Posted in the nation
Nothing less than N7billion was blown on the National Conference – the controversial talkshop that is the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration’s pill for all that ails the polity – it was learnt yesterday.
It’s a waste, All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. said.
In the view of Gen. Buhari, the money should have been spent on education.
The APC candidate spoke at a town hall meeting with some youths at the MUSON Centre in Lagos. He spoke extempore.
It was the second leg of the campaign by the party after a South South zonal rally held earlier in the day in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The campaign was relaunched on Wednesday with the Northwest rally in Kaduna.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been campaigning on the plank that President Goodluck Jonathan will implement the report of the conference, if re elected.
Gen. Buhari urged the youth to join hands to salvage the country. Also listening, besides, the youths, were leaders of the party, including National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, Campaign Director General Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, and Kaduna State governorship candidate Mallam Nasir El Rufai.
The theme of the event is “Secure the future: Discussing Change with the youth”.
Gen. Buhari said education had suffered under Jonathan’s administration, noting that the APC government would return the country to where it should truly be.
He said: “If we go back to history, we will know that during the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he spent more that 15 per cent of the wealth of Western Region on education and we know the result now. The Sardauna of Sokoto, we were told, spent about 23 per cent, but I don’t think this government in the period of PDP has spent up to six per cent on education. The infrastructure in the education sector has deteriorated in view of this.
“This government voted N7 billion to do a national conference, which is the duty of the National Assembly. The money should have been put in education. Our students in the universities and other tertiary institutions would have had no cause to be home as a result of incessant strikes.
“This government does not care about the education of its people and just like in other areas of endeavour. They don’t care about what happens to us, what they care about is their own pockets.” he said.
Gen. Buhari said the state of insecurity in the country, especially in the Northeast, the kidnapping in the Southeast and menace of militants in the South-south are serious matters to ponder.
He urged the youth to always keep record of events in the country, in order not to be misled through the false information sent out from some quarters.
The former Head of State said timely, free and fair elections will protect democracy, noting that there is no constitutional provision for frivolous shifts in the dates of elections.
He explained that the whole idea of the election is to “save and rescue” the country from the current economic free fall, insecurity and high unemployment.
Gen. Buhari said the public must be aware that the competition in the polity is already getting out of hands, with all manner of ploys to resist “change”.
He said: “I have not come here to make promises to you, but to tell you that we have a duty to save our nation. And that is what March 28 and April 11 election dates are all about. No Nigeria should accept any postponement because there is no constitutional provision for postponement. We must conduct election and it must be free, fair and credible.”
He added that the APC had identified three problems facing the country, mainly insecurity: Boko Haram in the Northeast, militancy in the Southsouth and pockets of restiveness in the Southwest.
“The important issue, for us, is insecurity. Second issue is unemployment, and it affects you all, that still have more than 40 years to go. No matter how well I love to live, there is no way I’ll live another 40 years.
“I want you to reflect on how lives have been in the last 16 years of the PDP-led government. What is the strength of the naira from when they took over and now? It is now over N220 to one dollar. To revamp the system, there is need for trillions of naira but where will they get it from? PDP has killed this country in the last 16 years. If we don’t kill corruption in Nigeria, it will kill Nigeria. Many of us are still here because we have no where to go in the world than to stay in Nigeria.
He reiterated that the APC’s mission is to rebuild the economy by addressing unemployment, insecurity and corruption.
He added that: “Our objective is to throw away PDP and rehabilitate our country. We will not be distracted by their plans and smear campaign. The problem of Boko Haram went haywire when the police arrested and killed their leaders, instead of prosecuting them. It got so bad that Chad, Niger and Cameroon had to come and help the Nigerian military to rescue 14 Local Government Areas from Boko Haram. PDP has killed the country. That is why this election will be very defining, especially for the youth and the change we all want.”
Also present were former governors Timipre Silva and Kayode Fayemi.
Presenting their demands to Gen. Buhari, should he win the election, the students demanded a reduction in school fees, free school-bus ride, effective job creation system, security and ICT in all secondary schools.
Lagos State University (LASU) students Union Government President Adeyemi Wasiu Onikoro said their loyalty for the APC candidate was in line with participation in affairs that really affects their wellbeing.
He said they had mobilised in ensuring that no fewer than 7,000 students collected their PVCs to vote in the coming elections.
Addressing the students, Amaechi said the reason they had allowed Gen. Buhari to speak extempore was to show that he is fit to be president, contrary to the lies coming from the PDP.
Odigie-Oyegun expressed joy that many of the students that spoke saw light at the end of the tunnel and were ready to struggle for democracy, their lives and the betterment of the country.
His words: “Truly, the future belongs to you and no one will hand it over to you on the platter of gold. We have had 16 years of bad leadership and six years of retrogression. You must from now know that everyone you put in office must be responsible to you. It is not by fighting or setting houses ablaze, but by having a voice and it must be by your vote,” he said.
Fashola said integrity and untainted records stood the Buhari-Osinbajo candidacy. “I have said this to help you make informed decision and not on the basis of what your friend chooses. Buhari is contesting because past leaders have failed to keep their promises.
”It is obvious that the current administration has failed. He was here in Lagos and asked you to come with him. Come to where? You should ask him. These are some of the issues we should put on the table to make meaningful choice,” Fashola said.
Fayemi said the youth engagement had held in previously in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, among others, and would go on to Sokoto after Southwest.
“But, you have additional job besides just voting in the election. You must also encourage elders in your community, telling them that it is not about the General but about you the youths and the generation yet unborn,” Fashola said.
El-Rufai urged the youth to vote for the party and candidates that will secure the country’s future.