Abuja – A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Thursday, said that the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC, winning the 2019 elections will depend on how well the current government can handle some critical issues affecting the nation, before the 2019 elections roll in.
The APC Chieftain noted in Abuja that the impediment to the victory of APC in 2019 is big but not insurmountable.
While the APC chieftain listed the challenges that will likely draw back smooth sail for Buhari in 2019, the President himself has assured that he’s committed to conducting a free and fair election in 2019, with the results acceptable to all who may participate in the poll.
However, former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, has warned that Nigeria’s democracy will be tested in 2019 mainly if President Muhammadu Buhari will be willing to accept defeat if and when he loses the election.
Lamido also told Tinubu that his stay in APC no longer has value and he should therefore dump the ruling party for the PDP, arguing that as a progressive, he (Tinubu) should no longer relate with a party like APC.
The opinions of the trio were made public at the yearly Daily Trust Newspapers dialogue held in Abuja, with the theme; ‘Nigeria and the Challenges of 2019″.
Tinubu, represented by his former Finance Commissioner in Lagos state Wale Edun, warned that 2019 elections definitely will “not return to games being played by a well-heeled elite while the rest of the nation is left to struggle and starve.”
The former Lagos State Governor acknowledged that despite some of the achievements recorded by the present administration, the issue of subsidy regime, Fulani/farmers frequent clashes, unemployment and pension arrears must be tackled as they pose great impediments to electoral victory for the APC come 2019.
He said: “As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation.
“Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance.
“For example, we must reform the current fuel subsidy regime. At this stage it causes more problems than it cures. Bottlenecks of long fuel queues, erratic supply, resultant economic dislocations for consumers from lack of fuel and the corrupt practices of trade insiders undermine the good intentions upon which the subsidy is based.
“Currently, the subsidy does not benefit the average person. It sweetly profits the elites who manipulate the program to their own advantage.
“We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price. We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonise supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good.
“In addition, we must repair our social safety net. Old people who have given so much to the nation are being shortchanged and forced to live in penury when they should be living in the dignity due their advanced years and their former labors”.
President Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, assured Nigerians of his willingness to conduct free and fair elections come 2019.
The President also said there was a need to sustain efforts at building confidence in the country’s democratic institutions, especially judiciary and the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He called on gladiators in the political setting to play the game according to the rule.
“I also call on politicians and political parties to pledge their commitment to peaceful democratic process by urging their supporters to respect the electoral process and refrain from violence. All aggrieved parties should seek redress through constitutional means and respect for the rules of law.
“On our part I want to assure Nigerians that my administration will not condone any action, support any individual or group that undermine citizens confidence in the country’s political institutions to conduct peaceful and successful elections” the President said.
However, Sule Lamido, in his speech right in the presence of Mustapha who represented the President, said emphatically that the coming 2019 general will be defined “by what APC is all about.”
While describing APC as a party without history, he added that the ruling party won 2015 general elections on “lies and propaganda.”
Asking Tinubu to decamp from the APC, the former Governor said Tinubu could only reintegrate himself as a democrat when he leaves the APC.
“Tell Asiwaju that his brother and friend says he is in a wrong party. He will only recover and reintegrate himself as a democrat if he leaves the APC.
“Buhari never attended any meeting of former Heads of state while Yar’Adua was president. But he was the first person to arrive the meeting after Yar’Adua death.
“APC won in 2015 by creating disaffection among families. In Gusau, they went from house to house flogging PDP members.
“APC is telling us what government should do after three years in power. APC should tell us what they failed to do.
“They call Nigerians wailing wailers for complaining. Thankfully, wailing will be over in 2019.
“APC members have joined the wailing wailers. Buhari is wailing. His wife is wailing. Sagay is wailing, Akande is wailing, everybody is wailing,” he said.
Challenging the integrity of the President as 2019 elections draw nearer, he said: “I hope APC and Mohammadu Buhari would have the honour to concede in 2019 when Nigerians vote them out, just the same way Goodluck Jonathan and PDP did in 2015.”
Lamido, who described APC as a coalition of desperate politicians, also said that the ruling party was “fantastic in telling lies.”