•As His Return Changes The Tempo Of Event
Right now, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged the man to beat in the 2023 presidential race. This is because his underground campaign for the presidency come 2023 is fast gaining ground. He has become the candidate with a political machine that is awesome and difficult to match.
Although, he has not come out to say he is running, but he has put in place political structures from the Ward level, to Local Government and state levels. He has activated all his structures such that even if he is not in Nigeria, his Boys are busy spreading the message across the country.
Last week, one of the groups loyal to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the South West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA) was officially launched in Lagos State.
Let’s quickly remind you that Tinubu, a leader in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007.
It is no longer a rumour that he is interested in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The public launch of SWAGA in Lagos was well attended by the state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy and hundreds of Tinubu loyalists.
Tinubu just returned from London where he was recuperating after undergoing surgery.
“With serious determination to succeed, Lagos stood still for Swaga 23,” said the leader of the group, Dayo Adeyeye.
SWAGA’23 has already been launched in Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti.
“It is indeed a payback time for our national leader, who had through his years of service contributed to the lives of many others and today you can see his footprints across the country,” SWAGA said in a statement.
“We shall continue to appeal to him to contest for the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because governance is not what to be experimented with.
“Therefore, we need viable, experienced and a man who understands the diverse nature of Nigerian economy.”
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu flagged off the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA ‘23), a group championing the ambition of former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to be become Nigeria’s president.
Declaring his total support for the group’s agenda, Sanwo-Olu said SWAGA was formed based on the belief in Tinubu’s vision and political philosophy that prioritise development of human capital and economy.
The governor, who deployed full political machinery in the state to host the carnival-like event held in Lagos, was accompanied by all members of the state executive council, lawmakers in the state’s House of Assembly, and members of Conference 57 to formally unveil the political group.
Sanwo-Olu described the APC National Leader as a “core political thinker” of the contemporary generation, noting that Tinubu’s constituency in progressive politics stood him out as a beacon and rallying figure capable of delivering directional leadership to the country in the next dispensation.
He said: “Asiwaju Tinubu’s story has been a legend in vision, passion and action. These three values stand him out among his contemporaries in national politics today. It is no wonder the man stretches his arm of fellowship beyond Lagos, the state he led for eight years as a governor and in which he bequeathed the legacy we are building on. He is nationalist in thinking and progressive in action.
“The SWAGA we are launching in Lagos today is a demonstration of Tinubu’s enduring political principles and strong vision. Those behind the movement took the three values and pushed them with passion. What we are witnessing today is the action from the vision and passion; this is what SWAGA represents. By the grace of God, we will drive this agenda to a logical end and we will all witness the inauguration of our political icon come 2023.”
He said he would join hands with SWAGA coordinators to take the agenda beyond the South-west region and make it a national movement.
Sanwo-Olu assured the proponents of the movement of his continued support, promising to mobilise more political support for the group.
Also speaking, the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said Tinubu personified the progress the Nigerians had been yearning for, drumming support for the APC national leader.
“If we want true progress, employment, security and development, we all know who is capable of creating these opportunities for us. He is Asiwaju,” Hamzat said.
The leader of the group Senator Dayo Adeyeye said Lagos was the last state to be visited since the movement started last December, noting that all political and traditional rulers across the Southwest were in tune with the agenda being pushed by the group.
he SWAGA’23, which is being led by a former Minister of Works and Media Adviser to the late Chief Moshood Abiola, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, had inaugurated chapters in Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti States after its regional inauguration in Ibadan, the political headquarters of western Nigeria, on December 15, 2020.
The group commenced a week-long sensitisation, consultation and mobilisation tour in Lagos with visits to traditional rulers in Badagry, Ikeja, and Lagos Divisions to solicit for their support.
Traditional rulers of Badagry Division of Lagos State have jointly endorsed the national leader of the APC as a presidential aspirant.
The traditional rulers made the pronouncement at a town hall meeting that was organised by the SWAGA’23 on Sunday in Lagos.
Speaking after meeting with traditional rulers in the three divisions of the state, Adeyeye said, the group had been strengthened to forge ahead in its consultations because of the positive responses by millions of Nigerians.
