Fuel subsidy: My opponents jittery, spreading fake news – Tinubu
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said his “jittery opponents” were spreading fake news to smear his name but such would not stop him for clinching the 2023 presidency.
Tinubu spoke in a telephone interview with a Kano-based radio station, Freedom Radio, while performing the lesser hajj at the weekend, according to a statement from the APC presidential campaign council.
Speaking against the backdrop of insinuations that the federal government under his leadership would remove fuel subsidy even if there were protests against the decision, the APC candidate said he is a respecter of democratic rights for citizens to disagree with government in a legitimate way.
“I couldn’t have opposed people expressing their own position on this. I believe in consultation and guaranteed by democratic values and norms. I respect opinion of people and I would not be party to stifling dissenting views or any legitimate protest.
“I am a veteran of protests myself. So why should I say people should not embark on well-intentioned protest? There is no excuse for that and there is no abuse of power intended,” Tinubu said.
He assured that under his leadership the right of citizens to freely express their views on government policies and activities will be guaranteed.
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The APC candidate however reiterated that fuel subsidy has outgrown its usefulness as it benefits the rich more than the poor.
“I said I will ensure we end the wastage and re-channel the money to the people who truly need it. This is one position that almost all the candidates are united about. We all agreed that the subsidy regime is abused and it favours the rich more than the poor. It has to go.”
Tinubu said the signs of his victory in the forthcoming February 25 presidential election were clear, thus his opponents becoming jittery and creating fake news to smear his name.
“We are reaching each and every Nigerian. We decided that rallies are not always enough. We need to engage all Nigerians from all parts of the country and across all sectors of our socio-economic life. We have engaged businessmen, farmers, miners, industrialists, entertainers, labour leaders, and so on.
“By the engagements we are having it is clear that we are going to win this election. As the elections are coming closer the signs are clear and that is why our opponents are jittery. They have now resorted to peddling fake news and quoting some of my statements out of context just to score cheap points.”
Tinubu said he was in Saudi Arabia on “a trip for spiritual rebirth. I like coming to perform the Umrah every now and then. It is an opportunity to connect with Almighty Allah. We need his guidance. Nigeria is in need of prayers and that is why we are here praying for our country, self and the society.”
Responding to a question on his health status, Tinubu said he is fit to perform the functions of the office of the president, saying he also has the best ideas and capacity needed to run the office.
“I told you where I am now. I just finished performing the the umrah. I did the seven rounds of tawaf, I did the seven trips between safa and Marwa. Can a sick person do that? That is stale news, my brother. People who are making those insinuations have nothing else to say but lies and rubbish.
“I have moved round, spoke at different platforms and stood for hours to address different audiences. Before they said I could not walk, they said I could not stand, they are shamed. Since the campaign started I have marshalled more original ideas than anyone else. I have demonstrated knowledge, experience and great capacity to be on top of issues in the country.
“And this job is about ideas and issues regarding leadership of our country. I have all it takes to be the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I am asking people of the country to have confidence and respect for that, look at my background and my previous assignments. I want to serve the country and serve the country very well,” he said.
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