The governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, has dismissed the speech presented by President Goodluck Jonathan at the inauguration of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign, in Lagos on Wednesday, saying it had become obvious that the president could no longer rule the country.
Speaking in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Thursday during the Edo Town Hall meeting, the governor said the president spent close to an hour delivering his speech without being able to explain what he had done in the last six years had been in power or what he would do if re-elected.
Mr. Fashola, who spoke after the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Femi Osinbajo, unfolded the party’s programme, said Mr. Jonathan did not only exhibit unnecessary anger but was critical of his predecessor without unfolding his plan for the country.
“Today, you have listened to a vice presidential candidate telling you in 29 minutes many things you will never hear at a rally because the time for such discussions doesn’t exist for many Nigerian want to interrogate people making empty promises, the governor said.
“But we chose to be different because we are bustling with ideas. We know ideas can change things. He (Osinbajo) has spoken to you for 29 minutes. He has been on this assignment for only three weeks and he has discussed power with you, he has discussed employment with you, he has discussed agriculture with you, he has discussed welfare scheme, health care, youth development with you without reading any speech. He has been there for three weeks only and he has not been yet elected.
“Now what is on the other side (PDP), because I spent about an hour listening to the president in my state? For almost the same period I saw a very angry president. I saw a president who is lamenting about people judging his performance and blaming all those who ruled before him, forgetting that he has been on this job for six years.
“And he kept saying ‘they say we don’t have a plan’ and for almost 45 minutes he did not reveal a plan on security, he did not reveal a plan on corruption. I listened to him. Now after six years without being able to articulate what he has done and what he will do but blaming everybody and forgetting that he is the Commander-in-Chief. If the kitchen is becoming too hot as it’s becoming obvious he must get out of it.”
Mr. Fashola, a member of the APC, who will complete his second tenure as governor in May, said the coming election would be about job approval.
He said, “This election is going to be about job approval. It is not about where you come from; it is not about how young he is; it is job approval after six years. Are you happy with your situation?
“So if after six years he has not been able to explain to you what he is doing with your time, with your resource – 52 % revenue formula, do you want to continue another four years.”
The governor said unlike the PDP presidential candidate, Mr. Osinbajo was a man who had not done the job but able to explain his party’s agenda just three weeks after he was named a vice presidential running mate.
He said he knew Mr. Osinbajo very well having served as attorney general and commissioner for justice in the administration of former Governor Bola Tinubu the same time he (Fashola) served as Chief of Staff.
“I know this man. He was AG of Lagos State when I was Chief of Staff to Governor Tinubu. People have introduced him as a pastor, yes he is. But he is also a professor of law. He became a professor at 33 or so. So he has taught many lawyers and he still teaches. He also goes to court and he still preaches religion. That is the versatility of the man,” he said.
“What many people do not know, which the PDP people agreed – God bless the soul of Late Umaru Yar’Adua, who said the election that brought him to power was flawed they rigged everything that was ‘riggable’. It was Professesor Osinbajo that challenged all of us saying ‘we can’t let this thing go without a challenge. Let us go and go get forensic expert because I believe that the ballot papers was thumb-printed not by legitimate voters and he brought somebody and one by one it showed where either the same person voted 100 times… they used palm kernel. That is the capacity of the man who wants to be your vice president.”
Earlier, Mr. Osinbajo had asked the audience to vote for change in the coming election.
“We must change everything that affects us in Nigeria and this is our opportunity. February 14, 2015 is that opportunity. We have no choice but to make a change. There is no time to waste. We have a great opportunity to change this country,” he said amid cheers from the audience.
The APC vice presidential running mate said the priority of the APC “is first employment because we need to get the young people back to work”.
He said, “If we continue at the rate we are going, we will have more people out of work; we would have doubled the people out of work now by 2016. We are churning out people from the university and institutions but we are not engaging them. It is important that we find solution.”
Mr. Osinbajo explained that the party’s manifesto has outlined how it would tackle the power challenge, education, and other issues.
He said, “Let us not assume that running this country is rocket science, that running this country is difficult. It is not. Other countries that have less resources than us are well run. All we need to do is to put people who know. I pray that God gives us the opportunity to run this country and the country will be unrecognisable in one year.”