He urged the traditional rulers in the areas visited to prevail on Tinubu, to run for 2023 presidential election.
According to the national chairman of SWAGA 23, Tinubu is preferred for the highest service, having demonstrated that capacity as former governor of Lagos state.
He stressed that Tinubu is eminently qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, saying he would build on the achievements recorded by the administration and inspire a new hope in the future of the country.
Adeyeye described him as a great national asset, a hunter for talent, a lover of human development, an economic problem solver and a bridge builder.
“We are here to visit the traditional rulers because they are a vital element in governance, we were in Badagry yesterday, today, we met with the monarchs in Ikeja Division and Lagos Division”, he said.
The scribe of SWAGA in Lagos, Mr. Khafilat Ogbara, said their visit to the traditional rulers was purposely for sensitisation, consultation and mobilisation of people in different areas of the state ahead of inauguration of the group in the state.
All the monarchs in their response endorsed the candidature of Tinubu and beckoned on him to contest for president.
Prominent among the traditional are Onigando of Igando, Oba Lasisi Gbadamosi, Ojora of Ijoraland, Fatai Ojora, Oniru of Iruland, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, Elegushi of Ikateland and others.
They all also lent their voice to the agitation for his candidature while praying for a successful outing for the group.
Some of the traditional rulers at the event included Oba Dr Momodu Afolabi, the Onijanikin of Ijanikin; Oba Nofiu Dada Elete of Ete Kingdom; Oba Abideen Adekanbi, Osolu of Osolu Kingdom; Oba Mobadenle Oyekan Onilado of Ilado; Oba Caleb Adeniyi, Olojo of Ojo; Oba Dr N.A Akinyemi, Alabirun of Ikare Kingdom; Oba Dr Taofik Adegboyega, Alahun of Imore Apapa; Oba Gausu Rasak Ovaria of Ibeshe.
Others were Oba Kasumu Kosoko, Elekunpa of Ekunpa Kingdom; Oba Musiliu Adio Yussuf, Onisiwo of Tarkwa Bay; Oba Olayinka Lateef, Alado of Ado Kingdom; Oba Dr. Adesina Asade; Oniba Ekun of Iba Kingdom; Oba Sherif Adesina Bello Onigbanko of Igbanko Kingdom; Oba Dr Josiah Ilemobade Aina, the Oloto of Oto Kingdom.
The SWAGA’23 movement had embarked on tour to other South-west states, with Lagos being the present point of call.
The SWAGA’23 visitation and interaction with first-class Obas and Paramount rulers such as the Oni of Ife, Oluwo of Iwo, Alafin of Oyo, Olubadan of Ibadan, Alake of Egbaland, and many more have resulted in a unanimous endorsement of Tinubu’s Presidency.
The Southern Governors had met in Lagos last Monday where they reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of fairness, justice, progress and peaceful coexistence between and amongst the people.
The forum also reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agreed that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between southern and northern Nigeria and went on to resolve that the next president of the country should emerge from the southern region.
Adeyeye, former Minister of Works also commended the Southern governors for their resolve that the next president should come from the zone, assuring that the move is a boost for Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
According to him, Nigeria is currently in dire need of committed, selfless Nigerians, particularly those in power, to lift it above lingering killer distractions capable of suffocating the fragile democracy.
He said the decisions were apt, “not only for the governors saying the obvious but for rooting for a level playing ground amongst the three major zones of southern Nigeria to warm up to produce the next president of Nigeria.
He, therefore, hailed the timely efforts by the governors, led by the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, saying they are echoing what his group, SWAGA, stands for, just as he pledged support.
“We boldly salute the commitments and timely response of the governors of southern Nigeria to have stood their ground on the issue of rotational presidency which have generated some undercurrents in recent times.
“I want to say that SWAGA aligns with the governors on the need to reaffirm our unity and wholesome development of Nigeria on the frontiers of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst our people, as is the stance of the governors.
“We also appreciate the Forum’s position on the presidency of Nigeria to be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria, coupled with the resolve that it is the turn of the South to produce the next president, irrespective of party affiliations. This is the philosophy of SWAGA and what we stand for as a group.