As Aketi Hosts APC South West Presidential Rally in Akure…
Ismail Omipidan writes about the South West campaign of Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which was flagged off recently in Akure, the Ondo state capital
It was not a South-West rally per se. But it wore the toga of a regional campaign. The crowd was intimidating. It could only have been mobilised by a party that is on the ground.
And Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo Governor and South-West Coordinator for the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign demonstrated that at the MoshoodKasimawoAbiola Democracy Park, Oja Oba, Akure, on this day.
If anyone had been in doubt of Akeredolu’s resolve to lead the All Progressives Congress (APC) to victory in Ondo State come February 25, the Saturday, January 7, 2023 rally provided the ground to clear such doubts. The message too was clear, as all the music artistes who entertained guests and party supporters did not mince words on the import of the gathering.
Remarks from all those who spoke on the occasion too hit the right chord.
But that of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, hit what appears to be the target when he X-rayed two of his opponents and concluded that they have nothing to offer Nigerians, especially looking at their backgrounds and antecedents.
Tinubu while canvassing for support told the electorate in Ondo State that he stands a better chance to secure the future of Nigeria than any of the other candidates aspiring for the position.
He noted that neither the former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) flag bearer, AlhajiAtikuAbubakar, nor that of Labour Party (LP), Mr.Peter Obi, who was a former Anambra Governor, deserved to be entrusted with the destinies of millions of Nigerians in view of their past records.
Speaking specifically, the former Lagos State Governor noted that Atiku would “sell everything” that Nigeria has, just as he noted that Obi, on the other hand, is too stingy to adequately attend to the basic needs of Nigerians.
He described the former Vice President and serial presidential hopeful as an individual who “doesn’t want to do the brave and hard work required to build a better nation.
“Instead, he would rather sell your birthright to the highest bidder and run off with the proceed.
“He cares little that his policies and actions will impoverish you and leave you with nothing.”
Justifying why the electorate must not look the way of Obi, Tinubu who out of little or nothing, turned around the socio-economic fortune of Lagos State when he governed the State from 1999 to 2007, noted that the former Anambra State governor spent eight years in office saving money instead of catering for the welfare and basic needs of the people of Anambra who elected him into office.
For the eight years he governed Anambra, Tinubu continued, all Mr. Obi could boast of was that he saved money.
“But I tell you, it is a wicked parent that holds money in his hand yet allows his children to starve.
“Likewise, it is a heartless governor who holds back money when people go hungry; and schools, road and clinics go into disrepair. Neither the city-dweller nor farmer prospered under him.
“In the end, he refused to save the people because he preferred to save money.
“And he claims to be of the Labour Party. You will have to be labouring under a terrible delusion if you think he will do better for the nation than he did for Anambra State.
“Buyer, beware of salesmen selling fake merchandise.
“The truth of the difference between my leadership and that of Mr. Obi lies in one observation: although Lagos is crowded and Anambra has ample space, more people left Obi’s Anambra seeking better life in Tinubu’s Lagos than left Lagos believing Obi had established a blueprint for growth in Anambra.
“My people, you cannot entrust your future or that of our nation to Mr. Sell Everything Atiku or Mr. Stingy Obi. But you can trust Mr. Progressive Good Governance Tinubu,” the APC presidential candidate said.
After X-raying Atiku and Obi, Tinubu went ahead to unveil what he has as plans for Ondo State, if they give him their votes.
He told the gathering that he would give priority attention to agricultural development, especially because the history of Ondo State is one where industrious farmers have over the years reaped prosperity through the cultivation of cocoa plantations and other cash crops.
He insisted that if voted in, he would enthrone agricultural policies that would return farmers to their deserved place in society.
“You have been the backbone of the economy and bedrock of the community. You will be honoured as such,” Tinubu declared, just as he hinted that the government under his leadership would re-establish commodity exchange boards to ensure farmers a guaranteed price for their produce.
Hear him: “For example, my agricultural plan also calls for the creation of agricultural hubs in the nation. You will be the direct beneficiary of this policy.
“These hubs will increase cultivation of now idle fertile land, yet also promote agro-processing businesses that will produce many new jobs and put more money in the pockets of the average person and small farmer.
