The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has said he is prepared for the dirt associated with politics.
He spoke at Chatham House in London, on Monday, where he addressed controversies surrounding his age, school and time in the private sector.
Fielding questions from the audience, the former governor of Lagos State revealed that efforts by those who questioned his school records ended in disappointment.
He said, “At the time of birth, I was dated March 29, 1952, in the family record. Then, I don’t think I had decided to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not even that I would go into politics.
“I’ve had very good exposure in life. My record is consistent in the university they questioned. They’ve now confessed that they wasted their money and their time. The record is there, and the transcript is there showing March 1952.
“I’m not claiming another father, I’m Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want DNA, they could as well request one.
“One of them has been accused of not being a Nigerian citizen, I didn’t touch that area.
“Equally, it remains the same. Chicago State University where I graduated has attested to that. Now, I can announce that I have received my original replacement degree certificate from them.
“Deloitte trained me as an accountant. Mobile Oil has attested to my outstanding record. I got to the pinnacle of my career in the private sector. Who among them can brag about that?
“Yes, if you want to wrestle with the pig, you’ve got to live with the dirt. That’s what I’m doing. I got into politics knowing fully well that it is muddy water. Smog will come, and you will have to live with the dirt and make sure you are upright to finish the job.”
In his opening speech, Tinubu expressed his stance against electoral violence and intimidation while urging others in the presidential race to allow Nigerians to decide the future of the country.
He said, “I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation.
“Haven spent most of my career in political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and any attempt to extinguish the legitimate choice of voters. I will continue to do so, I promise.
“I urge all my fellow contestants in this election to do the same. Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation. And let this election be determined by voters making their choice freely rather than the domineering intimidation of the troublesome few.”
He further told the audience, “I am confident that in a few short months, people will go to the polls and give me their mandates.
“I’m ready to lead and govern the country. I will return here to interact with you when the elections are over. I will come not with a long list of priorities for the future but with a plan for collaboration in the best interest of the country I love and dedicate myself to for a lifetime.”
Asked if his administration will ensure that Nigerians in the diaspora voted in subsequent elections, Tinubu stated that the current system of voting was yet to prove to be reliable enough to accommodate other systems.
He said, “I think it was El-rufai that mentioned last night that diasporans are entitled to voting. If you make contributions to the economy with remittances that you have been making, your right to vote should not be abrogated but promoted.
“However, we are still building confidence in our democratic and voting system. INEC is still yet to assure us during this election that electronic transmission – the technology being used for accreditation and the total vote count – is reliable, dependable and assuring in our democratic process before we introduce the complicated process of the mail-in ballot and others.
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