Late Sunday evening, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, commended President Muhammad Buhari for agreeing to the extension of the deadline for the swapping of old Naira notes with the newly designed ones.
Tinubu, it would be recalled, had last Wednesday, at his campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State, stated that redesigning the three highest denominations of the Naira was a calculated attempt to frustrate his presidential ambition and vowed to win the election despite the obstacle.
But speaking in Benin on Sunday at a town hall meeting with stakeholders, the APC presidential flagbearer hinted that his coming late for the meeting resulted from the appeals he was making for the deadline extension.
As part of his campaign for the number one position, the former governor of Lagos State held a meeting with political leaders, social groups, and professionals from various sectors, where he presented his programmes and called for support for his party in all the elections beginning from February 25 this year.
Before the meeting, the presidential candidate was at the palace of the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare II, Ob of Benin, where the Benin monarch in the company of traditional rulers from Edo Central and Edo North Senatorial Districts received him,
Tinubu assured the Omo N’Oba that he would fight for restitution on the artifacts taken away from the city and that part of his programmes if he wins the election, would be to explore the rich mineral resources in Edo State, particularly gas, which he said could be exported to Europe.
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According to him, “My coming late is not intentional; it is because of the national politics, some of our cousins, our wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roasted corn, they need money, and they need Naira in the process if Naira is cancelled the way it is and we fail to intervene, we have failed in our duties. We have been on this for three to four days and suddenly today, when the president said okay, out of great respect, he will consider our request for an extension, we were happy.
“I was running back and forth on this and calling him, so that is what we have been doing. Hopefully, even though we didn’t get all that we wanted, we got an extension by several days”, Tinubu enthused.
Speaking on his ambition, the APC presidential candidate said that Oba Ewuare II had been a great traditional ruler, assuring that the monarch’s concerns about youth unemployment would be adequately addressed by his presidency.
“You have been a great ruler, and I saw you spoke your mind about the unemployment of youths, Your Majesty; count on me, bless me, we will be able to achieve great employment for our youths.
“You talked about the education of our children, it is in our work plan, and I can tell you as I am standing here the programme is there education reform will happen. We will establish student loans, minimise the interest rate, stagger their payments, and give parents relief. They don’t have to be slaves to the circumstances”, Tinubu boasted
Speaking about his development plans, he said, “Benin is the economic centre of this region rich in resources, rich in gas we are working on West Africa gas that will sell in Europe we would have been making money in this country today if those who said they want power and ruled for 16 years, if they had thought about this, we would have been better, Nigeria would have been selling gas and the development for Edo would have been different, I assure you we are going to mend all those anomalies and Edo will be a centre of economic activities for all.”
For the artifacts, Tinubu said he would support the construction of a museum to house them and would continue to call for restitution from those who have housed them all these years.
“I am here to seek your prayers, I fought for and suffered for democracy in this country, I made sacrifices. When we started these eight years, it is only normal to look forward to succession and I told President Buhari that I am running and I am running nowhere, I am running for the villa when you move out, I want to occupy the place; therefore I need your blessings, that blessing is important to me.”
Receiving the presidential candidate, Oba Ewuare II appreciated Tinubu’s planned support for the museum, which he said would help tourism and research, disclosing that the Federal Government had taken over the building of the museum through the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).
The Benin monarch also commended the state government for supporting the museum project.
At the town hall meeting, Tinubu promised a total deregulation of the oil sector so that market forces would determine the price of oil products depending on the location.
This was as he assured that if elected, his administration would get all the refineries to work and warned the people not to allow other parties like the PDP to come back to power.