“Our economic plan will make strategic investments in industry and infrastructure, giving our talented people the chance to make a good living while producing valuable goods that will improve the quality of life for those who buy them.”
Tinubu also spoke about his desire and plans to develop the solid mineral and other natural resources that Ondo is blessed with.
“Your natural resources will be more comprehensively utilised. Your oil and gas must bring prosperity, development and jobs.
“But that is not all. Bitumen, granite and marble must be mined and turned into finished products right here in the state under my administration,” Tinubu said.
In winding down on the day, he told the Ondo electorate: “On February 25, I know you will be a champion of progressive politics again. That date represents for the nation and for each and every one of us an appointment with destiny.
“We not only must make that appointment, we must emerge from the appointment fully dedicated to creating a more prosperous, safer, more tolerant and more dynamic society.
“But these things do not come by accident. These things are but some of the fruits that only progressive and democratic good governance can harvest.
“And that progressive governance can only be brought to you by someone who had governed in a progressive manner before.”
Earlier, while welcoming the dignatories to the rally, the host governor and South-West Coordinator of the campaign, Governor Akeredolu said the people of Ondo, being progressives, have resolved to totally back Tinubu, saying, “we will show who we are on February 25, 2023.”
He also had kind words for the Osun Coordinator of the campaign and immediate past Governor of the State, AdegboyegaOyetola, who was also physically present on the occasion when he declared that the return of Oyetola is certain.
Akeredolu, a veteran in election litigation matters before joining politics full time, may have deployed his legal barometer to measure the APC’s petition before the Osun Election Tribunal to draw that conclusion.
He went further to say that the return of Oyetola to govern his state for second term of another four years would soon manifest, adding that this remains the covenant between him and his Creator.
Akeredolu stated that he has never seen Oyetola as a former Governor since he stepped aside temporarily after the completion of his first four years in office as Osun Governor.
“I am referring to Oyetola as Osun Governor. I didn’t say he is a former Governor, he is Osun Governor. GboyegaOyetola (Ileri-Oluwa), because I know and I believe strongly that by the grace of Almighty God, His promise will soon manifest in his life to return as Osun Governor.
“Ileri-Oluwa will come to pass. We’re assured of this fact, and we don’t want you to joke with this matter. I want you all to know that by the Grace of God, His Promise will be fulfilled. Just say Amen, Gboyega is coming back,” Akeredolu said.
On her part, the National Women Leader of the party, DrBettaEdu, thanked the women for their support to the party and urged Ondo women to give their all in mobilising and canvassing for votes for Tinubu.
She noted that women will be given startup funds and supported to do exploits in agriculture when Tinubu becomes the president.
Also speaking at the rally, the chairman of APC in Ondo State, AdeAdetimehin, said: “Ondo is APC and APC is Ondo. You will see results on election day. Ondo APC is united. We are well ahead other states. We will produce more votes than Lagos in terms of percentage votes cast,” he said.
At the rally, a former Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice OlaseindeKumuyi, announced his membership of the APC and he was formally received into the party by the National Secretary of the party, Senator IyiolaOmisore.
Shortly after the rally, Akeredolu led Tinubu and other personalities to inaugurate the Tinubu/Shettima South-West campaign office, also in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
While inaugurating the campaign office, Tinubu said Akeredolu had demonstrated serious commitment to progressive politics.
“This is a serious demonstration of commitment to progressive politics, to democratic principle that we adopted as the hallmark of our own political philosophy.
“Together, we have worked to build democracy and it has not been easy. Even though it is the best form of government, it is very difficult to navigate.
“You have demonstrated with this building that you are truly committed to the developmental programme of our time and of Ondo State.
“You have demonstrated in many areas of infrastructural development, in setting this state on the path of prosperity, manufacturing and youth development,” Tinubu said.
The rally, had in attendance among others Governors: BabajideSanwo-olu (Lagos), DapoAbiodun (Ogun) and AbdullahiGanduje (Kano).
Others are former Ogun State Governor, Senator IbikunleAmosun, APC National Secretary, SenatorIyiolaOmisore who represented National Chairman, Senator AbdullahiAdamu, Hon. OlubumiTunji-Ojo and Dr. BettaEdu, the APC National women leader, among several others.
-Omipidan writes from Lagos