SARAKI, OYEGUN ABSENT AS TINUBU CELEBRATES 66TH BIRTHDAY WITH FANFARE

Olusola Fabiyi, Gbenro Adeoye, Femi Asu and Oladimeji Ramon

Senate President Bukola Saraki and the All Progressives Congress Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, were absent from the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos on Thursday.

The colloquium is organised annually as part of events to mark the birthday of a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and this year’s event, which was held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, had the theme, “Investing in people.”

Other notable APC members absent were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi.

It was not clear why all of them were absent at the event, but Oyegun is at the centre of a one year tenure elongation granted to the executive of the party at all levels, which Tinubu had openly opposed.

On Tuesday, during the 5th National Executive Council meeting of the APC in Abuja, President Buhari also faulted the decision of the party’s NEC to grant one year extension to the party executive, citing a breach of relevant sections of the party’s constitution, as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), as the basis for his opinion.

The President therefore asked the party’s NEC to rescind its earlier decision so as not to give the opposition the grounds on which to reap from the crisis which is likely to result from the constitutional breaches.

Tinubu had hailed Buhari’s stance on the matter.

We’ll replace corruption with correctness – Buhari

At the event, President Buhari said he was happy to celebrate the birthday of his friend and political partner, Tinubu.

“Asiwaju is widely known as a political strategist. I have come to see him as a man who cares about people and who is a fountain of ideas for the economy of the common man and woman. He is a true humanitarian and we appreciate his contribution to Nigeria’s and Africa’s progress,” he said.

The President said his administration was working for the betterment of Nigerians, adding, “We seek to replace corruption with correctness, insecurity with safety and poverty with prosperity.

“We seek to rebuild what has been wrongfully constructed and to plant a firm foundation for progress. Our goal is to bring together every section of the nation and every Nigerian of every creed, every region and ethnic group in mutually beneficial, protective, social, economic and political relationship.”

Stressing the need to invest in the people, he said, “I can say that the expenditures made by this government constitute investment in and for the people. We depend on the people to govern. This government recognises this; hence, our investment in critical areas that touch the lives of people directly.”

The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, recollected that when the APC began the journey in 2014, it was determined to change the dominant narrative about the country.

Osinbajo said, “We were determined to ensure that the notion of a country rich in natural resources, but even richer in human capital but being destroyed daily by grand corruption and the impunity in the looting of public resources was corrected. We saw a nation where a few in offices had so privatised the commonwealth that while oil prices were at their highest and we were getting growth figures as high as seven per cent, the majority of the people remained extremely poor.”

Describing corruption as an existential problem for Nigeria, the Vice-President said, “From all I have seen in government in the past three years, the corruption of the previous five years is what destroyed the Nigerian economy. Every time we talk about corruption, our opponents say, ‘don’t talk about it; just do your own.’ We will talk about it.

“The reason why we will talk about it is because, first, we must let our people know that we cannot afford to go this way again.

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