Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, says President Muhammadu Buhari, APC Northern Governors and leaders have proved that Nigeria can survive its unity and other challenges.
According to a statement by Tunde Rahman, Mr Tinubu’s Media Officer, on Sunday in Abuja, the APC 2023 presidential candidate said this in Akure, Ondo State, at the residence of Afenifere Leader, Reuben Fasoranti.
The statement said Mr Tinubu spoke during an interaction with Afenifere leaders while presenting his policy document and Action Plan for a better Nigeria.
It recalled Mr Tinubu’s earlier visit to Mr Fasoranti on 4 March during his nationwide consultation before the APC presidential primaries when he promised Afenifere leader that he would come back after winning the party’s ticket.
It said the visit was in fulfilment of Mr Tinubu’s promise and to ask Yoruba leaders to thank President Buhari and APC Northern Governors for their steadfastness and for being promise-keepers.
“The North proved to me Nigeria can survive its unity, some people wanted President Buhari to announce someone, but the president said no. He insisted the process must go on democratically.
“The president said anyone that would mess up the APC process would see the other side of his eyes, he remained upright and saw to the process to the end.
“Northern APC Governors resolved that the presidency must go to the South, and especially South-West, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and others supported me to the end.
“The battle was tough and at a point I was in doubt, there were many rumours and I became confused of what to believe,” the statement quoted Mr Tinubu as saying.
Mr Tinubu said he won the APC presidential primary election because the process was clean and transparent, adding that nobody could accuse Mr Buhari of manipulating the process.
“President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President.
When I asked him to nominate the Vice-Presidential candidate for me, he said I should pick whoever I want,” Mr Tinubu said.
He added that this was why he chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima, who according to him, never lost any election and protected Christians in time of trouble in Borno State as its governor.
The statement added that while welcoming Mr Tinubu and his entourage, General Secretary of Afenifere, Seinde Arogbofa, charged Mr Tinubu to be a leader that would unite Nigeria and work for the progress and development of the country.
Mr Arogbofa said Mr Tinubu was not just a Yoruba man, but a Nigerian, adding that when he became president, he should take Nigeria into consideration and never to forget home.
“Our demands are what you know already. restructuring, security and fixing the economy; our country is no longer safe, we want state police so that the country will be safe,” the statement quoted Mr Arogbofa as saying.
According to the statement, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, received Tinubu and his entourage on behalf of Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu at the meeting.
Mr Aiyedatiwa said Ondo people were Afenifere and would support Mr Tinubu to win the election because he had the reach and competence to lead Nigeria.
The statement said the Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, at the meeting, assured the Yoruba leaders that all South-west governors and Ekiti people were solidly behind Mr Tinubu.
It added that former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, (SGF) Olu Falae, and Afenifere leader charged Mr Tinubu to work to fix the country’s economy.
“When you become president please work to fix this country, we are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for job.
“We need to fix security, fix our economy, our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1,000 to a dollar.
“We must change that. I know your ability, we will always be here to support and I wish you well. We will be here when you bring the trophy home by the grace of God,” the statement quoted Mr Falae as saying.
It said leaders of Afenifere from the six South-west states, including Kwara and Kogi were present at the Akure residence of the Afenifere leader to offer support to Me Tinubu.
It listed Afenifere leaders at the meeting to include: Pius Akinyelure, Isaac Adewole, Olu Falae, Gbenga Daniel, Alani Akinrinade, Olu Bajowa, Sola Iji and Kunle Olajide.
Others it said were General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, Cornelius Adebayo, Iyiola Omisore, Bisi Akande, Dare Babarinsa and Pius Akinyelure.
The statement said Oyo State Deputy Governor, Bayo Lawal represented Gov. Seyi Makinde, the state governor at the meeting.
Also at the meeting were Segun Adesegun who represented former Governor Segun Osoba, Tony Adefuye, Dayo Adeyeye, state leaders of Afenifere and many others, the statement said.
Afenifere was formed as a socio-cultural and political organisation for the Yoruba people of Nigeria, with Abraham Adesanya as its leader and late Bola Ige as deputy leader at the time.
Among Nigeria’s numerous national challenges, which do you think the next president should focus on first?
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