Tinubu Warns Against Rigging In Ekiti, Osun

The setting was purely academic – the convocation of a university. But, the gathering was a mixture of intellectual giants and frontline politicians – an opportunity for a few words on the state of the nation.

After berating what he called the sit-tight attitude of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-controlled Federal Government, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, warned Nigerians that the government was planning to rig the 2015 elections.

It was all at the 11th (special) convocation of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, yesterday. Tinubu was conferred with a honorary degree and invested as the institution’s fourth chancellor, following the footsteps of the late businessman and leading politician MKO Abiola, the late eminent Jurist Justice Kayode Esho and elder statesman, Chris Ogunbanjo.

To the APC National Leader, it is evident that the PDP-controlled Federal Government is planning to rig, going by its attitude. “You can only discern their intention from their attitude; they are not bothered about the employment and unemployment situation in our country. This is because they plan to rig the election,” TInubu told the huge gathering at the institution’s convocation arena.

He added, however, that the leadership of the progressive movement and their followers would not allow such to happen. His words: “They are busy looking for ways to manipulate the polls in Ekiti. I am not ashamed to tell them that this time it is going to be rig and roast. If you mess up in Osun too, you would see our reaction; it is going to be the same way — rig and roast.” “For every action, there must be a reaction.”

“Nobody will serve you freedom a la carte. You must demand it. We won’t allow any mutilated election result in Ekiti and Osun. We will drive them out. It won’t be a court matter this time.”

Lamenting the worsening security in the country caused by incessant attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect, Tinubu said of the Federal Government: “Enough of excuses and lies. They lie to us. They cannot even account for the number of children that were either killed or abducted. They carry on as if they are not accountable to us. While parents were mourning the loss and disappearance of their children and victims of the Nyanya attack, President Goodluck Jonathan was dancing in Kano. We are not serious.

“For us in the APC, we wish the government the best. As a party, we have no pact with the Boko Haram and they have no pact with us. Our competition is basically on election. We seek your votes, not your lives. We seek your understanding, not your failure. We wish the government complete success. We wish patriotism prevails over partisanship. We are ready to provide our services where needed, provided they will stay away from blackmail.”

According to Tinubu, if voting during last year’s Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) election was anything to go by, “then coming elections would be ones where numbers and maths are (going to be) immaterial.”

He added that the pattern of abuse and malpractice had already been set in Anambra State, where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to match its words with action during last year’s governorship election. The APC is challenging the validity of the election at the tribunal.

He said without electoral reform, the coming elections would be “ones where those the people reject will be proclaimed as the people’s choice”. This development, TInubu added, would place the nation in dire straits.

The only way to avoid this, Tinubu noted, is to introduce sweeping electoral reforms. He said: “Foremost, we need a fully bio-metric voters’ verification and validation of registration system (our current system encourages multiple voting) and verifiable one-man-one-vote. As such, it is a veritable invitation card to massive fraud and malpractice.”

The former governor, who was conferred with a doctor of science (honoris causa) at the special convocation, lamented that the most troubling aspect of the state of the nation is that of lack of inspirational leadership. He said Nigerians have lost faith “that this government is capable of solving the problems affecting them”.

Tinubu blamed the ruling party for this, saying “most of its politicians are not interested in progress”. For instance, he described the recent rebasing of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures as false and misleading, saying they have raised more doubts about the objectives of those in charge of the economy. He said from a modest $305 billion, Nigeria’s GDP ballooned to $488 billion. Nigeria thereby magically leapt over South Africa to become the largest economy in Africa.

The APC chieftain said South Africa’s economy is industrialised and that the country manufactures automobiles, such as BMW, which it exports to Europe, while Nigeria cannot produce ordinary brake pad, he said.

Tinubu, who was described as a champion of democracy, promised a new era for LAUTECH, saying he is very fond of the institution, just like his late mother, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji. “For many years, this institution was one of the top, if not the number one, institution of its type,” he noted.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Gbadegesin, justified the choice of Asiwaju for the position. He said the former governor has demonstrated beyond doubt that he is a good manager of resources and proved to be a distinguished leader.

He said: “Senator Tinubu is now the fourth chancellor. It is a privilege to have such a great leader as our chancellor. Thank you governors Ajimobi and Aregbesola for giving us the best candidate as our chancellor. This will help LAUTECH to become one of the best in Africa.”

Tinubu later moved to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oyewunmi Ajagungbade.

While addressing the monarch, he described the Soun as a progressive minded person. “This is our palace. We need your guidance and prayer. You are in the fore front of industralisation. In the nation of our immense resources,we cannot produce mere tools. We must change this government.”

Oba Ajagungbade urged Tinubu to lift LAUTECH to greater height, using his wealth of experience and influence.

The event was attended by APC chieftains from across the country, including National Leader Muhammadu Buhari, Interim Chairman Bisi Akande, Interim National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and presidential flag bearer of the defunct ACN, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

Others are Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, who came with his wife Sherifat, host Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife Florence, as well as senators and other top party officials. They were Senators Gbenga Ashafa, Olorunimbe Mamora, Femi Ojudu and Sola Adeyeye.

Also there were House of Representatives Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, frontline scholar Prof. Adebayo Williams, Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji and former Lagos Commissioner for Information Mr. Dele Alake.

The Governors of Lagos, Ekiti and Ogun were represented by their spouses – Dame Abimbola Fashola (Lagos), Erelu Bisi Fayemi (Ekiti) and Mrs. Olufunke Amosun (Ogun).

The ceremony was also graced by royal fathers from Oyo and Osun states, which jointly own the institution. The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oyewunmi Ajagungbade, was there.

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