Former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has criticised the proposed national conference, describing it as deceptive and ill-timed.
Tinubu, who is a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, on arrival in the country on Saturday after being away for about three months for a knee surgery in the United States, questioned the rationale behind President Goodluck Jonathan proposing the national confab, with the 2015 general elections barely 15 months away.
While addressing his supporters at the Executive Jet Hanger One of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Tinubu said he could not confirm whether or not the APC would take part in the national conference.
He said, “Why is the conference coming at just about 15 months to the next general election?”
When will it hold? Why so sudden? I see a contradiction and diversion. The timing is wrong. The programme is diversionary because there is no time for it now.
“The national conference is by whom, for whom, and at what stage? How many levels of deception? I see a contradiction. I see diversion. I see deception, lack of honesty and integrity.”
But in a swift reaction, the apex Yoruba Socio-cultural group, Afenifere, faulted Tinubu’s stance, saying there was no better time for Nigerian people to dialogue than now.
The spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the group wondered why Tinubu, who was one of those who urged Jonathan to dialogue with Boko Haram, would criticise the planned national dialogue.
“We, in Afenifere, disagree with Tinubu’s take on the proposed national conference. This is no better time to hold the conference than this time when disintegration stares the country in the face; when politicians are behaving in a manner that can split the country; when Boko Haram is killing people and the fabrics that hold the country together is about to be torn into shreds.
“This is a defining moment. People will now be able to differentiate between those who are paying lip service to true federalism, using it as votes-winning gimmicks and those who truly believe Nigeria should return to the part of federalism.”
Also on Saturday, Tinubu described the aviation industry as corrupt, noting that no meaningful development can occur in the sector if government failed to rid the system of corruption.
Tinubu said this when he visited the survivors of the Associated Airline crash at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, in company with his wife Sen. Remi Tinubu, and some APC stalwarts.
“Nigeria aviation is a risk to Nigerians. We have never allowed professionals to run the aviation industry; we created so much bureaucracy and kinsmanship, ethnicity, mediocrity to interfere in our decision. We play with the lives of Nigerians. We have no infrastructure. The runway is the worst runway in the world, it does not meet world standard,” he said.