Patrick OkohueIt was obviously a show stopper, an A Grade event and many Lagosians were eagerly waiting for it, even if not for their interest in it, at least for it to pass so they can have their peace of mind back. The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign which berthed in Lagos on Saturday, February 9, was one event that was highly talked about and it lived up to its billing. The news of the event came to many Lagosians in the form of announcement of the planned closure of some major roads in the city on the said date, which actually meant that most of the busy access roads into from the Airport to the Island to some part of the ever busy Stadium area will be out of bounds. But, following the apprehension created by that news in the ever busy city, the state government through the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Habib Aruna issued a statement on government’s decision to rethink the road closure. According to Aruna in the statement, “following the apprehension that has greeted the scheduled visit of President Muhammadu Buhari for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally on Saturday, the Lagos State Government on Friday allayed fears of residents assuring that there would be no road closures as earlier announced.” He said the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Ladi Lawanson earlier position at a press briefing earlier announcing diversion and road closure had been reviewed, adding that residents were free to go about their businesses.
Though this new position went a long way in calming tensed nerves, many Lagosians on the day rather preferred to stay indoors, unless for those who had earlier arranged outings that could not be changed or those heading for the stadium. At the stadium on Saturday, the estatic crowd showed love to the President and expressed their determination to return President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to Aso Rock not matter the opposition against them. President Buhari himself did not disappoint the people, as he reiterated his resolve to focus more on the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the economically disadvantaged Nigerians, rather than dwelling on matters that is less beneficial to the populace. According to the President, by every instance the deliverables in terms of infrastructure, road and railway construction and direct empowerment to peasant traders, massive rice cultivation protecting local content and more has bettered the lots of Nigerians. “I assure you that the promises we made here, we will keep, the next level is about job creation and that will be done, we will do more by doing our best. “We will maintain focus in ensuring the delivery of the dividend of democracy and moving Nigeria forward, I am convinced that we will win, through the massive votes from you all,” Buhari said. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in his remarks, cited three things on the administration’s to do list if re-elected to include; “job creation for youths, steady power supply, roads and railway construction. He also noted that, “Corruption, greed and selfishness spoilt everything, that informs why we are where we are.” “The past administration never agreed that June 12 be our democracy day, but thanks to Buhari, he pronounced June 12 a public holiday.” The National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomole in his remarks took a swipe at the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led administration for having deliberately fleeced the country to a pitiable state. “Nigeria would have been far ahead if APC had been in charge since, this is the only President no British Prime Minister can call a thief, same goes for Trump, even clerics have affirmed he is on the side of the people.” Oshiomole noted that, “Atiku’s Nigeria is the type that should work for the rich alone, but Buhari’s Nigeria should target spending N5bn for the poor, if as a Vice President you did nothing, why should we trust you? It is a class issue masses versus the rich and poor.” The APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a very joyful mood, appraised Lagos success story from his days as governor of the state, referring to his successor and the incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as a continuum. Tinubu recalled how former President Olusegun Obasanjo stalled his noble IPP power effort. “We taught Obasanjo then that there is no other way to make business, evolution and revolution without power. “I introduced Independent Power Project IPP in Badagry, he and Atiku opposed it, I went to court, my lawyer then was Osinbajo,I won in court we started the 340megawatts,imagine if we had continued. “Dunlop, Michellin,Siemens and many others would not have moved out of Nigeria.” Tinubu also taught and sensitise eligible voters gathered at the Teslim Balogun Stadium the campaign venue, concerning how they are expected to cast their vote. Telling them to use their index finger so as to avoid having voided votes and to stay by their votes, he added, “Atiku and Obi are asking for your votes, but Atiku said there is nothing wrong with selling Nigeria to his croonies? “They want to take the monies back to Europe again, foreign observers are truly welcomed, you are free to observe, write your report and go back home. We have our style of democracy, interference is what we are against. “Obasanjo is the greatest election rigger, he is an expired milk on the shelf, let’s dispose him in the waste bin. Also speaking, the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode assured President Muhammadu Buhari that residents of Lagos would troop out enmasse on February 16 and deliver the state to him and other National Assembly candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Governor Ambode said the President in the last three and half years fully supported the infrastructural growth in the state and would do more if given another mandate of four years. According to him, the February 16 election was not about tribe or religion, but strictly about job creation, infrastructural development and economic growth, saying that President Buhari has shown total commitment to making life comfortable for residents. “In and outside of the stadium, you can see the crowd that has turned out here and we are very grateful that Lagos has been signed, sealed and delivered to APC already. The message is very clear. “We appreciate Mr. President for his support to our state in the last three and half years. The achievements that we have recorded in Lagos were possible because of his support. This election is not about tribe or religion, it’s about infrastructure, jobs and the economy and the right path to go is to go to the APC. “if you see what we are doing in Lagos already, you will see that the Airport road is not for the Yorubas or the Igbos or the Hausas, it is about making life comfortable for Nigerians and that is why Mr. President has continually supported all our projects by even refunding some of the funds we used for capital projects so that we can complete more projects,” Governor Ambode said. He said it was important for Nigerians to entrust President Buhari with another four years in office to continue in the trajectory of growth, warning that the return of the opposition party would do nothing but alter the progress made by the Federal Government so far. “If you remember, the first two years of this administration we were in recession caused by the PDP, but in the last two years, we have stabilised, we have created the groundwork for growth and that is where APC is different from the PDP. They will tell you that they want to make Nigeria work again, but ask them who destroyed Nigeria in the first place? “Therefore, this election is about moving the economy forward and for this to be possible, we need to continue on the foundation that we have already made in the last four years. APC remains one party, we remain one nation and one family,” the governor said. Earlier, Minister for Works, Power and Housing, former governor of Lagos, Mr Raji Fashola SAN, reeled out the various feats of the Buhari led administration, citing the poise of their government to better the lots of the masses. “The South West is better with the Vice President’s position, the other party offer nothing but the secretary position, they said we don’t need to have VP in South West instead we should be Secretary to the Federal Government. “At least better days are here, there is light now compared with what obtains in time past, we are only left with estimated billings and we have laws in place to deal with that. “We have licensed 108 companies to produce meters, the installation of which will also create jobs, artisans will also benefit. “The President has given us the authority, we have many job creating projects on ground, we shall embark on the maintenance of all government parastatals, agencies and ministries office, bad doors and windows and more would be fixed. “This will create jobs to bricklayers, carpenters, wielders and others. “The other party lacks what it takes to build Mabilla Plateau as they promised, we have commenced the project we need 18million bags of cement to do that. “This means extraction of limestone for cement manufacturing, we will also bag it and move them to site, these are job opportunities line out. “22,500 trucks is needed for that as well as 42,000 tonnes of iron rod, many more avenues of job creation abounds,” he said.