All Progressives Congress (APC) leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday described the National Conference proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan as a grand deception. He stressed that the timing and intention behind it were suspicious.
The former Lagos State governor also bemoaned the spate of insecurity in the country, which he ascribed to government’s ineptitude and inability to restore order into a state of pandemonium.
Tinubu, who returned to the country after three months medical trip abroad, also chided those calling for the postponement of the 2015 general elections because of the proposed conference. He said this is tantamount to political fraud adding that the trick would collapse like a pack of cards. Bustling with strength and hale and hearty, the opposition leader, however, lamented that he met a country in turmoil and crises.
A huge crowd of party leaders and followers thronged the ‘Executive Jet’ wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, to welcome the Asiwaju of Lagos. He alighted from the aircraft marked Cs-DFF, waving to the crowd of cheering associates, women, and youths, who burst into solidarity songs.
Tinubu, accompanied by the Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Yemi Ikuforiji and his media aide, Mr. Sunday Dare, was received at the tarmac by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who hugged and gave him a kiss.
The former governor, who thanked the crowd, reflected on his medical trip and its lessons. He said: “It is a great joy to be back. It is good that we are back and I really appreciate your concern and this great gathering. I am returning today, having travelled overseas for medical attention. Among those who contributed to this are great Nigerians, well qualified, who have moved out of the country because there are no facilities, no equipment. No such opportunities in Nigeria. Now, the surgery was successful. Among them are physiotherapists who did the job that I must get well quick and return to the country.”
Tinubu expressed happiness about the APC’s registration, saying that the party will save the country from political collapse. He said: “I am proud to be part of the group, a set of Nigerians who are determined to say enough in the political landscape. That we should not continue to allow termites and rodents to promote corruption, unemployment, destitution, lies and unfortunately, ineptitude in government.
“Our determination is to have a political platform, where true democracy will be promoted by all Nigerians. We got to a stage that we finished all the documentation before I travelled. I was confident, that we will be registered in a country where there is the rule of law. I am glad the baby was not aborted, the baby was born. That baby is the new hope, a new platform. This new platform is a rescue platform; it is not a replica platform of the past, or of the same old way.
“It’s a redefinition and rescue mission for Nigeria. You own it, all Nigerians own it, all Nigerians must be determined Political success is not a game of bystanders, it’s not a game of spectators. You journalists own the principle of this party, the objectives of it and if you buy into it, you will be able to see, whether this party can rule Nigeria. And definitely we will do that.”
The APC chieftain dissected the polity, saying that the proposed national conference was a decoy mooted to hoodwink Nigerians. Stressing that the timing was suspicious and the intention fraudulent, the former governor clarified that he only gave a personal opinion. He said, as a democrat, he would wait for the reaction of his party.
Tinubu said: “How long have we been talking about it? Why suddenly? There is something in political history and social history, they say beware of Greek gift. It is only a very smart rodent in a house full of little crumbs of poison that will survive the trappings of the owners. Let us, first of all, ask series of questions. But I need to consult with my party but I see a contradiction here.
“I will discuss with my party. I see a diversion here. I will discuss with my party. I see deception here. I see lack of honesty and integrity here. It is time to look at our own agenda and develop it. Nigerians are being deceived. So, where is the sovereignty? What about the Electoral Act? What about the Lemu Committee? We have not had white paper or green paper out of that. Why now? How many months to the elections? Can’t you smell a good soup when it is well cooked? Can’t you smell a bad one that stinks? Can’t you smell the odour of the deception when it is passing by? It is left for our party and all of us to note all these development”.
Tinubu objected to the call for the postponement of the 2015 polls because of the conference. He said the suggestion smacked of dishonesty and fraud.
He added: “That is the saying of a thief, who wants to continue to hand on to opportunity, who is enjoying and stealing and wants to continue to have that opportunity. What are you postponing about election? Is it with the head you walk or with the feet? You must stand on something, you say democracy and sovereignty of this country is about the National Assembly, but I argued then, that sovereignty belonged to the people. Now there is a diversion. Where is the agenda? I want to say beware of the poisonous gift. But I cannot conclude here today unless I consult with my party. I can only express my own feelings. I am a democrat, if the party says go this direction I must follow them to that direction.”
Lamenting that he met a country in turmoil and crises, Tinubu said the recent plane crash in Lagos involving former Governor Segun Agagu’s corpse, his children and other passengers was a national embarrassment.
He described Agagu, who was his associate in the proscribed Social Democratic Party (SDP) as a committed family man.
The APC chieftain, who also described the MIC boss, the late Tunji Okunsanya, as a friend, prayed for his soul. He said he was tired of advising the government on the aviation sector because previous counsels from not heeded. He said Nigerians were ignored.
Tinubu said: “Addressing to the government, I think we are talking to a deaf ear. Nigeria’s aviation is a risk. We have never allowed professionals to run the aviation industry. We created too much bureaucracy, kinsman ship, ethnicity and mediocrity to intervene in our decisions. We play with the lives of Nigerians. We have no infrastructure. This runway that we landed on is one of the worst in the world. It does not meet world standards.
“You allowed non professionals, fraudsters, corruption, to dominate the ministry. The ministry should have nothing to do with all agencies. The professionals in the Ministry of Aviation should be adequately trained. They should be trained and retrained to meet the world standards. You allowed mediocre to take decisions.”
Other people who thronged the airport to welcome the former governor were his daughter, Mrs. Folasade Ojo, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Lagos APC Acting Chairman Otunba Oladele Ajomale, his deputy, Pa Abiodun Sunmola, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, APC Interim Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senate Minority Leader Senator George Akume, his House of Representatives counterpart, Femi Gbajabiamila, former Deputy Governor Prince Abiodun Ogunleye.
Others were Oba Olatunji Hamzat, Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, Senator Bayo Salami, Chief Kayode Olowu, Chief Rabiu Oluwa, Otunba Busura Alebiosu, Mrs. Kemi Nelson, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, Yakubu Balogun, Hakeem Muniru, and former Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Commissioner Prince Rotimi Agunsoye.