Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu gave tips yesterday to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on how it can hold on to the Presidency after next year’s general election.
In a post on his Facebook page, he said: “APC must work to retain power. We must rotate power to retain power. Rotate to the South. Shikena (a Hausa word for final)”.
The governor, who was named the chairman of the party’s Convention Security and Compliance sub-committee, has consistently advocated a power shift.
Governors of Southern states at three meetings insisted that power should shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
On Wednesday, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, while hosting frontline APC presidential aspirant Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Calabar, said: “Zoning is a provision of our constitution to ensure balancing. It should not be about ethnic or regional domination but balancing. It’s the turn of Southern Nigeria in 2023.”
Ayade is also a presidential aspirant in the APC.
Yesterday, Tinubu visited Oyo and Ogun states to canvass support from delegates.
In Abeokuta, Tinubu told Ogun delegates to vote for him at the convention as a reward for backing people for political offices in the last 26 years.
He said it was not out of place to declare that the time had come for him to reap the benefits of supporting others.
The former Lagos State governor advised the delegates against jettisoning sound judgment and track records at the convention by turning it into a “family affair”.
In attendance were: Governor Dapo Abiodun, former governor Segun Osoba, Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, State Chairman Yemi Sanusi and Deputy Governor Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
Tinubu was accompanied by governors Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, Senator Kashim Shetima, Senator Dayo Adeyeye and former Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu.
He said his erstwhile political platform – the Action Congress (AC) was yielded to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest the 2007 presidential election when he was hounded by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Atiku had been in and out of the PDP since 2007.
Taking all down the memory lane, Tinubu said he never regretted sacrificing the opportunity offered him to serve as running mate to President Muahmmadu Buhari in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
According to him, he declined the offer to enable him to stabilise the APC, particularly towards ensuring that the newcomers from the PDP were fully accommodated.
He said in Yoruba: “It is now over 25 years that I have been helping people into political offices.
“If Governor Dapo Abiodun – seated here – will be faithful to his God, I want to emphatically state that he couldn’t have become the governor without me.
“I am here to solicit your votes. Don’t make it a family affair.
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“Since the time we started with the AC, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now the APC, this is the first time l want to contest for President.
“This is me telling you between my life and God Almighty, Buhari called me to be his Vice President. He said because the first time he contested, he picked Okadigbo, a flamboyant, catholic, but Nigerians didn’t vote for him.
“The second time, he picked another Igbo, Chief Edwin Ume Ezeoke, Nigerians didn’t vote for him; that if he goes to bring the Pope to run as his vice, Nigerians won’t vote for him, but you Bola Tinubu, you have six governors, you have never lost an election before, come and be my vice.
“He knew all the calculations then favoured us; that was why he wanted me as his Vice, but I told him to let us build the party first.
“When we finished building the party, after we brought in people from the PDP, Saraki (Sen. Bukola) then saw that those from the PDP would not get anything if Buhari, a Muslim became the President and me, also a Muslim, became his Vice. That was how they started the campaign of calumny against me.
“I told them that I have a candidate that is a Christan that I could nominate so that the party would not break. That was how I nominated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. I surrendered my right to him (Osinbajo).
“I was asked to submit three names. l submitted the names of Yemi Cardoso, Wale Edun and Yemi Osinbajo.”
He said that was how Osinbajo was picked.
“I’m educated, I’m experienced. I have been serving you for a long time. Help me win the presidency,” he told his hosts.
Folarin: we will support our leader
In Ibadan, Tinubu met with stakeholders, led by former Senate Leader Teslim Folarin, who is the governorship candidate. They pledged their support for the actualisation of his ambition.
The aspirant and his entourage were warmly received at the Civic Centre in the heart of the city by supporters.
Thanking them for the warm reception, Tinubu spoke on his plans for the country, saying that a better future is assured.
He said he was working with other national leaders of the party, many of whom accompanied him to the ancient city, to emerge as the most popular and acceptable candidate.
Apparently acknowledging the temporary division in the chapter over the recent governorship and parliamentary primaries, Tinubu said APC can only win in Oyo in an atmosphere of unity.
He urged stakeholders to rally around Folarin and other candidates to win the elections.
He emphasised that APC cannot win if the party is factionalised, urging the leaders to close ranks and work together in unity.
Tinubu, who spoke in Yoruba, stressed: “I know there is internal wrangling among you. I want to appeal to all of you and all leaders here that you must all work together.
“This visit is to meet you today, I will still come back when we will have a private meeting. If you really want to win the coming elections, there is no way you won’t work together. Otherwise, you will lose votes.
“I want you all to work with Teslim Folarin. He has serious work to do before he can win. He will beg, traverse the state. We will vote and we will win.”
Tinubu also pleaded with the stakeholders to support the children of deceased stalwarts and governors of the state, who are running for elective offices.
He said he had a commitment to their fathers, which he must not betray.
He raised the hands of Dapo Lam Adesina, who is running for the House of Representatives, Olamiju Akala and Idris Ajimobi, who are both running for Oyo House of Assembly seats.
Folarin spoke on the favour Tinubu did for him in 2003 when he was governor of Lagos State, despite the fact that they belonged to different political parties.
He said Tinubu allocated a plot of land to him in Lekki and sent the allocation papers to him in Abuja through Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
Folarin added: “We must never forget our benefactors and we must never betray them. Oyo State delegates are for Asiwaju, our leader. I want to assure you that you have our total support sir. Oyo State is for you.”
Tinubu also visited his friend and colleague in the Third Republic Senate, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, former governor of the state, at his residence.
The former governor also assured Tinubu of his maximum support and that of the people of Oyo State.