By DOYIN OKUPE
It is heart-warming that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu finally made seeming a volte-face on his initial opposition to the convocation of a National Dialogue/Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan in his October 1st National Broadcast.
It is obvious that his initial reaction on arrival from overseas medical trip was not well-thought out and was roundly opposed, rejected and condemned by a clear majority of the Nigerian people, in particular, the authentic Yoruba leadership in the South West.
It is therefore crystal clear and unarguable that whatever position the APC Leader holds on the issue of the National Conference does not represent the views of the majority of Yoruba people in the South West.
In his initial reaction, Senator Bola Tinubu rejected the National Dialogue outrightly and called it a “Greek Gift”, diversionary and an act of public deception, which according to him was also ill timed because of the supposed closeness to the forthcoming 2015 Elections.
His assertion that there is an ulterior motive for the conference is purely conjectural and speculative; and has no foundation in any reasoning or logic. The onus is heavily on him to prove this; hence we will not dwell too much on this unjustifiable conclusion.
We wish to state categorically that President Goodluck Jonathan has shown convincingly that he is a credible, reliable and capable leader by his unprecedented achievements in such a short space of time. He most certainly does not flip flop as the opposition politician insinuates.
President Jonathan promised to embark on electoral reforms with the sole aim of giving Nigerians the full value of credible elections.
It will be recalled that the very first general elections under the watch of President Jonathan was adjudged by both local and international observers including leaders of foreign nations such as America, Britain and France, as being one of the best ever in Nigerian history. This fact is further confirmed by a monumental reduction of almost 70% of litigations arising from the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
Another pointer to his commitment in this regard are the Edo and Ondo States Governorship Elections where the President’s party PDP lost and the entire process was commended by all Nigerians including Bola Tinubu’s party, the then ACN. One therefore wonders the mischief that Bola Tinubu intended to play by the alleged non implementation of reports of the Justice Uwais committee on electoral reforms.
Therefore, contrary to Senator Tinubu’s position, Mr President has demonstrated reliability and capability in his handling of his electoral reform promise to the Nigerian people.
The President promised that he will deliver Power to the Nigerian people through a well-planned Power Roadmap. To date, all the 10 previously comatose NIPP Projects capable of adding an additional 5000 megawatts to our National Grid have been virtually completed by this administration. Two weeks ago, in order that even the most cynical of all can see and confirm that these are not political gimmicks, the Geregu NIPP Power Plant with 434 Megawatts was commissioned by the President to the admiration and appreciation of the entire citizenry and in a few weeks from now, Omotosho Plant with 450 MW will also be commissioned. Surely and steadily, Nigeria is moving towards the provision of uninterrupted power supply to the citizenry.
The seemingly impossible feat of full privatisation of the PHCN which has been on the burner since 2005 was seamlessly and transparently executed within the framework of best international practice. This is currently the largest privatisation exercise in the world today; with potential value in excess of $ 3.0 Billion US Dollars. This has been commended by financial experts and investors all over the world.
The successes in the Transportation Sector including revitalization of collapsed and abandoned Railway Networks nationwide and the establishment of new modern gauge in Abuja, Kaduna, Ajaokuta and Lagos are self-evident.
Road Infrastructure has been handled expertly and effectively. These include:
a. Benin – Ore Road
b. Kano – Maiduguri dual carriage way
c. Enugu – Port Harcourt
d. Abuja – Abaji – Lokoja
e. Apapa – Oshodi Express way
f. The 160 billion Lagos – Ibadan Expressways which is currently under reconstruction
Giant strides are also being recorded in Agriculture, Industry and Aviation.
Amazingly, Senator Bola Tinubu spoke ignorantly on the issue of the Sure-P. He ought to have been better informed rather than the shameful falsehood he tried to disseminate on the utilization of the Sure-P funds. We submit for the records, the allocation to Sure-P and the projects to which the Federal Government has applied them. These are verifiable facts.
The Federal Government receives 41% of the total Sure-P funds while all the States and Local Governments receive the remaining 59%. The utilization of the Federal Government Sure-P funds in 2012 and 2013 are stated below:
The leader of the APC should publish the total amount of money received by the APC States and the projects for which they were used for Nigerians to see who is reliable and capable and who is not.
The second question raised by Asiwaju Tinubu was the issue of the management of the Amnesty Programme. He claims this has been hijacked by some people and that it constitutes a drain-pipe to the Nation’s economy.
Nothing exposes Asiwaju Tinubu’s ignorance in matters relating to national affairs than this unsubstantiated and unsustainable criticism of the otherwise laudable programme which is being well managed and co-ordinated by the Federal Government.
Tinubu’s myopia and beclouded diatribe on this matter reveals the narrow mindedness of a local politician totally insensitive to the genuine sensibilities of other sub-nationalities within the polity. The results of the various programmes of the Amnesty Office are self-evident and have definitely impacted positively on the lives and wellbeing of the Youths and Communities in the Niger Delta Region.
Finally, the reference to the fact that Mr President is calling for a National Conference at a time when his party, the PDP seems to be having an internal crisis is plainly mischievous and dishonest.
The APC leader, as usual, is completely off target. Desperate politicians and self-seeking political leaders tend to believe that their quest for power or insatiable appetite for wealth accumulation through politics is superior to the genuine desires and innate aspiration of the ordinary Nigerians.
While the Bola Tinubus of this world focus only on the 2015 general elections, most patriotic ordinary Nigerians are more concerned with the emergence of a true united Nation, based on equity and justice to all its component parts, devoid of schisms and rancour which has made it impossible for us to benefit from the full potential of all the God-given resources of our great Nation.
Senator Tinubu in his criticism of the conference asked: “Where is the capability, where is the sincerity?” He also queried: “Will this president have the guts to implement fully all final resolutions of the conference without fear or favour?” On all these queries, we state that for the first time in the history of post-independence Nigeria, a Federal Government took a bold initiative to call for a National Conference without the obnoxious “no-go-areas” so that Nigerians can once and for all have the opportunity to address all pertinent issues regarding the polity and has also given the advisory committee freewill to determine its nature and/or structure. This is a definite demonstration of boldness and sincerity by the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Our dear Senator Tinubu wants the Yoruba Nation and indeed the people of Lagos State to believe that he is sincere in rendering public service to the state and the people, whereas he has heavily garrisoned the state political apparatus with a sizeable number of his immediate family members. Nigerians should ignore the vituperations of so called leaders who don’t see anything good in anyone or any programme except they are either in control of it or that it is tailored to satisfy their inordinate desires and greed.
Like Mr President said at the inauguration of the Advisory committee on National Conference “Let us move forward with honest conviction and patriotic courage to strengthen this Republic and get it to work better and brighter, for all of us, to the glory of God”.
•Being text of a press conference addressed today in Abuja by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe