari on his statement on ballot box snatching.
“Ballot box snatching is similar to robbery, and even worse, hence, it must be condemned in all its entirety by everybody. We must not allow it. Anybody caught snatching ballot boxes must ruthlessly be dealt with.”
“It’s done in our best interest to protect our Nation’s democracy from being truncated by enemies of progress.
“Let your Permanent Voter’s Card be your army, we must go out and elect Buhari and our other candidates on Saturday, February 23 and subsequently, governorship candidates and state House of Assembly.
“If you (members) have any problem at all go and see the leaders of the party in your council and wards.”
While recalling the manner and speed his administration as governor of Lagos State in 2002, responded to the sad incidence of Ikeja Cantonment bomb explosion, as well as the corresponding care shown to the affected victims, Tinibu said that’s the way APC and Buhari care about residents of Lagos and even more.
On chances of APC in S’W, middle belt
The APC National Leader, apparently, exuding confidence in winning the Presidential and National Assembly polls, boasted that, “We (APC) will defeat Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the general polls. They don’t have our strength in the South West and middle belt, so how are going to defeat us (APC), its absolutely, impossible. Take your PVC, go and vote for APC and we will win. “
He said the party was at war with the PDP, expressing optimism that the APC would be victorious in the elections.
Tinubu stressed that the PDP had already been “defeated and buried”, a statement he expressed literally in Yoruba language, “Ati sin oku iyawon”.
However, he further enjoined the party leaders, members and the people to accommodate any defecting PDP members and other parties, who wished to join the “winning ruling APC”, which according to him is taking the country to the next level.
Tinubu also urged them to welcome them with forgiving heart as they join the winning, progressives party.
Expresses confidence in INEC ability on free, fair polls
He said the party was at war with the PDP and not INEC, expressing optimism that the APC would be victorious in the elections.
Reacting to the elections postponement, Tinubu said INEC, should be pardoned for throwing the nation into confusion provoked by the late announcement, stressing that “nobody is above error”.
“We have confidence in INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections on Saturday and subsequent elections. There is no institution or country without their challenges. During turbulent hour in flight, the plane shakes, pilot shakes, passengers shake and later it stabilize and land safely. INEC will surely, land safely. .
While knocking the electoral umpire for the late resolve to postpone the polls, a resolution that damped the zeal of many, Tinubu, however, urged the people to forgive INEC and come out en masse to vote the candidates of the party at all levels.
He also appealed to Igbo indigenes in Lagos to vote for APC en masse as Lagos does not discriminate against any ethnicity in the state, saying, “We do not discriminate against paying of WAEC’s fees, NECO and even up to tertiary institutions. So this is a pay back time for APC. Wherever one resides in the country is your state.”