The Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Yemi Osinbajo, Wednesday said the Islamic extremist tag hung on Muhammadu Buhari does not reflect his character.
At an interaction with young people, volunteers, and social media influencers in Lagos, Mr. Osinbajo blamed the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] for stamping that false identity on Mr. Buhari.
“The PDP did a good job in branding General Buhari as an Islamic extremist,” said Mr. Osinbajo, a professor of Law, noting that Mr. Buhari joined the Nigerian army at a time the military was filled with detribalized officers.
“During his time as a Head of State, he had more Christians in his cabinet than he had Muslims. He even gave his daughter in marriage to a Christian. Which Islamic extremist would even tolerate that.
“Buhari had full powers during his military era to make Nigeria join the Muslim Organization, OIC, but refused.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Buhari, the APC’s presidential candidate, had met with a similar group of young people in Lagos to discuss ideas and vision about the country’s future. On Monday, he had announced his entry into the social media space by garnering over 30,000 Twitter followers within 12 hours.
Wednesday’s meeting with Mr. Osinbajo began with the airing of a video reeling out grim statistics of the Nigerian situation.
“150 pregnant women die everyday. It’s like having a Boeing jet loaded with pregnant women crashing fatally everyday…,” the video began.
Mr. Osinbajo said the meeting was an avenue to discuss issues affecting the country, adding that 2015 presented an “incredible opportunity” for a change in Nigeria’s situation.
“No matter what side of the political divide you belong to, I know that everyone knows there is a need for change in practically every aspect of our lives in the society,” he said.
“The truth of the matter is that we have a unique opportunity now and in the less than 50 days to actually change the direction of this nation.
“I want us to focus our campaign, as much as possible, and in my discussions with General Buhari, let’s focus our campaigns on what we need to do to solve these problems.”
Mr. Osinbajo also said that with sincerity of purpose, the APC would resolve the problems facing the country.
“For me, I never ever imagined that a day would come when I might actually get an opportunity to do some of the things I’ve been troubled about – power, education, welfare for people, employment – I never thought that the day would come when I would actually be on a ticket that would win the election,” said Mr. Osinbajo.
“There have been so many criticisms, as far as I’m concerned what we need to do now is ‘what are the solutions?’ And that’s really my orientation.
“APC policies are directed at ensuring the welfare of the largest number of people. That’s opposed to a trickle down type of approach where you are saying we need to fix industries first and hopefully jobs will be created.
“We think there is a need for a direct intervention of government in ensuring the welfare of the people. And this is on account of years and years of neglect. We have a 110 million extremely poor people, we have a situation where 55,000 women die of maternal related ailments in one year.”
On the country’s dismal power situation, Mr. Osinbajo said the APC would adopt the Lagos model whereby small power plants are dedicated to specific communities, as opposed to the current grid method.
“The government model for power won’t gain fruits in 10-15 years, our approach will be to decentralize power to each states,” said Mr. Osinbajo.
“Smaller power plants dedicated to small areas will yield accessible electricity faster than the current centralized model.”