January 15, (THEWILL) – It’s about 42 days to the Nigerian presidential election and the only thing on the lips of Nigerians is how the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would steer the ship of the nation to a desired destination after winning.
This is because from how the campaigns are going, only the APC has been able to convince the majority of Nigerians that it is serious about leadership.
The two men at the forefront of the campaign, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, have all been tried and tested in leadership and no one doubts that they can deliver.
Both have been governors of some of the most demanding states in Nigeria, but had given good accounts of themselves in the eight years they held sway as political leaders.
Tinubu, as governor of Lagos State, set the pace for infrastructural development, youth empowerment and raised the fortunes of the state to a point, where Lagos became self-sustaining.
Shettima, on the other hand, had been governor of Borno state at a time the state was the most challenged in terms of security.
Despite the challenges, however, he was able to perform even better than states that were enjoying peace, by building schools, hospitals, reconstructing roads while being proactive on the issue of security.
His ability to manage the security of the state while in crisis and not lose focus on infrastructural development is similar to what the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Governor Simon Lalong, is doing on the Plateau.
Now that fate has joined the trio to pursue a common cause of developing the country, Nigerians have no doubt that the country would be in safe hands if they’re given the opportunity to rule and are keen on voting for the APC.
Because of these facts, the opposition had nothing to campaign against the APC ticket, thus resorting to instigating religious and ethnic strife for political gains. They ascribed a religious slant to the APC ticket, all in a bid to cause mischief.
The appointment of Governor Simon Lalong, the only Christian APC governor, as the Director General, however, effectively overwhelmed the claim of religious bias and the opposition no longer had anything to talk about.
Their plan to recreate what happened in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis resulted in a conflagration that plunged the country into an avoidable civil war that claimed nearly one million lives.
Armed with the mantra that keeping Nigeria one is a task that must be done, Gov. Lalong, as the DG of the Presidential Campaign council successfully transversed the length and breadth of the country and changed the narratives by evolving issues about the capacity of the duo to deliver.
The inclusiveness of the APC contrasts sharply with what was happening in the main opposition party, the PDP, which went against its own resolve to produce a candidate from the Southern part of the country and threw up Atiku Abubakar, a northern candidate as its flagbearer.
By trying to enable another northerner to take over from Buhari, they have jettisoned the understanding for unity and integration, and are encouraging a regionally fractious political stratosphere that violates the principle of power-sharing.
For the ambition of one man, they swallowed their resolve without sensitivity to the overwhelming agitation for regional power shift and integration.
The Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, on the other hand, is busy instigating youthful discontent on social media to cause insurrection in his South East region that is already threatening civil unrest to plunge the most populous African country to war not minding the accompanying refugee crisis that may follow, which would be a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.
As the only Christian Governor in his party in northern Nigeria, Gov. Lalong had courageously led his colleague-governors to advocate for a power shift to the south against powerful interests and at great risk.
As a peace advocate, who restored peace to the hitherto restive Plateau State through policies and structures including the first-ever Peace Building Agency, Gov Lalong is systematically deploying democratic platforms to unite the country behind the APC Tinubu/Shettima presidential candidate to create consensus.
Following the lifting of political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC Presidential Campaign Council under his leadership has embarked on an ambitious political campaign to the nooks and crannies of the country.
Available records attest to the fact that no political party has surpassed the grassroots mobilisation of the APC as led by President Buhari, the candidates, the DG and their wives at rallies, Town Hall meetings, visitations in 70 percent of the country in all the geographical regions of North and Southern Nigeria namely: Plateau, Nassarawa, Niger, Kogi, Kano, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, FCT Abuja, Bauchi, Taraba, Lagos, Edo, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and others.
While none of the parties and their candidates have done only 20 percent of this coverage, they have resorted to foreign travels and lazy propaganda on social media platforms to mislead innocent, misguided adherents and the International community.
The Renewed Hope Agenda is being translated to critical interest groups including labour, farmers, youths, the business community and artisans, amongst several others, where their concerns are being accommodated and addressed.
The failed attempts by opposition elements to throw tantrums against the tide are falling like a pack of cards as the Tinubu/Shettima ticket gains traction.
*** Written by Yakubu Dati, Chief of Staff to The DG APC / PCC, a former GM FAAN