The minister of budget and national planning, Atiku Bagudu, has called on presidential candidates in the February 2023 presidential election, who had challenged President Tinubu’s victory at the tribunal, to join him in the process of building a stronger Nigeria.
Bagudu, who made the call on Thursday in Delhi, India, in a chat with journalists, was reacting to Wednesday’s verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), which affirmed President Tinubu’s victory at the election and his eventual declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the poll.
Opposition political parties; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi, as well as the Allied People’s Movement (APM), had petitioned the PEPC, challenging President Tinubu’s victory.
However, in his reaction, Bagudu said the PEPC’s verdict was just an affirmation that Nigerians were right in their choice of President Tinubu, adding that the call on the candidates to join the administration in refocusing the nation was just a reminder of their promise during campaigns to work towards building a stronger Nigeria.
He said: “Mr President is somebody who has paid his dues in politics and equally supported by a vice president who, in addition to being governor, has been a senator of the Federal Republic and they complement each other and it is the manifesto they campaigned upon, the popularity of the APC was stronger than that of other parties.
“But ever since then, Mr President has focused on the job that he campaigned on a mandate, the Renewed Hope manifesto and ever since he was declared winner, even before he was sworn in, he’d devoted his energy to delivering on the promises that he made to Nigerians.
“It is interesting that when the tribunal was reading the judgment yesterday, Mr. President is in India attending the G20, meeting with investors, because his focus is on the job. But we congratulate all Nigerians because it is all our achievements, our victory that we gave a mandate to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.
“Yesterday, the tribunal told us that we were right, we were correct, all the allegations are unfounded. But more than that, in his characteristic magnanimity, Mr. President had always called upon the other presidential candidates to come and join him.
“This is a democracy, let us build Nigeria, after all that was the promise of each presidential candidate. I’m very happy when, again yesterday, Mr. President restated that call.
“So while congratulating all Nigerians and thanking the process, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the judiciary, but reechoing Mr President’s call for all those who contested against him to join him in building stronger Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Bagudu has tipped Nigerians to expect more high-end investment flow into the country, saying President Tinubu’s ability to attract $14 billion-worth investments from India is consistent with his pattern of administration.
Bagudu was reacting to the signing of some agreements and Memorandum of Understanding, as well as promises of investments by Indian investors on Wednesday.
According to him, as Governor of Lagos state, President Tinubu laid the foundations for some of the economic developments bearing fruits for the state today, citing the Dangote Refinery, Dangote Fertilizer and the Eko Atlantic City as some of the ideas the President birthed for the state.
The minister said: “Mr. President is very bold and courageous. He has the capacity, he has the wisdom, he has a contemporary knowledge of the world’s political economy and one of the selling skills he has is that he’s able to mobilize and convince international capital to come to Nigeria and rightly so because Nigeria has a strong absorptive capacity, meaning ability to absorb investment.
“If somebody goes to Lekki Free Trade Zone, where, among others, Dangote Fertilizer, Dangote Refinery, you’re talking about investments in just one location, over $10 billion and these were as a result of the dream of our President, when he was a governor, to partner and give land several times bigger than Victoria Island, to private investors because he believes in Nigeria and he supported them.
“Equally, the Bar Beach reclamation where what used to be a nightmare is now a thriving modern city. These are just two among the bold decisions that he’s taken. So at the national level, Mr. President believes right so, he wrote about it, he speaks about it, that Nigeria can and indeed will find hundreds of billions of dollars from the international and domestic investors so that we’ll build the economy.
“So yesterday’s news story that the group of investors he met in India, consistent with his messaging, consistent with the clarity of his vision and belief in the agenda, have committed $14 billion. I think we will see much more.”