As political campaigns officially kick off Wednesday, the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has asked Nigerians to learn from the ‘mistakes of the past’.
Mr Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos, also urged the people to be ‘wise and discerning as they prepared to choose the country’s next president in the 2023 general election.
“We must show that we have learned from the mistakes of the past. We must be prepared to make difficult decisions. We must be wise, we must be discerning; we must choose progress. We must favour reason over sentiment,” Mr Tinubu said in a message to mark the official commencement of the 2023 presidential election campaign activities across the country.
Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today officially lifted the ban on campaign activities for the political parties ahead of the next year’s election.
INEC, last weekend, released and published the names and details of the political party’s candidates qualified to participate in the poll.
Mr Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) who are the top contenders in the race, to take over incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari, were listed among the candidates for the presidential election.
Since the former Lagos governor joined the race to succeed Mr Buhari, his health status has been a major concern with many Nigerians, especially critics questioning his suitability for headship of a country that prides itself as a ‘giant of Africa’.
Several videos of Mr Tinubu, 70, have revealed how the APC presidential candidate was suffering incontinence apparently due to his frail health. Nigerians have likened Mr Tinubu’s health to the prevailing situation with incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who has spent a significant portion of his eight-year rule frequencing European hospitals. Mr Buhari said his ailment was largely due to his advanced age, which had naturally made some aspects of his presidential duties more tedious.
Despite this, Mr Tinubu said he was ready to lead the country to greater glory through innovative ideas, pleading with Nigerians to join him in his ambition of clinching the country’s top seat.
He said he and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, are set to share their vision of a prosperous Nigeria as they begin their campaigns of convincing the people to vote them to power.
“I invite all Nigerians to join me and HE Senator Kassim Shettima on this exciting and important journey as we set our shared vision of renewed hope for the people of our dear country, Nigeria.
“I am prepared and ready, with my running mate, to provide the leadership that will inspire our country to greater glory with new thinking, innovative ideas, and vision. I call on all Nigerians to please join us,” the APC presidential candidate added in the statement.
“We will, in weeks and months ahead, be taking our dream of a functional, safe, secure, and prosperous Nigeria to every part of Nigeria and as we continue to put forward our plan to lead this country towards its best future.”
Mr Tinubu further explained, “Our nation stands at a threshold of history. We, like almost every other nation in the world, face significant challenges. Some have been our own making, others, the consequences of factors well beyond the control of any Nigerian. One thing, however, remains certain, we cannot afford to get this one wrong.”
The adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by Mr Tinubu has also been a major odd for the APC as the party prepared to start its campaign.
Although the APC presidential candidate flying Mr Shettima, a serving senator, with the same faith ticket has generated criticism, both politicians maintained the move was based on merit rather than religious consideration.