The camps of National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, have resolved not to relent in their efforts at achieving victory for their principals at the next presidential election, but it’s clear that Asiwaju has captured the southwest in all fronts.
While the Vice President has not come out to make his interest in the presidency public, Asiwaju has assured that he will not turn down the request of his people to contest for president. In all the political calculations, Asiwaju is gaining ground against all odds.
One of the key factors that determine who gets what in the southwest is the backing of royal fathers, and Asiwaju as of now, has cornered all the royal fathers in Yorubaland, from the first class obas to the community chiefs.
We can conveniently tell you that royal fathers and traditional rulers have endorsed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as President, come 2023.
Just last week Asiwaju visited no fewer than 30 palaces within 3 days, in spite of the alleged health challenge narrative that was promoted against him. He visited the Awujaale of Ijebuland, who mobilized all the royal fathers in Ijebuland to support him. He visited the Alake of Egbaland; the Akarigbo of Remoland amongst others.
In Ijebu Ode, what was supposed to be a private visit to Awujale, eventually turned into a carnival of sort. Party faithful and different Asiwaju support groups trooped out and line the route from the stadium to the Awujale Palace in the serene Government Reserved Area of Ijebu Ode.
Awujale had invited select top-ranking Obas to join him in receiving the APC National Leader.
Asiwaju had a private meeting with Awujale after which he addressed the gathering and declared his aspiration to become the president of Nigeria. Kabiyesi Awujale was full of praises and encouragement for Asiwaju in his aspiration.
According to him, Asiwaju has really paid his dues in nation-building, politics and governance, and therefore his presidential aspiration is not misplaced.
From Ijebu Ode, the chopper flew to Abeokuta and landed around four o’clock in the evening of the same day at the Arcade Ground from where the former governor went by road to the Palace of the Alake, which was already filled to the brim by people awaiting the arrival of Asiwaju Tinubu.
Asiwaju also had a one-on-one, meeting with Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, which lasted for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, the Alake led his guest into his reception hall where prominent kings in Egbaland, political functionaries and stakeholders, including members of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) from Lagos, who accompanied Asiwaju throughout the two day’s whistle-stop tour of Ogun.
Two hours after, the convoy moved to Ilaro where Senator Olamilekan Solomon, popularly called Yayi were waiting along with thousands of supporters since the early hours of the day.
The huge crowd at Ilaro confirmed the decision taken not to cancel the trip was a very good one. It took strenuous efforts of the security men to control the crowd before Asiwaju could gain entrance into the palace.
It was an enthused Olu Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Adegbenle, the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, that welcomed Tinubu to his palace. The Royal Father told all those who cared to listen that Asiwaju’s visit to Ilaro over his presidential ambition was highly appreciated and very remarkable because that was the first time that a presidential aspirant will be visiting Ilaro. “They always neglected us, they don’t come here”, the paramount ruler said.
About 12 hours after, Sunday morning precisely, people started gathering at the palace of the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Kabiyesi Alayeluwa Oba Babatunde Ajayi, to await the last leg of Asiwaju’s two days’ consultative visits to the paramount rulers in the four divisions of the Gateway State.
His tour to royal fathers in a marathon trip of about 72 hours got Asiwaju a full assurance that he has captured the royal fathers of Yorubaland.
Before now, there has been an open declaration of support from prominent traditional rulers like 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 and a host of others. Traditional leaders from the Badagry Division of Lagos State have also pledged support for Asiwaju in his presidential bid.
More importantly, Asiwaju is not just initiating his relationship with royal fathers at this time. Asiwaju has over the years established a very strong bond with southwest royal fathers for about 22 years ago when he was Lagos State Governor. He has a routine schedule when he visits them in the whole 5 states and takes care of them. A relationship of over 2 decades is Asiwaju is reaping at this time.
-Joseph Seun Emmanuel