All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said that the ruling party is unbeatable in Lagos.
He urged party faithful and Lagosians to sustain the tempo of mobilization for next year’s poll and the reputation of the state as a progressive hub.
Tinubu, who stormed the Lagos State APC secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, expressed delight that he met the political family stronger than he left it.
He passed a vote of confidence in Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu and party officials who had held forte at home, particularly during the historic presidential primary.
Thanking them for not betraying the confidence reposed in them, he said their efforts have made the party to remain unbeatable in the state.
Also in Lagos yesterday, Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, and Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje stormed the Alaba Rago, Iba market to mobilise Arewa members for elections.
Tinubu, who held a meeting with Lagos APC officials, said he was proud of the chapter.
He said: “I left Lagos for Abuja, leaving the party members with Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, leaders of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and other party leaders. They are the ones who released me to go to Abuja to contest. I left with many doubts, and I was uncertain about what would be the fate of the party, though I was constantly in touch with the governor and his deputy.
“Sometimes, I would call the party chairman and ask if we were doing the right thing in Lagos. Their reports always gave me more courage and confidence to move on with my engagement in Abuja. I thank all of our leaders for keeping the party stronger. I handed over to you an undefeated platform in Lagos. The manner with which the party affairs have been conducted showed these people have fairly managed the home base.”
Tinubu recalled that his journey to secure the presidential nomination in Abuja was littered with uncertainties.
He said: “The support raised from Lagos APC leadership boosted my confidence to move on and win the primaries’.
Tinubu, who maintained he was in the presidential race to win, however, said his fate was in the hands of the party members ‘who must work hard to get votes for the party’.
He therefore, urged party supporters to move out to the communities and canvass voters.
The work, he said, must start with the 57 local council chairmen, who he urged to reach out to aggrieved party members at the grassroots to deliver more votes for APC at the general election.
He said: “Our local government chairmen must do better than any other person in delivering votes for our party. You met this party already built with structures across the communities. There may be little cracks here and there. You know what to do. Manage your anger. There is no politics without anger and pain. But with the pain comes the joy of victory.
“We are giving you the assignment to go back and recruit others. We must forget about the opposition. Let’s put out effort on the voters. This is the time to reach out to aggrieved members and invite them back to the fold. This is not the time to be angry and spill the beans. We must work together to achieve the bigger goal before us.”
Sanwo-Olu, who led members of the State Executive Council (SEC) to the meeting, presided over by the State Chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi, said Lagos APC was facing the most critical election, adding that ‘the presidency would be the biggest political prize to win’.
He said: “Asiwaju has done several things for all of us in one form or the other. He has come to this same place to support several of us as governors, senators, House of Representatives, and House of Assembly members. He has done the assignments effortlessly in the past 23 years without asking for anything.
“God has now given us the unique opportunity today, for us, for the first time, to also raise his hands up as our donation of the best in class to the entire country. I urge all of us to work for the victory of Asiwaju at polling unit by polling unit, ward by ward, and local government by local government.”
Shettima urged the Arewa community in Lagos State to vote for Tinubu.
He said it was time for the North to repay Tinubu for his past support to the region.
According to Shettima, Tinubu ensured President Muhamadu Buhari won in 2015 by giving him bloc votes from the Southwest, and repeated same in 2019. He added that Tinubu provided the platform for Atiku Abubakar and Nuhu Ribadu to contest the presidential elections.
He added: “We are people of honour, we should honour our pledge and promise. This is payback time for the north to support Tinubu,” Shettima said.
Ganduje said as far as the north is concerned, ‘the issue of Tinubu is concluded’. He reminds the people that Tinubu appointed non-Yoruba’s into government when he was governor, and described him as ‘a real nationalist.’
“Kano State wants votes from you for Tinubu. You have to promise us you will surpass Kano in your votes for Tinubu,” he added.
Sanwo-Olu urged the Hausa community ‘not to be deceived’ but vote for APC in the presidential and governorship elections.
Shettima also donated N10m to the first Arewa Community APC campaign office for the Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Ou/Hamzat campaigns in the 2023 elections.
Shettima, who opened the office in the Onipanu area, was also accompanied by Ganduje and former NPA boss Khadijah Bala-Usman. He harped on Tinubu’s detribalised nature which, according to him, has been so evident.
He said: “Asiwaju’s trajectory from 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, when he gave his all to ensure President Mohammadu Buhari’s victory, shows he has been a detribalised Nigerian ever since. We must do all we can to ensure his victory come February 2023.”
Ganduje, who reiterated Tinubu’s patriotic mien in politics, noted that Tinubu has been able to ensure peace among diverse cultures.
He added: “The peace enjoyed in Lagos today with diverse cultures cohabiting without friction is part of his legacy.
Tinubu has greater qualities than Atiku. Forcing yourself to do something is better than you being forced to do something.”