16 February 2011

Nigeria: Alliance Talks - ACN Alone Can Upstage PDP - Tinubu

As uncertainty surrounds the the negotiations for alliance between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC), former governor of Lagos State and ACN chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu believes the ACN, on its own, could upstage the ruling party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the April polls, but he did not rule out the possibility of forming a coalition.

Speaking yesterday at the presidential lounge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Tinubu, who was governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007, said; "You talked about a party that has been in power for 12 years, isn't it? Who says that ACN cannot do the magic? We believe that if we pull together it will be better and easier...but I will never write off my party and I believe Nigerians are tired of PDP and they will speak through their ballot," he said.

He stressed that Nigeria needs a change and that ACN would bring about the much-needed transformation.

"Nigeria needs a remaking. Now we are fifty years and above and every time every year, they discuss potentials, discuss expectations. Is the hope of Nigeria not dashed by a party that has been in power for the past 12 years and making promises, unfulfilled promises characterized by crises? There are over 20 million unemployed Nigerian graduates; several millions of unskilled labour; year after year you run a deficit budget.

"What is the ratio of the capital and recurrent expenditure that are set aside for developmental projects; what are those values that Nigerians are benefitting from? These are the things we should ask if we are putting the people of this country first. We need a thinker and a doer because not everybody can chart a new course. We want the leader that can chart a new course for this country," said Tinubu.

Also speaking on the uncertainties surrounding the choice of a running mate to Nuhu Ribadu, the standard bearer of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Tinubu said that former finance minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is suitable for the position.

He described Okonjo-Iweala as "an asset to the nation, an asset to Africa and international community."

She was the Minister of Finance and head of the Presidential Economic team between 2003 and 2006 during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo and, briefly in 2006, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

However, Tinubu was unsure whether the professor of Regional Economics and Development would be available to take the offer.

"But you don't know whether she is even free now. She will be ready to serve her fatherland in any capacity. We have so much to gain from her, intellectually, in her character and professionally and for her reputation all over the world. If she is to serve again as she once did as a minister, then she should be ready to serve the country. A patriotic citizen must be ready to sacrifice for his or her nation," Tinubu stated.

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