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Chatham House: Tinubu speaks on election, promises reform

 

The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said the incessant attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a source of concern for the forthcoming 2023 general election.

Speaking at Chatham House in the United Kingdom on Monday, he said ballot security and election violence are major areas of concern for the country.

He said the attacks on INEC facilities and violence are the two biggest threats to the 2023 general elections and that he was against the development.

According to him,  “Ballot security and election violence are areas where there are causes for concern. There is an emerging trend of attacks against the personnel and infrastructure of the electoral commission in some parts of the country. At the same time, political conversation on social media has become more laced with violent rhetoric and threat of violence and retaliation against those perceived as opposition.

“I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation. Having spent most of my career in political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and attempted to extinguish the legitimacy of the choice of voters. I will continue to do so, I promise,” he said.

He also appealed to others to commit to a peaceful election by allowing voters to determine the path of the country.

“I hereby urge all fellow contestants to do the same. Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation. And let this election be determined by voters, making their choice freely, rather than domineering domination and trouble,” he said.

 

He added that despite the concerns, Nigerians are committed to democracy regardless of their political differences.

He added that “The Nigerian elections of 2023 are coming up at a time when the country’s immediate geographical neighbourhood of West Africa and Central Africa is undergoing serious political turmoil that has manifested itself in the incursion of the military to power in a number of countries.”

Tinubu also promised that, if elected, his administration will be committed to energy sufficiency through the reform of the sector.

“Energy supply is another priority. There is no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambition for self can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.

 

“It is time to recognise that the centralised approach to energy policy infrastructure is not an optimal engagement, and it is unlikely to improve by mere tinkering around the sides. The federal government as regulator and operator and price fixer is a broken model,” he said.

 

Turning to education, Tinubu said he would provide student loans and reform the Almajiri system in the northern part of the country.

 

He added that he would recruit and train more teachers as a way of boosting education.

“There will be student loans. We are going to reform the Almajiri system. We will equally build more schools, recruit more teachers and train them.”

 

Tinubu stated that he would introduce technology hubs where “youths can even develop technological languages on their own and make a better 21st-century approach to governance in Nigeria.”

Clearing the air over his birth and academic records, he said these documents are not inconsistent as his critics claim, saying he was born on March 29, 1952.

“I have a very good exposure in life. My record is consistent in the school, at the university. They (critics) are now convinced that they wasted their money and their time. The record is there, the transcript is there showing March 1952,”

The APC candidate said he was a proper member of the Tinubu family just as he lambasted an unnamed presidential candidate who is allegedly “not a Nigerian.”

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