Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged labour unions to support his presidential bid.
According to a statement by Tunde Rahman, his media aide, Tinubu spoke on Monday during a townhall meeting with labour unions at Chida Hotel conference centre in Abuja.
Tinubu was quoted as saying his antecedents as a former governor of Lagos stands him out and makes him ahead of his competitors.
He listed unemployment, lack of credit system to allow workers own houses, poverty, challenges in educational sector, as well as weak industrial base of the economy, as what he would address if elected as the president.
“Today, the questions you all must ask yourselves are these: who can be trusted to accomplish all of this? The man who has done it before, or the man whose most lasting achievement as vice-president is the corrupt sale of national assets to his friends and cronies?” Tinubu asked.
“Who has the better plan? The man whose blueprint guided the emergence of Lagos state as fifth largest economy in Africa or the man whose greatest pride is the amount of money he managed to bury in sand while his state’s infrastructure decayed and its workers suffered endless hardship?
“The choice is yours. But permit me to now talk a little about myself and my vision.
“I have always been and will continue to be a progressive democrat. In my worldview, government has a cardinal responsibility to work not only with business, but also with labour to ensure that all constituent parts of our society are afforded their fair share of rewards without taking on undue hardship.”
Tinubu also spoke on his “personal history” in the fight for good governance.
“As organised labour, you have been at the forefront of the workers’ rights movement in Nigeria, championing economic fairness and the welfare of the average person, the weak and the forgotten,” he said.
“You have also been involved in the struggle for democracy and political rights. Your collective efforts breathe life into the democratic rights and economic ideals enshrined in our constitution.
“I can speak fondly of your impact on our nation because of my personal history on the frontlines of the social justice movement.
“I may be running for president now, but I was not always in this position. Long before I started running for the presidency, I was running away from military dictators angered by my important role in protests against them and their efforts to vanquish our democratic aspirations.
“The defining moment of my public life came during Nigeria’s struggle for democracy and my membership in the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) movement.
“I have dedicated my entire being to that cause. I was detained, then was forced into exile because of my refusal to accept anything less than a government based on the proposition that the will of the people is sovereign and should reign over armed might and imposition.
“I believe that those assembled here today share the same ideals of progressive and democratic good governance. I have spent my political life advocating for the rights and interests of ordinary Nigerians as you also do. We have long been fellow travellers on the same road. I hope that we shall continue as friends and brothers.”