•As VP OSINBAJO’s Boys Begin Visits
Over the last 1 month or so, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the leading presidential aspirant, has been on a whirlwind consultation tour of South-West States, to meet with all the major Yoruba Obas.
The trip has taken him to far-flung Yoruba towns & cities like Ife, Ondo, Ekiti, Ijebu-Ode, Abeokuta, Ilesha. He has met with a lot of 1st Class traditional rulers and the influential ones amongst Yoruba Kings.
He has visited the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Alake of Egbaland, the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, the Owa Obokun of Ijebuland, Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Akinruntan amongst others.
And his message to all of them is to seek their support in his presidential ambition. All he has been saying to them is “I am contesting for the No 1 Job in Nigeria. Support me, I can do the job”.
What has made it easier for him, is that he has had a long-standing relationship with many of them.
He has been close to them for decades. And because he enjoys tremendous goodwill amongst them, it has been like a homecoming.
And in turn, all the Obas have given him royal blessings
He didn’t visit Kings alone, he also visited some political leaders like IBB in Minna.
Tinubu ended his visit to the South-West leaders in the home of Afenifere leader, Chief R.F. Fasoranti. He said it was deliberate to visit the Afenifere leader last as “Egun nla lo ngbehin igbale”.
As he moved around the South-West, he had meetings with his APC, supporters. On 3rd March, he held a meeting with his APC supporters in Akure and later went to Ado-Ekiti. He was in Akure along with Chief Olusegun Osoba and Chief Bisi Akande for a preparatory meeting with Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
In reaction to Tinubu’s campaign, the Osinbajo Group has started its own visitation to Obas also. Some of his aides have been going around to spread the word. Of course, he can’t go around like Tinubu because he has not declared formally.
We can reveal authoritatively, that in the next few days, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo will come out to declare his intention to run for Presidency. He has already made up his mind and he has deployed his associates to go across the 36 States and widen his support base before he would declare his aspiration. In the last few weeks, his aides have been going round to meet stakeholders to tell them the matter of factly that their Principal (Yemi Osinbajo) is contesting the number one position in the country. He has gone around the North and East himself, meeting with the Sultan, Emirs and key personalities in the North.
But of utmost importance to him is the South-West. His focus right now is to deepen the awareness of his ambition across the South-West. He has started reaching out to major Yoruba Obas, selling his ambition to them. Some of his aides have also been doing that on his behalf.
But his biggest challenge is how to match the No 1 contender for the job, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has already done more extensive work than any of his competitors. As you read this, he has gone round the South-West Obas to tell them about his ambition. He has also met with all the major stakeholders in the South-West.
As it is, there is a wide gap that Osinbajo needs to bridge. City People gathered that everywhere Osinbajo gets to, they always meet the footprints of Tinubu, who is far ahead in his visitations to Yoruba kings and opinion moulders. The advantage that Tinubu has over his other co-contestants is that he started the race before all of them, including Osinbajo. His strategy is a simple, but complex one. Start your campaign ahead of others and reach out to as many opinion leaders as possible. He started by setting up hundreds of support groups among the grassroots across the South-West, from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo to Ondo, Ekiti and Osun. Many of these groups have been meeting with people and mobilising support for Tinubu over the last 5 years.
There are those who will also tell you that Tinubu started work on his presidential ambition the first day he settled in as Governor of Lagos State. He started a deliberate project of recruiting a new generation of players, who came in fresh and who today occupy key positions across the various states. Many of his associates are today Ministers & Governors. After his 8 years tenure, Tinubu intensified works on his presidential ambition. So, all these years that he has left office, he has kept on investing in people, both young and old, with the result that this has helped him a great deal.