As Oyegun, Fashola, Amaechi, Fayemi join APC Presidential Candidate to parley with Nigerian students in Lagos
The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General. Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday held an interactive session with Nigerian students from the South West in Lagos, urging Nigerians,especially the youths, to resist any further postponement of the general elections in the country.
The Presidential Candidate, who spoke at a Town Hall Meeting with Nigerian students which also had in attendance the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, Governors Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Rotimi Amaechi, former Governors, Timpre Sylva, Dr Kayode Fayemi and APC Gubernatorial candidate in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, reiterated that the Nigerian Constitution does not permit frivolous shifts in dates of elections.
General Buhari reiterated that a timely, free and fair election was
key to protecting the nation's democracy, adding that the whole idea of the 2015 elections was to "save and rescue" the Nigerian nation from the current economic free fall, insecurity and high unemployment which she is experiencing.
In his words: "It is a question of saving the country from a free
fall. I have not come here to make promises to you but to tell you
that we have a duty to save our nation. And that is what the March 28 and April 11 elections dates are all about. No Nigerian should accept any further postponement because there is no constitutional provision for postponement. We must conduct election and it must be free, fair and credible,"
He explained that his party (APC) had identified three problems
facing the country, mainly insecurity: Insurgency (Boko Haram) in the Northeast, Militancy in the South- South and pockets of criminality in the South East.
"The first important issue for us is insecurity. The second issue is
unemployment, and that affects you all that still have more than 40
years to go. No matter how well I love to live, there is no way I will
live another 40 years.
"I want you to reflect on how life has been in the last 16 years of
the PDP-led government. What is the strength of the Naira from when they took over and what it is now? It is now over N220 to one Dollar",he said.
General Buhari, who said to revamp the present system, trillions of
Naira would be needed however added, "The question should be where the money should be sourced from, "PDP has killed this country in the last 16 years. If we don't kill corruption in Nigeria, it will kill Nigeria. Many of us are still here because we have nowhere to go in the world than to stay in Nigeria".
He said the objective of his administration would be to dislodge the
PDP on March 28 and rehabilitate the country, emphasizing that his party would not be distracted by the plans and smear campaigns of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Noting that the problem of Boko Haram went out of hand when the Police arrested and killed their leaders instead of prosecuting them in the courts of law, the APC Presidential Candidate declared:
"It has got so bad that Chad, Niger and Cameroon had to come and help Nigerian Military to rescue the 14 Local Government Areas from the Boko Haram control. The PDP has killed the country. That is why this election will be very defining, especially for the youth and that is the change we all want".
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN, who also addressed the gathering lamented that the official residence of the President in Lagos has become desecrated by party posters and logos, adding that the ruling party in Nigeria should take a trip to the White House in the United States and see what it looks like even during electioneering periods.
He added that the integrity and untainted records of General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo stood out their candidacy, adding that this was not the first election that General Buhari was contesting for the Nigerian Presidency but he has become the candidate to beat now because the present leaders had failed to deliver on their past promises.
"I have said this to help you make informed decision and not on the basis of what your friend chooses. Buhari is contesting because past leaders have failed to keep their promises. "It is obvious that the current administration at the federal level has failed and the President too admitted it. He said it here in Lagos and later asked you to come with him. Come to where? You should ask him. These are some of the issues we should put on the table to make the meaningful choice," Fashola said.
Governor Fashola said the PDP was jittery because the APC had now created a formidable party that would give it a run for its money and urged all Nigerians to defend their votes by being vigilant on the election dates.
"You should speak up if anybody attempts to interfere with your voting right on election days. Nobody has a right to prevent you from voting.
No government even has such powers. It is conferred on you the day you come of age", he added.
Rivers State Governor and Director General of the Buhari-Osinbajo
Presidential Campaign Organization, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, said General Buhari decided to speak extempore at the event in order to demonstrate to all cynics that the General was fit contrary to lies being peddled by the opposition party.
He added that his message to all those wishing General Muhammadu Buhari ill health was that all those who announced the premature death of late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in those days ended up dying before him.
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on his part, said the youth engagement programme by General Muhammadu Buhari had held previously in Kano, Port Harcourt, Rivers State among others, and would go on to Sokoto State and the North East after the Southwest.
He added that the APC Presidential Candidate was one that would always align with the youth come rain and sunshine, to salvage the country and reminded the youth that they have additional jobs besides voting in the election which was to encourage the elders in their communities, that it is not about the General but about the youths and the generations yet unborn.
APC Governorship Candidate in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai, who spoke on the age controversy, said countries in the world, at their most critical moments, had relied on the wisdom and experience of their elderly to take them to the promised land.
"So, whatever General Buhari does in the next few years, it is to lay the foundation for the making of a modern Nigeria and you the youths will be the greatest beneficiaries. That is the way to look at the whole issue and stop getting bothered about characters peddling the different lies," he said.
The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun
expressed joy that many of the students that spoke at the interactive session saw light at the end of the tunnel and were ready to struggle for democracy and ensure the betterment of the country.
"Truly, the future belongs to you and no one will hand it over to you on a platter of gold. We have had 16 years of bad leadership and six years of retrogression. You must from now know that everyone you put in office must be responsible to you. It is not by fighting or setting houses ablaze, but by having a voice and it must be by the usage of your vote," he said.
The event also featured an interactive session with the different
students' union leaders who also tabled a list of requests before the APC Presidential Candidate including the provision of free education at all levels, compulsory ICT training in all secondary schools and effective job creation system.
The Students' Union President of the Lagos State University, Mr
Adeyemi Wasiu Onikoro, who also spoke, said the students have all resolved to support the APC and have embarked upon mobilization of their colleagues to collect their PVCs.
The Director General of Contact and Engagement Committee, Boss Mustapha, in his welcome address said the objective of the meeting was part of their initiative for engagement, for dialogue and partnership on strategic issues between the political leaders and the youths.
The interactive session was attended by a large number of students' union leaders from the various students' union groups in the South West part of Nigeria.