With just five days to the September 28, being the official commencement date of campaigns by political parties and their candidates, Blueprint has gathered authoritatively that various interventions for the poor people, agriculture, infrastructure, human development and security among others will be top priorities of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Also, the campaign team asked Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stay within his lane and not make comments likely to cause division within the ruling APC.
The duo of Wike and Tinubu reportedly met in London about a month ago to get the former’s support for the APC presidential candidate in next year’s election.
Wike and his group are presently at loggerheads with the PDP over the continued stay of Iyorchia Ayu as its national chairman.
Keyamo on Tinubu’s agenda
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Blueprint, spokesman for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Council (BATCC), Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the full agenda and the details in terms of micro issues contained in Tinubu’s manifestoes had always been ready and would be released anytime soon.
Keyamo, who is also the Minister of State for Labour and Eployment, also said he (Tinubu) has always had this document as his vision for the country.
Keyamo said: “But, let me be clear, without going into the micro issues that the vision of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to ensure that the templates of progressivism, which is the major fulcrum of the APC progressivism, which is a clear and simple definition, a government that pays more attention to intervene in the lives of the very poor and the middle class.
“A government that believes more in government intervention in the lives of the very poor, middle class, rather than the other people who would prefer a free market economy and whatever happens to the poor is their business in the free market economy, that is the basis of progressivism and so, all the policies of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be tilted towards that.
“Secondly, the thrust of infrastructure that President Muhammadu Buhari, virtually spent his energies on infrastructure, will also be one of the cornerstones of the policy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because in the promotion of infrastructure, then you can create more jobs. Not only in terms of direct employment, whereby people will be employed to build this infrastructure, but to also make it easier for people to carry on their economic activities, that is the secondary effect of it.
“For instance, we make good roads for farmers to bring out their goods from the villages to the urban centre, sell them, go back to their villages and live a good life. You can also stop the rural urban migration, where the urban areas are becoming too crowded.
“People can remain in the rural areas and live a good life where they have the same type of infrastructure that you have in the urban areas, and so it makes for all round development. So, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, like I said, without going into the details, is also going to continue the infrastructural revolution, roads, rails, bridges and towers.”
On agriculture, the minister said it contributed about 24 per cent to that GDP, and “in terms of foreign earning, in terms of creating jobs again. If you look at the recent GDP, our recent GDP that went up about 3.1per cent, making it 3.25 per cent or thereabout, which is a massive improvement from what we read before.”
Wike and Villa support for Atiku
On allegation raised recently by Governor Wike that some persons in the Presidential Villa were working for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the minister dismissed the insinuation, even as he asked the governor to face the internal wrangling within his party.
“We have not responded because they should face their problems first. You cannot throw bomb into our midst. If we respond, we will now start looking at ourselves suspiciously. Let them face their problem.
He said: “It is just like somebody comes and says, in your house, one of your children is a witch, wants to kill you and maybe it’s a lie. All your six children, you will now be suspecting them. Your home will not be at peace again. Meanwhile, it was your enemy that told you that. Your enemy should remain in his lane. So, Wike should remain in his lane. He should not throw bombs into us. We are confident there is nobody supporting him (Atiku).”
Agbado (maize), cassava concept
While justifying the concept of Agbado and Cassava which critics of Tinubu have taken on, the campaign spokesman said: “I like the ring of that. These people think they are mocking the incoming president and we laugh when we hear them call our candidate ‘Agbado President.’
“So, the Agbado President will also revive something close to the Operation Feed the Nation if not more than that. That will be contained in a manifesto.
“Remember Operation Feed the Nation by Obasanjo’s government in 1979, no other president had taken that order from the former president but because Asiwaju was also a farmer, you know OFN was a big booster then before oil also came in, and people began to grow lazy and they left the farm.
“Buhari is one of the presidents that pushed many people back to the farms again. Now, with the fertilizer initiative, with the Rice Mills that came back again, with the banning of imported rice and all of that, people were forced to go back because they knew that they could earn a lot from rice production. So, people went back to the farm. So, the Agbado President will also revive something close to the Operation Feed the Nation if not more than that.”
Other areas Keyamo revealed include security, human development, massive employment.
On Emilokan, a Yoruba parlance meaning ‘it’s my turn’, Keyamo said the presidential candidate made the statement in the course of seeking support of the APC delegates ahead of the party’s presidential primaries, and not talking to Nigerian public.
“Asiwaju had built from scratch. He took his time, patience; he knew where he was going. You must give it to him the craft in that man’s head from a one state ACN he started to build a coalition. He took his time. Don’t forget that he had the ACN in his palms in 2007, he was the leader, he built the party, so he would have just picked the presidential ticket and said let me begin to contest to see how popular I am. He refused to, so he gave it to Atiku.
“In 2011, the ACN was still in his hands. He called Ribadu and told him to run. In 2015, he brought ACN together with CPC and formed the APC. What prevented him from running for president in 2015 when Buhari ran? Nobody prevented him. Kwanwaso and Atiku all rushed to the party to start picking tickets, but he was looking at them. He was content with the title of National Leader because he knew where he was going.
“When he made sure that it was solid, which we all enjoy today, he provided us with what to use to fight PDP. Of course, people are angry with APC because they feel that we have not lived up to expectations. But everybody wanted something to challenge PDP and they were not sure where that would come from but the APC came and challenged PDP. It was his craft. At that point, he was satisfied that we had arrived.
“So, he put the objectives beyond himself and his personal ambition. If you look at all of this trajectory, he felt he had put the nation first, put the objective and building a coalition that brought PDP down.
“So, when he spoke early this year and said “Emilokan” he didn’t say it to spite Nigerians but it was from a deep personal state to say ‘I have worked enough. It is not my turn to govern Nigeria, but it is my turn to be given a chance, let me try’ because he was talking to delegates, he was not talking to Nigerians.”
On other presidential aspirants
When told other APC presidential aspirants were yet to key into Tinubu’s presidential project, Keyamo assured that all those who contested the ticket with Tinubu will be carried along.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi, Senate President Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and host others contested for the party’s ticket with Tinubu.
“Wait for the list to come out. Have you not seen Yahaya Bello? If the list had not been released, you would say Yahaya Bello has been silent about what is happening. Yahaya Bello has just been announced before others, everybody would be. Not like the PDP that just scattered.”