The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) does not have to engage in violence to win the forthcoming elections, Co-chairman of its Presidential Campaign Council, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said.
Tinubu, who was responding to allegations from certain quarters that the APC was preparing grounds for violence during the elections, said those making such allegations were already sniffing their defeat at the polls. He said the cries of violence were also indications that those making the allegations had already conceded defeat even before the first ballot was cast in the election.
The APC leader spoke to reporters after a meeting with traditional rulers from the South West in Abuja, led by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. Tinubu said neither the party nor its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, wanted any Nigerian to be a victim of violence during the elections and therefore did not need any form of violence to win the election.
The APC, he pointed out, was working hard to win the elections, while those alleging violence were busy looking for excuses for their impending defeat. On his meeting with the Obas, Tinubu said: “The royal fathers spoke of the need for a peaceful election. When you have the belief that you can get a proper result, you work hard because you want peace. When you believe that you can win, you don’t want violence. We all love our children, our brothers and our followers and none of us would want our followers to become sacrificial lambs.
“We won’t encourage violent disruption of any election because we are confident of winning. Those who are crying wolf before the election have already accepted defeat before the election as far as I am concerned. I am very happy and proud of the very promising situation. When you have the endorsement of your royal fathers, it means you have the people with you and the voice of the people is the voice of God. I am elated.”
The APC chieftain appreciated the royal fathers for their support and for not giving up on the APC and also for visiting the President to encourage him.
Taking a fresh broadside at Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, Tinubu said he (Atiku) did nothing to help Lagos State as Vice President when the Obasanjo government seized its local government allocations, but merely asked them to go and comply with Obasanjo’s directives.
“Atiku was Vice President of this country when the local government allocations for Lagos State were seized. When we led a protest to Atiku then, he said: ‘Go away; go and comply.’ Without the allocations, you cannot bring development. When we said we needed power to power Lagos and the industrial base in our region, they said no.
“They were taking away N250 million from our allocations every month for being innovative and creative. Everywhere we turned, they rejected us and punished us. But we never gave up. Today, we are in that progressive development championed and led by President Muhammadu Buhari. Thank you for not looking back. Thank you for visiting and encouraging him.”
Tinubu also spoke on his purported collapse on Monday after the inauguration of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, stating that “Fake news and whoever is manufacturing it, you better don’t believe them.” He also described as negative and fake news, reports of the alleged boycott of the campaign council by APC governors.
“The point is, the governors had to stay back home because we all don’t have to converge in one place to decide certain modalities when we can easily go back to them on what was discussed and what we expect from their states. That is what we call structuring in an election. There are some jelly fish reporters around Nigeria these days.”
At the meeting, Oba Ogunwusi said as royal fathers, traditional rulers would therefore continue to preach peace and peaceful coexistence. The Oni said: “My message to Nigerians in this time of election is peace, peace and peaceful co-existence all the way. The power of every Nigerian and every electorate lies in the thumb. As traditional rulers, we are fathers to all and in playing that role, we pray that there should be peace in this country.
“That is what we are preaching and it is very important to all of us to know that Nigeria is greater than any of us. So, we should continue to preach peace and identify with good things that will be beneficial to the nation. That is why we are here.”
The traditional rulers, who had earlier visited the President, also included the the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo; the Alayemore of Ido Osun, Oba Aderemi Adedapo; the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade; the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi; the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Oba Akadiri Momoh 1V, and the Oloye of Oye Ekiti,Oba Michael Oluwole Ademolaju Adugbole III.