BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The deputy governor of Oyo State, Bayo Lawal, has said that his principal, Governor Seyi Makinde, is in support of the stance of Yoruba elders in the build up to the 2023 election.
He said this on Sunday, during the visit of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, to elder statesman, Reuben Fasoranti and elders of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere in Akure, Ondo State.
Lawal, who represented Makinde, while addressing the gathering said in Yoruba, “Since he (Makinde) became governor, he doesn’t joke with Yoruba matters. There is no time that father would call him and he would fail to respond. There is no time when our father is having an event either under the umbrella of Afenifere or other group in Yoruba land that Engineer Makinde would not support.
“We are not of the same party but we are of the same tribe. The message he gave me is this. “Yoruba land, whatever it is you are doing, I am in support of it.”
During the meeting Tinubu said that President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors of APC from the North and other Northern leaders have proved to him that Nigeria can survive its unity and other challenges.
Recalling his earlier visit to Fasoranti on March 4th this year while he was on nationwide consultation before the APC Primaries, Tinubu said he promised the Afenifere leader that he would come back after winning the APC ticket.
Tinubu said he had come to fulfill his promise and asked Yoruba leaders to thank President Buhari and Northern Governors for their steadfastness and for being promise-keepers.
“The North proved to me Nigeria can survive its unity. Some people want President Muhammadu 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 the process to the end.
“Northern APC Governors resolved that the Presidency must go to the South and especially South West. Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje 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 about what to believe.”
Still speaking on President Buhari’s forthrightness and affirmation of his full support to make sure he wins the election, Tinubu said:
“President Buhari told me I promoted his name with the way I won the primary election because the process was clean and transparent and nobody can accuse him of manipulating the process. President Buhari said I gave him credibility and I deserved to be President. When I asked him to nominate the VP candidate for me, he said I should pick whoever I want and it is the reason I chose a competent man in Kashim Shettima who never lost any election and protected Christians in times of trouble in his state.”
While welcoming Tinubu and his entourage, General Secretary of Afenifere, Seinde Arogbofa, charged Tinubu to be a leader that will unite Nigeria and work for the progress and development of the country.
“You are not just a Yoruba man but a Nigerian. When you become President take Nigeria into consideration in all you do but never 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.”
Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who received Tinubu and his delegation on behalf of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said Ondo State people are Afenifere and will support Tinubu to win.
“Asiwaju has the reach, the competence to lead Nigeria,” the Deputy Governor said.
In his remark, Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji assured the Yoruba leaders that all the governors of South West and Ekiti people are solidly behind Tinubu.
“We are happy to receive our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, today. I want to assure him and our fathers that we will support him to the
Former Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae, and Afenifere leader charged the APC presidential flag bearer to work to fix the economy.
Falae decried the falling value of the Naira, adding that he used all his life to serve Nigeria and at his old age he does not want all he used his life for to be wasted.
“When you become President, please work to fix this country. We are here to offer advice. I am old and no longer looking for a job. We need to fix security, fix our economy. Our naira is almost becoming useless and will soon become N1000 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 throphy home by the grace of God.
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 Asiwaju Tinubu.