A group of politicians from the National Assembly and grassroots leaders have reaffirmed their dedication to rallying support for the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu as the right presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, who they believe will uphold true federalism.
Meeting in Lagos yesterday, the group which identifies as the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) expressed confidence that Tinubu is the right candidate to emerge from the South-west for 2023 presidential elections, owing to his past record of identifying persons with true leadership skills.
According to the Chairman of the group, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, the APC leader has shown over time that he is for everyone. He gave an instance of when Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State, stating that he was fair to all groups.
“He believes in true federalism and has the political capacity to push that. We are clamouring for Asiwaju but he is not going there to serve Yoruba interests only. He is going to serve the people of Nigeria. He has demonstrated this as the Governor of Lagos State. He has been fair to all groups. He is not going to be President of Yoruba people but of Nigeria, working for the interests of all Nigerians. What we need in this country to arrest the centrifugal forces is to be fair to all. You just make sure that everyone is represented in key positions. We need to arrest the centrifugal forces and ensure that everyone is represented well.
This is a very diverse country. He is going to bring out the best in people which is a hallmark of good governance. He has sown seeds all over the country. They are bearing fruits. He is capable and ready. There is all likelihood that by the Grace of God, he will make it.”
True federalism was one of the talking points of the APC South-west governors who met with Tinubu and the former interim APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other party leaders at the State House, Marina two days ago.
The APC governors and leaders in their communique upheld their view in true federalism and “the reallocation of resources and authority that comes with it will empower the states to solve localized issues before they spread and transform into national ones.”
For the group, Tinubu’s presence at the meeting further spoke volumes for his belief in true federalism.
The group dismissed thoughts that age and health may not favour their candidate. They regarded such viral antagonistic comments on social media as politically motivated and assured that Tinubu has the capacity to lead the country right.
“Being progressive, modern is not a function of age.”
They also pointed out that the last election saw a great number of young people contest for presidency but didn’t clinch the post.
Regarding the zoning of the presidency to the south, the group said that it is a common understanding that the presidency should rotate between the north and south.
“We are not micro-zoned to the six geo-political zones of Nigeria,” Adeyeye said.
“That was why former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 gave the late President Musa Yar’Adua a chance. Most contestants were northerners. As of today, the South has had the chance to run for the presidency for about 13 years. So it should come down to the south now so that we can have a taste of it.
“We, the South-west are part of the South of Nigeria and therefore the South-west has the right to contest for presidency.”
Adeyeye also noted the concerns that the South-east is yet to produce a president.
“To the extent that micro-zoning is not generally acceptable for now, let everybody in the South come out and contest for it. The presidency of Nigeria is too important to be awarded to someone sitting down at his house. You have to struggle for it. Politics is not served a la carte. You have to have the humbling experience to go around and meet people. South-west will not sit back and award the presidency to you. Let everyone bring their own candidate. If people are persuaded more that this person is more qualified and his area has not produced, so be it. But if we do not come out and project our own candidate it may not come to the south. So that’s why South-west is projecting its own candidate. We do not say that other people don’t have the right to project their own but then we will not be one to go to the South-east to contest for the presidency.”
He added that a presidency from the South will be fair to everybody, and is not opposed to others bringing out candidates for the 2023 elections.
While they are carrying out their campaigns for the APC leader, they are mindful that many may query their ambitions.
To clear the air, they emphasized that Tinubu has not in any way financed them.
“We are a voluntary organisation. We are not an APC group. We have members that are not APC. We are not financially backed by Tinubu. All our activities are self-financed.”
They also expressed confidence that Tinubu will contest for the election even if the elder statesman is yet to make an official proclamation regarding the upcoming elections.
Since the group began to drum support for their preferred candidate last year, they have been able to establish presence in Osun, Ogun and Ondo states. Their next line of action is to carry their South-west agenda to Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos. In each of the states visited, the group said that their vision was embraced by traditional rulers. The long-term goal of the group is to become a Nigerian agenda.
Some of the members of the group at the gathering were Senator Adesoji Akanbi, the group’s Secretary Bosun Oladele, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo and Hon. Rotimi Makinde.