By Bala Ibrahim.
The APC Presidential campaign train was today in Zamfara state, where, along with the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Turakin Keffi, the Presidential candidate of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was received in Gusau, by supporters in their multitudes. Although Tinubu was there to sell himself and his programmes to the people, particularly his promise to bring a renewed hope to the country, today’s outing succeeded in sending a special message to the detractors, by dispelling the rumoured rancour between the Asiwaju and President Muhammadu Buhari. Yes, contrary to the story being rammed down the throats of the gullible by the disparagers, to the effect that Tinubu is feeling abandoned by Buhari, whom they alleged is planning to rob Peter in order to pay Paul, the Asiwaju has today shamed those championing such silly shenanigans.
First to break the ice at the rally in Gusau today, and tell the world that all is well between the President and the Presidential candidate, was the national chairman, Turakin Keffi, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who began by interrogating the crowd, thus, who is Buhari’s successor? To which the crowd answered, Tinubu!, with big choruses. After repeating the question twice and getting the same answer, the Turaki again asked, Who is Nigeria’s next President? The crowd again answered Tinubu!, loudly and affirmatively. With the ice broken, he raised the hand of the Asiwaju and appealed to the people to ensure they elect him President, come 25th February next year, and also elect Bello Muhammad Matawalle as the Governor of the state for a second term.
Pursuant to Tinubu’s address to supporters at a rally in Abeokuta few days ago, where, in relation to the naira redesign and the biting fuel scarcity in the country, he said, “saboteurs” would not stop his march to victory in the February 25 election, mischief makers went to town with the negative interpretation that the statement was a taunt on the President and the Government. More so, because it was made in the same Abeokuta, where sometimes last year, the controversial “Emi lo kan” chant was made.
Although the APC presidential campaign council had since dismissed these claims, but coming from the mouth of the Asiwaju himself today, and to the hearing of countless supporters, that he has an enduring relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, is a big testament to the absence of any rift. Tinubu reiterated his respect for the President and his readiness to continue with such respect, regardless of what the mischief makers would continue to do.
Tinubu was in Daura yesterday Friday, where he visited the President, along with Governor Bello Masari of Katsina and some APC governors, and the issue of the rumoured sour relationship is believed to be topmost on the agenda. Although no details emerged from the meeting, but from the tone of the state House Press release today, one can say the Presidency is partially telling Tinubu, that the exercise is not intended at frustrating his ambition.
According to the press release signed by Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, the Government has made it clear that it intends to eliminate squeeze and chaos in currency swap, by ensuring that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain. With regards the reports of long queues of people waiting for hours at the banks in order to deposit old notes and get new ones, which is triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism, the President maintained that the currency changes were aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, and that it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding. This, he assured, will stabilize and strengthen the economy.
The release said the President has taken note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship, as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, but gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.
He reiterated that a number of initiatives by the Central Bank and all commercial banks are underway, to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.
Indeed, regardless of where one stands in the politics of Nigeria today, one thing is incontestable: the atmosphere is charged with an unpleasant emotion, which some may even call a fear that could trigger a threat, or danger to our loved democracy. While the Government is giving assurances on the efforts it is making to cushion the effect of the hardships, there seems to be a grand design by some people, to put spanner in the wheels of these efforts.
But with this assurance from the President that he would not rob Peter to pay Paul, and the submission of Asiwaju that he would continue to respect the President and his legacies, the general anticipation is that the naysayers would stay shamed.