Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress has disclosed how his persistence eventually got President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the date for the exchange of old Naira notes.
The former governor of Lagos State, however, said the President did not grant the request made on the Naira swap in its entirety, but that it was okay.
Tinubu made this known on Sunday, just hours after President Buhari met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, in his hometown, Daura in Katsina State.
It was after the meeting that Emefiele announced as extension of 10 days from the earlier January 31 set.
Speaking in Benin City, the Edo State capital, during a visit to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, Tinubu said the issue of the redesigned Naira notes and its effect on the ordinary Nigerians had been of major concern to him.
He said that was the reason he was late for the visit to the Oba, which preceded his campaign in the ancient town. In his words:
“My coming late is not intentional. It is because of national politics.”
“Some of our cousins, our wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roasted corn, they need money and they need Naira.
“In the process, if Naira is cancelled the way it is and we fail to intervene, we have failed in our duties.
“We have been on this for three to four days and suddenly today, when the President said okay out of great respect he will consider our request for an extension, we were happy.
“I was running back and forth on this and calling him.
“So that is what we have been doing.
“Hopefully, even though we didn’t get all that we wanted, we got an extension by a number of days.”
On his ambition, Tinubu told the revered monarch: “You have been a great ruler, I saw you spoke your mind about unemployment of youths.
“Your Majesty, count on me, bless me.
“We will be able to achieve great employment for our youths.
“You talked about the education of our children, it is in our work plan and I can tell you as I am standing here the programme is there.
“Education reform will happen.
“We will establish students’ loans and we will minimise the interest rate and we stagger their payments and give parents relief.
“They don’t have to be slaves to the circumstances.”
Speaking on his plans for Edo State and Benin City in particular, the APC presidential candidates said, in his belief that Benin which is the capital city of the state, is the economic centre of the southern region rich in resources, rich in gas. He added:
“We are working on West Africa gas that will sell in Europe.
“We would have been making money in this country today if those who said they want power and ruled for 16 years.
“If they had thought about this, we would have been better.
“Nigeria would have been selling gas and the development for Edo would have been different.
“I assure you we are going to mend all those anomalies and Edo will be a centre of economic activities for all.”
Also speaking on the artefacts taken away by colonialists from Benin City, Tinubu said he would support the construction of a museum to house them, adding that he would also continue to call for restitution from those who have housed them all these years.
The former two terms governor of Lagos State then added: “I am here to seek your prayers.
“I fought for and suffered for democracy in this country.
“I made sacrifices.
“When we started these eight years ago, it is only normal to look forward to succession and I told President Buhari that I am running and I am running nowhere.
“I am running for the Villa.
“When you move out, I want to occupy the place.
“Therefore I need your blessings.
“That blessing is important to me.”
Oba Ewuare II appreciated Tinubu’s planned support for the proposed museum, which he said would help tourism and research.
He said the Federal Government has taken over the building of the museum through the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
He also commended the state government for its support for the museum project.
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